DUI Penalties for Underage Drivers in Connecticut

According to data from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, teen deaths related to drunk driving have decreased in recent years, and tough teen driving laws dating to 2008 are cited as a major factor behind the decrease. Drivers under age 18 are subject to several restrictions when obtaining a driver's license in Connecticut, and the penalties for violating the rules start with an initial 48-hour license suspension and often include mandatory driver training classes. For teen drivers convicted of driving under the influence, even harsher penalties may be imposed.

Connecticut's Underage DUI Penalties

Teen drivers are subject to strict penalties for DUI convictions. In Connecticut, drivers age 21 and older are considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol content ("BAC") is greater than 0.08 percent. Connecticut has a Zero Tolerance policy; drivers under age 21 are considered legally intoxicated if their BAC is 0.02 percent or greater.

On January 1, 2012, Connecticut's Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs laws changed to impose the same consequences for drivers convicted of DUI, regardless of age. Now, mandatory sentencing dictates the penalties for a first, second, third or subsequent DUI conviction.

For a first DUI conviction, the underage driver's license will be suspended for 45 days, and he or she must use an ignition interlock device for one year. A second DUI conviction carries a license suspension of 45 days or until he or she reaches age 21, whichever is longer. An underage driver convicted of a second DUI must use an ignition interlock device for three years. For a third or subsequent conviction, the driver's license will be permanently revoked; however, the driver may petition to have his or her license reinstated six years after the date of revocation.

A DUI conviction can have a significant impact on an individual's license. A license suspension can severely limit one's ability to get to school or work, and the costs associated with a DUI conviction can be high. If you or your teenager has been arrested on suspicion of DUI, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney.