Under Illinois’ Zero Tolerance Law, a driver under age 21 caught with any trace of alcohol in his/her system will lose his/her driving privileges.
A law enforcement officer may request a chemical test after a traffic stop and issuance of a citation for any offense, when the officer has probable cause to believe an underage driver has any trace of alcohol in his/her system. After administering such tests, the law enforcement officer submits a sworn statement to the Secretary of State’s office and the offender’s driver’s license is suspended.
A 20 year old driver stopped in Oak Lawn during a driving enforcement detail may find out the lesson at drivers under 21 are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system.
On August 26th at 3:30 a.m., an officer observed a car traveling northbound on Cicero Avenue near 99th Street, with its bright lights on. The driver, Tianny T. Soto, allegedly failed to dim her highlights.
Soto provided a driver’s license and proof of insurance identifying herself as 20 years of age. Soto allegedly told the officer that she didn’t dim her headlights because on of her taillights were not working.
The officer claimed that he could smell alcohol on her breath but Soto denied that she had been drinking. The officer claimed he then checked her yes and questioned her again about drinking. Soto allegedly said she had one shot about an hour earlier. Soto allegedly told the officer that her friends had been fighting and she had to drive them all home before now driving herself home.
A breathalyzer allegedly concluded that Soto had a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.084. she was arrested for underage consumption of an alcoholic beverage and taken into custody. A second breathalyzer taken at the station, after an observation period, indicated a blood alcohol level of 0.056.
Soto, a Hispanic female with a Chicago address, was charged with underage consumption of alcohol, failing to dim her headlights, and failing to notify the Secretary of State of an address change.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State, “If a driver under age 21 is convicted of DUI, he or she face the revocation of their driving privileges for a minimum of two years for a first conviction.
If a driver under age 21, is stopped and issued a citation for a traffic violation, and found to have any trace of alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle, his or her driving privileges will be suspended. If the driver refuses to submit to testing, their driving privileges will be suspended.
If a driver’s license was suspended prior to age 21, the driver will be required to successfully complete a driver remedial education course to make their driving privileges valid again. In addition, they may be required to submit to a complete driver’s license examination to be re-issued a driver’s license.
It is at the discretion of the investigating officer and based on test results or a test refusal whether a traffic stop results in a Zero Tolerance or DUI charge or both.”
The officer’s time was being paid through a grant.