OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5360 (as amended by House “A”)*

AN ACT PROHIBITING CERTAIN PERSONS FROM ALLOWING MINORS TO POSSESS ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR IN DWELLING UNITS AND ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits anyone who owns or controls private property, including a dwelling unit, from recklessly or with criminal negligence, permitting any minor to illegally possess alcohol in the unit or on the property, in addition to existing law's prohibition on knowingly allowing such possession.

The law also requires such a person who knows that a minor possesses alcohol illegally to make reasonable efforts to stop it. The bill appears to extend liability for failure to halt possession to a person who acts recklessly or with criminal negligence.

The bill increases the penalty to a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison, up to a $ 2,000 fine, or both. Under current law, a first violation is an infraction and any subsequent violation is punishable by up to one year imprisonment, up to a $ 500 fine, or both.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

*House Amendment “A” (1) eliminates the original file's provision requiring the owner to be physically present, (2) adds the reckless and criminal negligence standards, (3) eliminates the knowledge requirement for making reasonable efforts to stop a minor, and (4) increases the penalties.

BACKGROUND

Definitions

Though the bill does not define the degree of intent required for a violation, these terms are defined as follows in the penal code. With respect to conduct or a circumstance described by a statute, a person acts:

1. “knowingly” when he or she is aware that his or her conduct is of such nature or that such circumstance exists (CGS 53a-3 (12)),

2. “recklessly” when he or she is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists (the risk must be of such nature and degree that disregarding it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation) (CGS 53a-3 (13)), and

3. with “criminal negligence” when failure to perceive such a risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation (CGS 53a-3 (14)).

COMMITTEE ACTION

General Law Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute Change of Reference

Yea

13

Nay

5

(03/20/2012)

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

44

Nay

0

(04/02/2012)