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DUI Arrests with Minor Passengers: A Must-Read for Parents

  • Posted by: Ashling Soares

Many, if not most, parents have consumed a glass or two of wine at a family dinner outing, and then proceeded to drive their children home without thinking twice. While drinking and driving with minor passengers is not illegal per se, if you are charged with DUI while driving with a minor passenger, you may face enhanced penalties and/or additional charges with serious consequences.

DUI with Child Passengers

Public Act 16-126, which took effect on October 1, 2016, imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of thirty days for a conviction of DUI with underage (under 18) children in the vehicle. The maximum jail time is one year for a first offense, and three years for a subsequence offense. The minimum sentencing provision is a strict requirement, which means that the court cannot give a lesser sentence, even with good cause. So, if a person charged with this crime is not eligible for a diversionary program (e.g. the Alcohol Education Program), unless found not guilty at trial, he or she is looking at a conviction and jail time.

Risk of Injury to a Minor

A driver charged with DUI who has a child age 15 or younger as a passenger may also be charged with Risk of Injury to a Minor (CGS §53-21), in addition to DUI. A Risk of injury charge in these circumstances is a Class C felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Keep in mind that, if convicted, this penalty will be in addition to any sentence imposed for the accompanying DUI conviction, as well as the DMV’s penalties, which typically include a license suspension and a mandatory interlock device.

If you have been charged with DUI, call Ashling Soares Law today at 203.529.5115, or email info@ashlingsoareslaw.com.

Author: Ashling Soares

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