CGS § 14-227g prohibits anyone under age 21 from driving with a BAC of .02% or more. This is defined under a different statute (CGS § 14-227g) than the adult version of DUI. But, 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. Also, it 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 as someone under age 21 does not provide reasonable and articulable suspicion that an offense happened 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. They must do this for anyone reported as convicted for the period the law requires. The commissioner must determine the period of the suspension required. This is based on the number of convictions the person has had within the specified time period according to their driver history. This history is 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. This happens 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. This happens if the teenage driver gets cited for driving under the influence or with an elevated blood alcohol level. The elevated blood alcohol level is .02% or more for anyone under age 21. If the 16 or 17-year-old gets cited for either of these violations, the police officer must seize the driver’s license. They do so for 48 hours on behalf of the DMV commissioner. Also, they may have the vehicle removed. The license seizure begins on the date and time the arrest happens. Or, it happens when the summons or infraction complaint gets issued. The driver’s license gets suspended for 48 hours.
Getting a License Back
To regain the license, the 16 or 17-year-old and their parent or guardian must appear at the police department. Alternatively, they can appear at state police barracks, or other designated location and sign a written acknowledgement of its return. A subsequent act, PA 08-150, amends this provision. It exempts an emancipated minor from the requirement of a parent or guardian when retrieving the license. No restoration fee may get 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 gets arrested for DUI from taking a youthful offender title.
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 can have their license suspended for twice as long as the suspension 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 increases 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 and work issues can be overcome if you are eligible for a special operator’s permit.
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 get reviewed as part of this application. If you have a license 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 in some cases. Use it 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).