CGS § 14-227g prohibits anyone under age 21 from driving with a BAC of . 02% or more. While this is defined under a different statute (CGS § 14-227g) than the adult version of DUI, most of the criminal drunk driving provisions apply by reference to anyone under age 21 violating the prohibition. The DUI law applies to operating a motor vehicle anywhere not just on a road or highway, and includes the operator’s property. The DUI: law also applies to the operation of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. The mere fact that a driver appears to be under age 21 does not provide reasonable and articulable suspicion that an offense has been committed that justifies a police officer’s making an investigatory stop of the vehicle (CGS § 14-227g(b)). The prosecutor cannot dismiss, nolle, or reduce a drunk driving charge without stating the reasons for it in court.
Sixteen and Seventeen Year-Old Drivers
The law requires the court to report DUI convictions to the DMV commissioner following established statutory procedures. The commissioner must suspend the license or nonresident operating privilege of anyone reported as convicted for the period the law requires. The commissioner must determine the period of the suspension required based on the number of convictions the person has had within the specified time period according to his or her driver history record maintained by DMV, notwithstanding the sentence imposed by the court for the conviction. Suspension for conviction of a criminal DUI charge is in addition to any previously imposed administrative license suspension under the implied consent law (see below).
PA 08-32 establishes a 48-hour summary suspension of a 16- or 17-year-olds driver’s license if the teenage driver is cited for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with an elevated blood-alcohol level (which is 02% or more for anyone under age 21). If the 16- or 17-year-old is cited for either of these violations, the police officer must seize the driver’s license for 48 hours on behalf of the DMV commissioner and may have the vehicle removed. The license seizure begins on the date and time the arrest is made or the summons or infraction complaint is issued. The driver’s license is considered suspended for 48 hours.
To regain the license, the 16- or 17-year-old and his or her parent or legal guardian must appear in person at the police department, state police barracks, or other designated location and sign a written acknowledgement of its return. (A subsequent act, PA 08-150, amends this provision to exempt an emancipated minor from the requirement for accompaniment by a parent or guardian when retrieving the license. ) No restoration fee may be charged for return of the license. The police officer who seized the license must make a written report of the violation and the suspension action to the commissioner on a form, and in a time and manner, that the commissioner prescribes.
PA 08-32, which took effect August 1, 2008, prohibits someone under age 18 who is arrested for DUI from being considered a youthful offender.
Enhanced Administrative Penalties for Drivers under Age 21
Anyone under age 21 who does not contact DMV for a hearing, fails to show up for a scheduled hearing, or who receives an adverse hearing decision is subject to a license suspension that is twice as long as the period imposed on someone age 21 or older for a similar type of violation.
PA 08-32 makes this enhanced administrative license suspension even longer for a 16- or 17-year-old for a first per se offense. Specifically, the suspension for a first per se violation by a 16- or 17-year-old is increased from: (1) one year to 18 months for a test refusal, (2) 180 days to one year for a test result of 02% but under . 16%, and (3) from 240 days to one year for a test result of 16% or more.
School Issues & Work Issues can be overcome if you are eligible for a:
Special Operator’s Permit
- Special Operator’s Permits to drive to work or attend classes or examinations at accredited institutions of higher education are authorized in accordance with Connecticut State Law Title 14 Sec. 14-37a and defined in the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies in Sec.14-37a . Employment or enrollment at an accredited institution of higher education will be verified with an authorized representative prior to issuance of a permit. Your driving history will be reviewed as part of this application. If you are licensed in another state, you must provide a recent certified copy of your driving history from that jurisdiction.
- A Special Operator’s Permit for work is limited to travel to and from your home to your place of employment. Download an application at the following link, Application for Special Permit to Operate a Motor Vehicle To and From Work (form A-62).
- A Special Operator’s Permit for Higher Education may be used to travel to and from classes at accredited institutions of higher education. You must also provide a certified copy of your class and examination schedule clearly identifying the days, hours and geographic locations of your classes. A copy of a completed release under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy must also be submitted. Download an application at the following link, Application for Special Permit for Higher Education (form P-225).