Dear Free-Range Teenager,
Congratulations! You’re sixteen and you finally have your license! Fantastic.
I don’t want to take all of the “woo-hoo” out of your newly-found freedom, but I do want to make sure that you know about and actually pay attention to a few laws and legal conceptsthat especially apply to your shiny, new driving experience.
Here’s a list of six things that you absolutely need to know.
1: DRIVING RESTRICTIONS FOR YOUR FIRST SIX MONTHS (Curfew and Passengers)
- You can’t drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
THIS CURFEW STAYS WITH YOU UNTIL YOU’RE 18!!
- You can’t have any passengers in your car except for
A licensed driving instructor, OR,
Your parent or legal guardian who has a valid driver’s license, OR,
A maximum of one person who is at least twenty years old, is actually instructing you, AND and has had a valid driver’s license for at least four straight years without any suspensions.
2: DRIVING RESTRICTIONS FOR YOUR SECOND SIX MONTHS (Curfew and Passengers)
- The only other passengers allowed in your car in addition to #1 above, are your immediate family.
- Remember the curfew — all the way until you’re 18.
3: CURFEW AND PASSENGER VIOLATIONS SUSPENSIONS AND FINES
- For your first conviction of any of the passenger or curfew restrictions, your license will be suspended for 30 days.
- You’ll also have to pay a $175.00 restoration AND a fine.
- For a second and any subsequent conviction, you’ll lose your license for six months or until you turn 18, whichever is longer and you’ll have to pay the same $175.00 restoration fee and higher fines.
4: CELL PHONES
Until you turn 18 you’re not allowed to use any cell phone while you’re driving, even if it’s hands-free.
- For your first cell phone conviction, you’ll lose your license for 30 days.
- For the second conviction, you’ll lose your license for 90 days and the third time, you’ll lose your license for six months.
- Your license restoration fee will be $175.00 and fines go up every time.
You first speeding conviction will win you a 60 day license suspension. The second speeding gets a 90 day suspension and a third conviction will suspend your license for 6 months.
6: ALCOHOL, MARIJUANA OR OTHER CONTRABAND
Connecticut law assumes that as the driver of a car, you possess anything in your car. In other words, the law says that you know about and control what’s in your car.
This means that if you have a passenger in your car, and if that person has placed beer, marijuana, any other drug, or a weapon in your car, you, the driver can be arrested.
SO, sharpen your radar. Be aware of who is getting into your car and what they’re carrying. If they’re carrying something illegal, have the intelligence, maturity and the courage to tell them that they’re either getting rid of it or they’re walking.
If for any reason you’re charged with a violation of the teen driver laws or have questions about them, call the Maddox Law Firm; we’ll give you the information that you’re looking for and if necessary, the protection and advocacy that you need.
Attorney Matthew Maddox has offices in New Canaan. His blog appears on his law firm website and is available by email.