Drivers in Connecticut have a legal obligation to obey the state’s drinking and driving laws. Although the law grants people over the age of 21 some latitude in consuming small amounts of alcohol before driving, the same is not true for those under the age of 21. It is illegal for minors to consume any alcohol, and operating a vehicle after drinking is also a criminal act.
Call a New Haven underage DUI lawyer if you were under 21 at the time of your arrest. The lawyers at Ruane Attorneys are prepared to explain how state law deals with allegations of underage DUI and what a prosecutor must prove to obtain a conviction. Our team will develop defenses against these accusations and work to protect your future.
What Counts as Intoxication for a Minor?
A strong defense against an underage DUI charge is critical to protect the young person’s future. The first step in building a defense is to understand the state’s underage DUI laws.
The core law to examine here is the state’s prohibition on drunk driving. According to Connecticut General Statute § 14-227a, it is illegal to operate any vehicle while under the influence of a drug or alcohol. However, what it means to be under the influence of alcohol changes based on a person’s age. For drivers 21 years or older, the legal blood/alcohol level is .08 percent.
Because people under the age of 21 cannot legally consume any amount of alcohol, the state has a zero-tolerance policy for underage DUIs. Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-227g, the blood/alcohol threshold for DUI arrests and convictions is .02 percent. This is a person’s blood/alcohol level after consuming any amount of alcoholic beverage.
Protecting a Young Person’s Future
A lawyer at our New Haven office could help defend an underage driver and contest any allegations that they violated the state’s DUI laws. This could involve challenging whether a person was operating a vehicle, whether the results of supposedly scientific tests were accurate, or whether a police officer had reasonable cause to make a traffic stop. Every underage DUI case is unique, and Ruane Attorneys works to tailor the defense to the circumstances.
The Impact of an Underage DUI Conviction
A conviction on any DUI charge in New Haven is a serious matter. At a minimum, these cases are misdemeanors that will create a criminal record. If this is a person’s first conviction, state law authorizes the following penalties:
- A jail sentence of as long as six months
- A fine of between $500 and $1,000
- The suspension of a person’s license for at least 45 days
- The installation of an ignition interlock device for one year
However, additional penalties may apply for minors charged with DUI. For example, police officers can impound the driver’s vehicle at the owner’s expense. Police will also keep a driver’s license for 48 hours and impose an immediate suspension. Finally, the driver must remain in police custody until a parent or guardian arrives to pick them up. Our New Haven attorneys can provide further information about the potential consequences of an underage DUI arrest and conviction.
Contact a New Haven Underage DUI Attorney Today
Anyone facing accusations related to DUI needs to act quickly to protect themselves. This is especially true when an arrest occurs while a driver is under 21. Connecticut’s DUI laws prohibit underage people from consuming any alcohol before operating a vehicle. Additionally, judges often give harsh penalties to underage drivers to deter future DUIs.
A New Haven underage DUI lawyer is ready to fight for you. At Ruane Attorneys, we will investigate every possible avenue for your defense to determine an appropriate strategy. This could involve showing that you did not consume any alcohol, that police officers did not follow the correct procedures, or that you were not operating a vehicle as defined by state law. Reach out to us now to get started.