Connecticut Underage DUI/DWI Lawyer
Ask any of the best Greenwich and Stamford DUI lawyers and they will agree—Connecticut is tough on Under 21 DUI and DWI offenders. While the laws are strict for drunk drivers who are 21 and over, there is basically zero tolerance for teenagers and drivers under 21 who attempt to drink and drive. And the penalties can be severe—a permanent misdemeanor criminal conviction record, probation, suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of 6 months, and increased auto insurance rates. So if you are under 21 and charged with DUI / DWI under CGS 14-227g / 14-227a in Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, Wilton, Norwalk, Westport, or Fairfield, you should call a top Stamford Connecticut Under 21 DUI / DWI lawyer attorney to help guide you through both the criminal court process and your DMV license suspension hearing.
Under 21 DUI / DWI Laws – Zero Tolerance!
The laws in Connecticut for Under 21 DUI / DWI are codified in CGS 14-227g, and are far more stringent than the laws for drivers 21 and over. If a driver under 21 years of age is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 or above, then they will be arrested for Under 21 DWI / DUI pursuant to C.G.S. 14-227g. If the driver refuses, they can still be arrested for what’s known as common law DUI / DWI under CGS 14-227a, which means that if they fail one or more of the Standard Field Sobriety Tests—the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (the HGN Test), the Walk-and-Turn Test, and the One-Legged Stand Test, then Connecticut police have what is called “probable cause” to arrest you for an Under 21 DUI / DWI.
Penalties for Under 21 DUI / DWI
As many of our teenage DWI / DUI clients have quickly learned, the penalties for getting caught drinking and driving can be harsh if you are not represented by a top Stamford or Greenwich DUI / DWI attorney. There are two sets of penalties: one from the Superior Court and one from the DMV. If convicted of 14-227g, you risk be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail (2 days of which are mandatory or, if the judge permits, can be substituted with 100 hours of community service), probation, fines, and the suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year during which you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your car. In addition, the DMV penalties require an additional suspension of your driver’s license—6 months for being arrested for an Under 21 DUI / DWI. This DMV suspension can wreak havoc on your auto insurance premiums and your child’s driving record so it is always a good idea to talk to a top Stamford or Greenwich DUI / DWI criminal lawyer to decide whether to appeal the DMV suspension.
Should My Child Take the Breath Test During an Arrest for Under 21 DUI / DWI?
We frequently get calls from teenagers who have been pulled over for DUI / DWI in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and elsewhere in Fairfield County. Their question is simple but serious: should they take or refuse the breath test? This question becomes especially critical for drivers under 21 who basically have zero wiggle room (the legal blood alcohol content threshold limit is .02 versus .08 for drivers 21 and over).
So what’s the answer? Unfortunately there is no clear answer, as each case requires a careful yet quick analysis from a top Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyer. The general rule of thumb in Connecticut is to take the test unless the driver (1) has prior DUI arrests or convictions, or (2) was involved in an accident causing personal injury. The question becomes a bit more complicated for drivers Under 21 as a high BAC level will likely and gravely concern the Court and prosecutors handling your case. Obviously a 16 or 17 year old who is driving with a BAC that is ten times over the .02 BAC legal limit will trigger red flags to a Superior Court judge and make their case very challenging to defend and negotiate. Questions about alcohol abuse and mental health then start to circulate around cases like these. Yet, notwithstanding high readings like these, the experienced Under 21 DUI / DWI criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have successfully defended these cases and have achieved dismissals of Under 21 DUI / DWI charges with high BAC readings.
So if you or your child are not sure whether to submit to the breath test, call a DUI / DWI attorney at Mark Sherman Law. No matter what time of day or night it is, our 24/7 answering service will track down one of our Stamford DUI / DWI attorneys to assist you with your breath test questions during your Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest.
Will My Child Lose Their Driver’s License as a Result of Their Under 21 DUI / DWI Arrest?
Yes. For the first 24 hours immediately after your child’s arrest, their driver’s license will be suspended (if your child is 16 or 17 years old, it is a 48-hour suspension). The arresting officer will actually take physical possession of the driver’s license. In order to get your license back after the 48-hour period, the teenager and their parent must return to the police department and sign a written statement acknowledging that the license has been returned.
After that initial suspension, you will be free to drive again until you receive a letter from the DMV informing you that your license will be suspended for 6 months as a result of your Under 21 DUI / DWI 14-227g charge. This is called the “per se” suspension (meaning that the DMV suspension is per se automatic for drivers under 21 charged with DUI / DWI in Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Greenwich, or anywhere else in Connecticut. Once you receive that notice, you have just a small window of time to appeal the DMV suspension—all the more reason to contact a top Stamford DUI / DWI lawyer attorney to assist you in fighting the 6 month suspension. The best Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyers are trained in analyzing police reports, breath test administration and refusal reports and can carefully scrutinize the forms and reports for technical and constitutional defects. Your DUI / DWI lawyer can then make these legal arguments for you at your DMV per se suspension hearing. They can subpoena the arresting officers and aggressively cross-examine them regarding their arrest methods and procedures. Your Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyer can then present argument, evidence and testimony to the DMV Commissioner for the sole purpose of getting your DMV suspension reversed and overturned.
Is there Confidentiality of Court Proceedings for Under 21 DWIs / DUIs?
No. While the Courts generally protect and seal the identities of 16 and 17-year-olds in the criminal court system, the law makes exceptions to confidentiality for certain motor vehicle charges like Under 21 DUIs / DWIs. In these cases, there is no confidentiality for 16 to 20 year olds charged with DUI / DWI under C.G.S. 14-227g. Your name will be in public court records such as the online State of Connecticut judicial website, and available to anyone who asks for information on your case in any Superior Court clerk’s office.
Will My Child’s Name Be in the Newspaper or Online if They Are Arrested for Under 21 DUI / DWI?
Separate from the issue of whether your arrest and case will be confidential within the court system is the question we field often from parents of teenagers arrested for Under 21 DUI / DWI in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and elsewhere in Fairfield County: will my child’s name be in the newspaper or online news websites?
The answer depends on the specific editorial policies of each online and print publication but the general rule is as follows: If you are under 18, then your name will not be published (although often your residence address will be released). If you are 18 or over, however, then your name and address will likely be published. Remember these newspapers and online news outlets get their information from the Information Officers at the Police Department whose job is to regularly communicate arrest reports to news agencies. Here at Mark Sherman Law, we are at the forefront of Internet Scrubbing Law and are often asked to aggressively lean on local police departments to not release the names of minor DUI / DWI offenders. State and federal juvenile privacy rights must be respected, and our goal is to help you—if at all possible—avoid a public mention in the local police blotter.
How Will My Car Insurance Rates Be Affected by My Child’s Under 21 DUI / DWI Arrest?
The impact and ripple effect that an arrest for 14-227g Under 21 DUI / DWI in Greenwich, New Canaan, Stamford, Westport, or Fairfield can have on the lives of both the teenaged offender and their parents are extensive, especially when it comes to auto insurance. The DUI / DWI arrest and the resulting DMV suspension will be recorded in the teenager’s driving record. It will show up in almost every DMV background check—regardless of whether the underlying criminal DUI / DWI arrest is ultimately dismissed. So when auto insurance carriers run their annual renewal background check of your teenager’s driving history, their 6-month suspension will show up. All the more reason to hire a top Darien, Greenwich or Stamford Under 21 DUI / DWI lawyer attorney to challenge the suspension. A driving history tainted with an Under 21 DUI / DWI arrest can cause car insurance premium rates to go up, and in certain cases, coverage can even be terminated. So if you think your DUI / DWI arrest may affect your insurance rates, call a Mark Sherman Law DUI / DWI attorney to find out if your suspension can be appealed and overturned.
Fighting Your Under 21 DUI / DWI — Is My Child Old Enough to Be Eligible for the Connecticut DUI / DWI First Time Offender’s Alcohol Education Program?
While most first-time Connecticut DUI / DWI offenders tend to apply for admission into Connecticut’s Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program (the “AEP”), the application process needs to be carefully considered for Under 21 DUI / DWI offenders. What the best Greenwich and Stamford DUI / DWI lawyers will tell you is that the AEP was designed for accused drunk drivers who are legally allowed to drink—that is, people 21 and over. To convince a court to extend the privilege of this first time offender program to a driver who is not only illegally driving over the legal BAC limit, but also illegally drinking in the first place is challenging. It can be done, however, and the experienced 14-227g Under 21 DUI / DWI attorneys at Mark Sherman Law have gotten it done. We work with our clients to prepare the a comprehensive AEP first time offender application package for the Court—complete with specific time-tested mitigation documents arguments that have successfully worked for our clients. We have succeeded in getting hundreds of DUI / DWI clients—those under and over 21—into the first time offenders’ Alcohol Education Program and then to the finish line, resulting in a complete dismissal and erasure of their criminal DUI / DWI charge. Call us today to learn how we can help you or your child get there too.
Contact an Under 21 DWI / DUI Attorney at Mark Sherman Law Today
So if you are arrested for Under 21 DUI / DWI in Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton, Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Easton or any other Connecticut jurisdiction, contact one of the DUI / DWI lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. We understand how serious an arrest can be for your teenage child and the lasting impact it could have on their educational and professional career tracks.
Our compassionate team of attorneys will sit with you and your teenager to walk you through the court process. Together, we will craft a cost-effective and aggressive defense strategy with the sole goal of getting the charges dropped and erased as quickly as possible. Our knowledge in DUI / DWI law coupled with our DMV suspension appeal experience guarantees a two-front defense in our efforts to get your charges dismissed and your license restored. Plus, our internet scrubbing service can help you try to clean up any online publicity backlash from any arrest reports released by the arresting police department. So don’t wait any longer—call us today to learn how the Mark Sherman Law attorneys can help you with your Under 21 DUI / DWI. We are available 24/7 at (203) 358-4700.