Connecticut takes underage DUIs seriously and has enacted harsh penalties to discourage minors from drinking and driving. If convicted, the consequences can severely impact a young person’s future.
If you or your child face charges for underage DUI, reach out to the legal team at Ruane Attorneys for help. A New Britain underage DUI lawyer at our firm can explain your legal options and work to preserve your rights.
Zero Tolerance for Underage DUI
Anyone under 21 who drives while intoxicated has violated the drinking age law and DUI statute in Connecticut. The law considers any adult with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding .08 “under the influence.” For people under 21, a BAC of .02 is enough to support a driving while intoxicated charge.
Minors between 18 and 21 will face charges in adult court. If someone under 18 is arrested for underage DUI, a New Britain attorney could ensure a juvenile court takes jurisdiction of the matter.
DUI Procedures for Minors Under 18
The penalties for DUI are the same for minors and adults. However, special procedures apply if a minor under 18 is arrested for DUI.
Police will impound the driver’s vehicle if they are under 18 and charged with DUI. They will arrest the driver and seize their driver’s license. The driver’s parent or guardian must go to the police station to bring the driver home and sign to retrieve the youth’s license.
Depending on the circumstances, the driver could face other charges. For example, the driver could be charged with endangerment if they had friends under 18 in the car. A prosecutor might bring charges related to the possession of alcohol or a fake ID. These might count as aggravating factors that increase the severity of the DUI charge. Our underage DUI attorneys in New Britain could present mitigating evidence to reduce the likelihood of enhanced penalties and protect a young person’s future.
Penalties for Underage DUI in New Britain
Teens with repeat DUI offenses face severe consequences. Although a local attorney could convince a prosecutor to charge a young person as though they were not a repeat offender, the law requires prosecutors to provide an explanation in open court.
Someone facing their first conviction could get a sentence of up to six months in jail and must serve at least 48 hours. They also face a possible fine of up to $1000. Alternatively, a first offender could get a six-month jail sentence suspended in return for probation, including 100 hours of community service and a $500 fine.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will also suspend a first offender’s license for 45 days. When the license is restored, the driver must use an ignition interlock device for a year.
A second offense could lead to a two-year jail sentence, with a mandatory minimum of four months served. The convicted minor must pay a fine between $1000 and $4000, perform at least 100 hours of community service, submit to a substance abuse evaluation, and complete a treatment program if recommended.
After a 45-day license suspension, the DMV will restore the license. However, the driver must use an ignition interlock device for three years after the license restoration.
Third and Subsequent Convictions
When a minor gets a third DUI conviction, they face a mandatory sentence of a year in jail, up to four years. The fines range from $2000 to $8000, and the minor must also perform 100 hours of community service, participate in a substance abuse evaluation, and engage in a treatment plan if recommended. The driver faces permanent revocation of their driver’s license. When the potential penalties are this severe, minors accused of DUI need legal representation from a New Britain lawyer.
Defend Underage DUI Charges with a New Britain Attorney
If you or your child were arrested and accused of underage DUI, you must take the charges seriously. Prosecutors pursue these cases aggressively and can increase the potential penalties for repeat offenses. A mark on your criminal record can also follow you for years in the future.
A New Britain underage DUI lawyer could help you manage the charges and minimize the impact of this incident on your life. Call Ruane Attorneys today to speak with a member of our team.