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Penalties for underage drinking and driving in Connecticut

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2020 | OUI

Connecticut’s drunk driving laws make it illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence (OUI) of drugs or alcohol. The penalties for an OUI conviction are quite harsh, including driver’s license suspension, community service and more.

For adults, penalties for drunk driving can compromise one’s job, family and social life. Drivers under the age of 21 face increased penalties and punishments that may follow them for the rest of their life.

Penalties under Connecticut law

Connecticut is an “implied consent” state, which means that all drivers consent to a blood alcohol count (BAC) test automatically. Refusing a test may incur greater penalties. For adults, the Constitution State criminalizes driving with an “elevated” blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. Connecticut is also nearly a “zero tolerance” state, making it illegal for those under 21 to have a BAC of .02 or higher.

Penalties begin at the arrest for drivers age 16 or 17. The police will seize and tow the car, and the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend the teen’s driver’s license. The child’s family is responsible for all fines and fees.

Beyond that, offenders will face criminal and administrative penalties for an OUI.

Administrative penalties

The DMV issues the administrative penalties of a DUI. These punitive measures increase in severity with each additional OUI charge. These penalties do not require a conviction in court. First offenders face a license suspension for 45 days and one year using an ignition interlock device (IID). A second offense increases the IID for two years, and the third up to three years.

Criminal penalties

If convicted of an OUI, people face criminal penalties as well. A judge hands down their ruling, which can include the following:

  • First offense: First-time offenders pay $500 to $1,000 in fines, probation and a maximum of six months in jail.
  • Second offense: For the second conviction within 10 years, underage drivers face between 120 days and two years in jail, up to $4,000 in fines and probation.
  • Third offense: Three-time offenders will spend one to three years in prison, up to $8,000 in penalties and probation.

Arrested for drinking and driving? Consult with a lawyer

Drivers under 21 facing a drunk driving conviction can bring their questions to a local attorney familiar with Connecticut OUI laws. First-time offenders may have options for education deferment programs that can remove convictions from one’s record. An attorney can help people explore these options and work with the judge.