Connecticut Law and Underage OUIs
Operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs is one of the most reckless acts that a person can commit, and the law takes an especially dim view of it if the accused is underage. If your child has been arrested and charged with OUI while they are under the legal drinking age, there may be additional ramifications on top of the normal OUI penalties. Enlisting an attorney to help answer your questions is highly recommended.
Zero Tolerance Policy
Connecticut has a legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) of .08 percent, but if you are underage, any trace of alcohol in your system beyond .02 percent will result in arrest. Normally, a driver detained under suspicion of OUI will be jailed at least overnight, but for underage drivers, the procedure initially does differ. Underage drivers are not detained, generally, but their drivers’ license is seized, and their vehicle will usually be towed. In order to get their license back, their parent or guardian must come in person to retrieve it, and must also agree to cover any towing expenses.
Unlike with many other juvenile offenses, an underage OUI does carry a jail sentence even for a first offense, as in 2012 Connecticut changed its laws so that the penalties for OUI are the same regardless of the age of the driver. Thus, even for a first offense, even for an underage defendant, a potential penalty of up to six months in jail is on the proverbial table, as well as a mandatory 45-day license suspension and an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year.
Play By the Rules
Something many do not completely understand is that while there are criminal penalties for OUI, there are also administrative penalties, which trigger even without a conviction in court. A license suspension is par for the course, as well as the requirement for the IID for one year. However, if someone under age 21 fails to show up for a hearing or gets an adverse decision at their hearing, they can have their license suspended for up to twice as long as an adult over 21, if the facts merit such a decision.
Having no driver’s license can be a problem for some, especially if you are an emancipated minor or are attending school away from home. It is possible to obtain a special operator’s permit, good only to travel to and from school or work, but it is not always offered. The courts are willing to work with someone who has a real need, but if there is any intimation that you do not, you may have to go without.
Call a Fairfield County OUI Attorney
The consequences of operating a vehicle under the influence are justifiably severe, but at the same time, it can throw a serious wrench in your child’s life that may not be manageable. If you have questions or concerns, calling a skilled Stamford OUI lawyer is a good first step toward ensuring that the legal process is much less intimidating than it could be. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has handled countless cases of this type and is happy to try and handle yours. Call us today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.