Sec. 14-111e authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the license or driving privileges for 30 days for alcohol possession in private places, 60 days for possession on roads or public places (includes possession in a vehicle on a road) and 150 days for a person convicted of using false identification. Additionally, even if alcohol is not purchased or possessed, possession of a false or altered ID may also lead to a two-month suspension of the possessor’s real license, pursuant to Sec. 14-111f. According to Sec. 14-111e(b), violators who do not yet have driver’s licenses will be delayed 150 days from obtaining licenses.
Note that people who have out-of-state driver’s licenses will have their Connecticut driving privileges revoked even though their licenses will not be suspended (although it may be possible, depending on the state, for the state that issued the license to suspend it).
`For individuals of all ages, it is unlawful, under Sec. 30-89a, to permit a minor to illegally possess alcohol on private property, or, upon knowing that a minor is in possession, to not make reasonable efforts to stop that possession. A first offense is an infraction. A subsequent offense authorizes a fine up to $500 and/or up to a year in jail.
The foregoing concerns only violations of state law. Cities and towns may enact and enforce their own ordinances to prohibit alcohol possession. These types of violations do not carry DMV suspensions. It is imperative that you know what you are charged for.
What if you have already received a suspension notice?
Often a person does not find out about the driver’s license suspension for an alcohol violation until the suspension notice from DMV arrives. It actually might not be too late to reopen the case and stop the suspension. To do so, one must file a motion to reopen in the proper court. If granted, the case will go back to the beginning. From that point, a defendant will have the opportunity to resolve the case in a manner that does not result in a license suspension. If you are in this situation, contact me.
Public drinking (“open container”) and public intoxication are not state offenses in Connecticut. Many cities and towns, however, have their own ordinances regarding these subjects. Hartford, most notably, has a city ordinance prohibiting the public consumption of alcohol that is often issued at concerts as a summons. This can be issued in place of or in addition to a minor in possession ticket if the person is underage. Hartford police summon persons under this ordinance to Hartford Community Court, usually within a few days of the offense. Community Court is a joint venture between the City of Hartford and the Connecticut Judicial Branch that handles “quality of life” offenses in Hartford. For that reason, these charges are serious and cannot be brushed off.