FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the law about minors possessing alcohol in Connecticut?
Sec. 30-89. Purchasing liquor or making false statement to procure liquor by person forbidden to purchase prohibited. Possessing liquor by minor on public or private property prohibited; exceptions.
- (a) Any person to whom the sale of alcoholic liquor is by law forbidden who purchases or attempts to purchase such liquor or who makes any false statement for the purpose of procuring such liquor shall be fined not less than two hundred nor more than five hundred dollars.
- (b) Any minor who possesses any alcoholic liquor on public or private property shall, for a first offense, have committed an infraction and, for any subsequent offense, be fined not less than two hundred dollars or more than five hundred dollars. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to (1) a person over age eighteen who is an employee or permit holder under section 30-90a and who possesses alcoholic liquor in the course of such person’s employment or business, (2) a minor who possesses alcoholic liquor on the order of a practicing physician, or (3) a minor who possesses alcoholic liquor while accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse of the minor, who has attained the age of twenty-one. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to burden a person’s exercise of religion under section 3 of article first of the Constitution of the state in violation of subsection (a) of section 52-571b.
Where does it say in that law that the driver’s license will be suspended?
It doesn’t. For that you must look to Connecticut General Statutes 14-111a.
That law states:
Sec. 14-111a. Possession of alcoholic liquors in motor vehicles by underage persons.
Any person under the legal drinking age operating a motor vehicle, unless accompanied by his parent or guardian, in which a police officer finds alcoholic liquor as defined in section 30-1, may be summoned by such officer to appear at a hearing before the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, or an agent duly authorized by said commissioner, to show cause why his operator’s license should not be revoked. If at such hearing the commissioner or his agent finds that such person knew or had reason to know that alcoholic liquor was in such motor vehicle, he may revoke the operator’s license of such person for a period not exceeding sixty days. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person over age eighteen who is engaged in the performance of services for an employer holding a permit under chapter 545 or who holds a permit under said chapter.
How can the DMV do this?
The law in Connecticut is that driving is a privilege, and they can suspend a driver’s license for multiple reasons. Recently, Governor Rell has created an initiative to be more aggressive against teen drivers to try to prevent more teen fatalities. In doing so, the state and local police have taken a zero tolerance approach.
Why did the officer tell me/my child to pay the fine and not to worry about it?
The truth is that most police officers do not know that there is a corresponding drivers license loss when they issue a ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol. The make the ticket out for the minimum, $200, and figure they are giving you a “break.” That could not be further from the truth.
What happens if there are multiple minors in the car where the beer was found?
Many times the police will simply issue a Possession of Alcohol by a Minor summons to every person in the car. Simply because you or your child was in the presence of alcohol does NOT mean there was legal possession. This is one area where we have been successful in defending the charges.
Why bother, when my child can live without driving for a few months?
Having a alcohol related suspension can have dramatic consequences. Insurance companies routinely raise rates or drop entire family’s when a minor has a alcohol related suspension. In the future, an alcohol related suspension can impact a person’s ability to get a work permit if their license is suspended for other reasons.
What do Your Services Cost?
We can represent your child at court to try to negotiate for an alternative disposition than paying a $200 fine and having the license suspended. Depending on the court and the prosecutors, we have been successful in obtaining alternative resolutions such as charitable contributions, community service and outright dismissal of the cases based on legal or factual defenses. Each case is different, so our fees are a flat fee with no additional costs depending on the facts of the case. We do not charge for a telephone or in office consultation to help you make your decision on how you want to proceed.
WATCH THIS VIDEO
What YOU need to know to be an informed parent about your child’s case.
- Were there other minors present at the arrest?
- Were there any adults or guardians present?
- Where the bottles/cans empty when they were arrested?
- Did the minors cooperate with law enforcement?
- Where was the minor when arrested?
