PA 16-182—sHB 5629

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING A DIVERSIONARY PROGRAM FOR PERSONS UNDER AGE TWENTY-ONE FOR MOTOR VEHICLE VIOLATIONS AND CRIMES RELATED TO UNDERAGE DRINKING

SUMMARY: This act allows a defendant or prosecutor to ask the court to allow eligible defendants under age 21 charged with certain motor vehicle violations and alcohol-related crimes to participate in a program that can result in charges against them being dismissed.

The act requires the court to refer someone to the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division (CSSD) to confirm his or her eligibility and gives the court discretion whether to allow the person to participate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

DIVERSIONARY PROGRAM FOR PERSONS UNDER AGE 21

Eligible Defendants

Under the act, a defendant is eligible to participate in the program if he or she is under age 21, has not used the program before, and is charged with:

1. a motor vehicle violation, with some exceptions;

2. misrepresenting his or her age or using another person's driver's license to procure alcohol (punishable by a $200 to $500 fine) (CGS 30-88a);

3. permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol on private property or failing to halt illegal possession (a class A misdemeanor, see Table on Penalties) (CGS 30-89a);

4. purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol or making a false statement to procure alcohol (punishable by a fine of $200 to $500) (CGS 30-89(a)); or

5. possessing alcohol (punishable as an infraction for a first offense and a $200 to $500 fine for a subsequent offense) (CGS 30-89(b)).

A person cannot participate in the program if he or she is charged with driving under the influence (CGS 14-227a and -227g) or a motor vehicle violation that (1) caused serious injury or death or (2) is a felony and the court does not find good cause.

Victim Forums

The act requires the program to provide a nonconfrontational forum for participants to hear from victims affected by underage drinking, drunk driving, distracted driving, or other motor vehicle violations. CSSD must approve the program, which must be conducted by a nonprofit organization that advocates for victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers. The organization may charge a participation fee of up to $50.

If the organization reports to CSSD that the defendant satisfactorily completed the program within nine months of invoking the program, the act requires dismissing the charges. If the defendant does not satisfactorily complete the program during that period, the charges are reinstated.

OLR TRACKING: CR; HP; VR: TJO