Under Connecticut law, any person driving a motor vehicle, by the act of so driving, is presumed to give consent for officers to administer a breathalyzer test. For adults, the result of the breathalyzer test must be a BAC under 0.08% if they wish to avoid a DUI. But what happens when an officer suspects a young person of drinking and driving? Keep reading to learn about the penalties for an underage DUI charge in Connecticut. Don’t delay in contacting a Hartford County DUI attorney if a child or young person in your family has been accused of drunk driving. We’ll fight hard for you.
What Penalties Will an Underage Person Face for a DUI?
Connecticut is a bit more lenient than states like California and New Jersey, which all punish a BAC of 0.01% in underage drivers. By contrast, in Connecticut, it is illegal for minors to have a BAC of 0.02%, which is still low enough that Connecticut is also a zero-tolerance state like its brethren. Punishments for drinking and driving are harsh in Connecticut, including mandatory sentencing and the police’s ability to charge you if they see your driving capacity looks impaired, even in the absence of direct evidence like a chemical test.
The federal United States government passed legislation in 1995 obligating all states to at least consider making the BAC limit for minors 0.02%. As a result, Connecticut passed C.G.S. § 14-227g, which like implied consent, presumes that someone is intoxicated if their BAC is over the statutory maximum.
Underaged drivers accused of a DUI face the possibility of harsh penalties. Offenses by individuals between 18 and 21 will be handled in adult court. Just like an adult, minors will have to attend two separate proceedings.
The first of these will be a criminal proceeding at the Superior Court, where the offending conduct will be charged as a violation of C.G.S. § 14-227g. If convicted for their first offense of drinking and driving, the minor can expect
- A jail term between 48 hours and 6 months
- Fines between $500 and $1,000
- A 45-day license suspension until they install an ignition interlock
- A one-year period during which the ignition interlock cannot be removed
Though these punishments are already fairly intense, minors who commit a second or third drunk driving offense will encounter even higher punishments. After an underaged person is found driving while intoxicated within 10 years of their first offense, they should prepare for the possibility of:
- A jail term between four months and two years
- Fines between $1,000 and $4,000
- A license suspension for 45 days
- A three-year period during which an ignition interlock device cannot be removed
A third drunk driving offense ups the penalties yet again:
- A jail term between one and three years
- Fines between $2,000 and $8,000
- Revocation of their license, though it may be possible to reinstate it later
The precise BAC of the minor also has importance in Connecticut law. A BAC between 0.02% and 0.08%, their license will only be suspended for six months, as opposed to the year-long suspension if their BAC is over 0.08%.