FAKE ID & FORGERY CHARGES IN CONNECTICUT
In order to obtain alcohol as a minor, some teenagers and people in their early 20s use a form of fake identification. Fake identification, more commonly referred to as a “fake ID”, is a false form of identification claiming that you are 21 or over the age of 21 when you are really under this age. In many cases, fake identification comes in the form of fake driver’s licenses. It is important to know that making a false statement to a police officer or using a fake ID will lead to more serious consequences than simply being charged with possession of alcohol by a minor.
Before selling you any type of alcohol, the owner of a liquor store can ask you to sign a statement that claims that you are over the age of 21. If you fill out this form and say that you are over 21 when you are not, and the store owner checks your age, you will be guilty of making a false statement. A first offense for this crime will result in a $100 fine. A subsequent offense of making a false statement will result in a fine of $250.
You can be charged with using a fake ID in many different circumstances. For example, if you buy or create a fake ID made for you, you will be guilty of using a fake ID. Similarly, if you borrow or steal a real ID that someone else has and pretend to be that person in order to obtain alcohol, you will be guilty of using a fake I.D.
Using a fake ID can have serious consequences. If you use a fake ID to possess, purchase, or consume alcohol, you face a $200-$500 fine, a 30 day jail sentence, and a license suspension of up to 150 days. The consequences can become more severe if you are charged with forgery for using a fake ID. The types of forgery include:
FAKE ID & FORGERY CHARGES ARE VERY SERIOUS!
POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA CHARGES IN CONNECTICUTPossession of marijuana is illegal regardless of your age. However, if you plead guilty to a possession of marijuana charge and you are under the age of 21, you will lose your driver’s license. You should always plead not guilty to a possession of marijuana charge so as to avoid the automatic revocation of your license. Additional penalties will depend on how much marijuana you are in possession of. For less than two ounces of marijuana on your person, you face a fine of a few hundred dollars. However, if you are in possession of more than 2 ounces of marijuana, you face some jail time and fines of thousands of dollars. There is a big misconception about possession of marijuana in the state of Connecticut. It is not legal for anyone to possess marijuana unless you have a valid prescription for it. What the state did do recently is “decriminalize” marijuana. That does not make it legal, however, it only means you cannot go to jail for small amounts of marijuana. Decriminalized marijuana charges now carry fines and confiscation as possible penalties.
For people under 21, however, there is another, more serious penalty – a 30 day driver’s license suspension. The DMV imposes this suspension on anyone who pleads guilty or is found guilty of possession even a small amount of marijuana in Connecticut if you are under 21.
Many police officers and most parents do not know this, so they pay the ticket thinking it is the “right thing to do.” They are WRONG. A marijuana charge can be noted on your driving history for YEARS and impact jobs and auto insurance. That small fine could costs thousands in additional costs over the next years.
Contact us today to discuss defenses to possession of marijuana in Connecticut to avoid jeopardizing the license of your family member that is under 21.
HOW TO PLEAD NOT GUILTY
100% of the people who plead guilty are found guilty every day. But even if you don’t think you have a legal or factual defense, you might not have the trained legal skills to review the case for defects. By contacting us and allowing a trained criminal defense attorney to review the facts around your case and legalities of the officer’s actions, we can make sure that your license and longterm history are protected whenever possible.
Its only after you plead NOT GUILTY and make the state prove the case that you can find deficiencies that you are waiving when you plead guilty. Check the box marked “I elect to plead not guilty” and give us a call today.
CONTACT US AT 203-925-9201 OR 860-263-0394
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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT US
I felt very comfortable with my attorneys as well as your paralegals. Any correspondence was addressed very quickly. I never thought I would find myself in this situation but am pleased with the outcome. You came highly recommended and I can understand why. – Heidi G.
Everything – polite, efficient, kind; always available to answer questions no matter how simple. Questions were answered in a prompt manner. I would recommend Ruane to anyone in need of a lawyer.
Ruane Attorneys helped with the uncertainty of what to do after the arrest and the communication from the entire Ruane Attorney staff kept me up to speed on the entire process of my case. After speaking with any member of the staff I always felt like they were doing the best job at defending me.