If you are underage in Connecticut and are planning on going to a party and drinking, there can be some major problems for you and the host. There are laws against underage drinking and possession of alcohol as a minor. Just because you are at a party, it does not make it alright to be drinking. You should become familiar with the underage drinking laws and what the consequences are. They will be explained for you here.
Effective January 1, 2006, Public Act 05-215 added to Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-227b new Subsection (j) regarding an increased suspension period for a person under 21 years of age:
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-227b (j) The commissioner shall suspend the operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege of a person under twenty-one years of age who did not contact the department to schedule a hearing, who failed to appear at a hearing or against whom, after a hearing, the commissioner held pursuant to subsection (h) of this section, as of the effective date contained in the suspension notice or the date the commissioner renders a decision, whichever is later, for twice the appropriate period of time specified in subsection (i) of this section.
In essence, subsection (j) doubles the amount of time one’s license is suspended based on the fact the defendant is under 21 years of age. This means if the defendant would normally receive a 90 day suspension, the suspension would jump to 180 days and so forth.
Some would say that underage drinking has become a national epidemic. This amendment to the drunk driving laws in the state of Connecticut is in direct response to this. Whatever the reason for this new “doubling the suspension” may be, it is in fact the consequence of underage drinking.
Alcohol is the drug of choice with most children. Most kids feel stressed about school, family tension, getting into college, etc. What you need to think about before drinking is the consequences. Imagine losing your driving privileges around the clock for six months. That is the minimum you lose it for if you are underage.
Parents should also be aware of the consequences of allowing their children to drink on their property. If parents condone or even know about underage drinking on their property, they are opening themselves up to maximum penalties of $1,500 fines and eighteen months in jail. And if the kids are under sixteen: far worse penalties will be imposed, you can be charged with risk of injury to a minor, which carries a prison term of up to ten years.
Law and police action alone however, do little to address underage drinking. The only real approach is to educate children of the consequences of drinking and now with the harsher penalties on license suspension the consequences are quite severe and will affect the day to day life of an underage drinker.
Punishments Regarding Underage Drinking
The law in Connecticut for underage drinking makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol anywhere in public or private places. So even if you are at someone’s house for a party, it is still not okay.
The first offense is an infraction resulting in a fine ranging between $74-$136. There is a zero tolerance policy for minors in Connecticut when it comes to drinking. You will be fined or put in jail or possibly both depending on how bad the crime is.
You should read up on the laws before you make the decision to drink underage at a party. It may seem fun or cool to do when you are around your friends, but you will not be thinking that when you are paying a large fee or sitting in jail just because you had a few drinks before you were old enough.
If the person who is throwing the party is also underage, not only can they get into trouble, but their parents can be faced with a very large predicament regarding the law as well. The parent will be considered the host of the party if their child who is hosting is not of age.
If there is alcohol at the party, even if they didn’t know it was there, they are still responsible and will be charged with giving alcohol to minors. This is not something that you want to happen to anyone. It will cause more trouble than it is worth for many people.
Ways to Stay Out of Trouble
When going to a party as a minor, you might want to make sure there is not going to be any alcohol present at the location. It will get you into trouble and will also put the hosts of the party at risk for liability. Be smart and if there is alcohol, do not drink any, or you can even leave to make sure that you are not going to get into any trouble.
If you have any more questions about underage drinking and parties with minors present, do not hesitate to contact an attorney.