Call For A Free Initial Consultation
Call For A Free Initial Consultation

Put Our Experience
To Work
For You

Photo of Professional At The Law Offices of Conti, Levy, Salerno & Antonio, LLC
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Criminal Defense
  4.  » The enhanced penalties for an OUI offense with a child passenger

The enhanced penalties for an OUI offense with a child passenger

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (OUI) is a serious offense in Connecticut. It’s so serious that it’s a criminal offense that’s punishable by fines, jail time and a license suspension. However, there are several ways for a court to enhance the penalties for an OUI conviction, even if it’s the offender’s first violation.

The consequences become more severe if a driver faces a OUI charge and there was a child passenger at the time of the offense. On top of enhanced penalties, the driver will also face a separate charge for endangering the child’s life.

The law on OUI with a child passenger

It’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs with a child under 18 as a passenger. The same provisions for a regular OUI still apply – so having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least .08% at the time of the offense means you’ve exceeded the legal limit for intoxication.

What changes, however, are the penalties on conviction. For a first violation of OUI with a child passenger, the driver must pay between $500 and $2,000 in fines or face imprisonment for up to a year. If sentenced to serve imprisonment, the driver must serve 30 consecutive days that can’t be suspended or reduced. The state DMV also suspends the convicted driver’s license.

The convicted driver must also perform 100 hours of community service, undergo treatment for substance abuse, and submit to the Department of Children and Families for evaluation. The agency will determine any ongoing risk posed to the child passenger, and if the driver must participate in any other programs.

Additional charges for endangering a child

A driver charged with OUI with a child passenger 15 or younger may face an additional charge for risk of injury to a minor. A conviction for this offense leads to up to 10 years in prison, $10,000 in fines, or both.

Connecticut treats drunk driving offenses severely because they endanger everyone on the road. But the state also treats OUI involving child passengers even harsher. If you face charges, remember that a legal professional may be able to advise you on your defense options and protect your rights in court.