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Underage Drinking and DUI Penalties in Connecticut

Posted on in Driving Under the Influence

underage DUI, Connecticut DUI law, underage drinking, BAC, administrative per se, implied consentWe all know that it is both dangerous and illegal to drink and drive, and we educate our children about the potential consequences of doing so. Consuming alcohol before age 21 is considered underage drinking in the United States. However, there are statutes in Connecticut that apply specifically to those who are caught driving under the influence before their 21st birthday.

Unfortunately, mistakes and poor judgement are part of being young. Below are several facts about DUI law in Connecticut that you need to know if your child is charged with a DUI.

Connecticut has a three part law relating to DUIs.

First, any person is prohibited from driving either (a) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or (b) with an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC). Being "under the influence" can be interpreted differently, but is defined as when the person's "ability to drive is affected to an appreciable degree". Blood alcohol content can be measured several ways, and an elevated content is .08 percent or higher in those over 21.

The second statute says that those under 21 have an elevated BAC at .02 percent or higher. There are specific consequences for those who are convicted of a DUI at 16-17 years old (they have stricter rules than other age groups), and for those who are 18-20 years old.

The third primary statute provides that any driver, by getting behind the wheel, has given consent to drug and alcohol testing.

Implied Consent law provides that any driver who refuses BAC testing will face license suspension. The same consequence applies to those whose tests prove an elevated BAC, but in this case it is called Administrative Per Se. These suspensions are an additional consequence to any from a DUI conviction, and the severity of the consequence increases with  a higher BAC.

It is possible to have driving privileges with an ignition interlock device. Eligible offenders may complete a Pretrial Alcohol Education Program in exchange for having the charges dropped. However, penalties may also be increased depending on deaths or injuries caused by driving under the influence, or by multiple offenses.

An experienced Stamford criminal attorney understands that each case is unique, and can help you navigate the complexities of DUI law in Connecticut. From retaining your driving privileges after a failed BAC test or refusing to take a test, to minimizing the consequences of a conviction, our attorneys are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your case.