Effective January 1, 2006, Public Act 05-215 added to Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-227b new Subsection (j) regarding an increased suspension period for a person under 21 years of age:
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-227b (j) The commissioner shall suspend the operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege of a person under twenty-one years of age who did not contact the department to schedule a hearing, who failed to appear at a hearing or against whom, after a hearing, the commissioner held pursuant to subsection (h) of this section, as of the effective date contained in the suspension notice or the date the commissioner renders a decision, whichever is later, for twice the appropriate period of time specified in subsection (i) of this section.
In essence, subsection (j) doubles the amount of time one’s license is suspended based on the fact the defendant is under 21 years of age. This means if the defendant would normally receive a 90-day suspension, the suspension would jump to 180 days and so forth.
Some would say that underage drinking has become a national epidemic. This amendment to the drunk driving laws in the state of Connecticut is in direct response to this. Whatever the reason for “doubling the suspension”, it is the new consequence of underage drinking.
Alcohol is the drug of choice with most children. Most kids get stressed about school, family tension, getting into college, etc. You need to think about the consequences before drinking. Imagine losing your driving privileges around the clock for six months. That is the minimum you lose it for if you are underage.
Parents should also be aware of the consequences of allowing their children to drink on their property. If parents condone or even know about underage drinking on their property, they are opening themselves up to maximum penalties of $1,500 fines and eighteen months in jail. And if the kids are under sixteen, they face far worse penalties. You can face charges for risk of injury to a minor, which carries a prison term of up to ten years.
Law and police action alone however, do little to address underage drinking. The only real approach is to educate children of the consequences of drinking and now with the harsher penalties on license suspension the consequences are quite severe and will affect the day-to-day life of an underage drinker.