In Connecticut, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, also known as a DUI, is against the law and has stiff penalties. Connecticut's DUI laws cover limits and rules for testing blood alcohol levels, suspension or revocation of driver's licenses, and penalties for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits in Connecticut
Like in many states, in Connecticut, if a driver's BAC reaches 0.08% or higher, the person is driving while intoxicated. This is called a "per se " BAC limit DUI law, which means that there isn't a need for any other evidence to support a DUI conviction.
For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 years old, the BAC limit is 0.02%. This is called a "zero tolerance law" and is intended to curb and punish underage drinking and driving.
Connecticut has what is known as an "implied consent " law which means that simply operating a motor vehicle in the state implies consent to a chemical analysis of the driver's blood, breath, or urine for detection of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances. If the chemical analysis is refused, driving privileges can be suspended.
Along with administrative penalties such as a license revocation or suspension, the criminal penalties for a DUI conviction in Connecticut include:
First violation: punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. If the prison sentence is suspended, the driver may be placed on probation but must do 100 hours of community service.
Second violation within 10 years after prior conviction : punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to $4,000 in fines and a period of probation requiring 100 hours of community service, submission to an alcohol or drug abuse assessment and a treatment program, if one is ordered by the court.
Third violation within 10 years after prior conviction: punishable by up to 3 years in prison and up to $8,000 in fines in addition to a period of probation requiring 100 hours of community service, submission to an alcohol or drug abuse assessment and a treatment program, if one is ordered by the court.
The above penalties may be enhanced if the drunk driving results in an accident, property damage, or death. In Connecticut, the killing of another person as a result of DUI is second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle and subject to steep penalties.
Administrative Penalties and License Suspensions
Connecticut's DUI laws permit an automatic suspension or revocation of a person's driver's license upon a DUI conviction. A first time DUI offense may cause a driver's license to be suspended for up to 45 days. Additionally, as a condition to restoring the license, the driver must install and use an approved ignition interlock device for 1 year. The ignition interlock device requires that the driver blow into the device to test their BAC. If the BAC is above a certain level, the driver's car won't start.
For a second DUI offense, if the driver was under 21 years of age at the time of the offense, the driver's license will be suspended for 45 days or until the driver turns 21, whichever is longer. Second-time offenders must also install and use an ignition interlock device for 3 years as a condition to restoring their license. The first year, the driver is limited to driving to and from work, school, an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, or an ignition interlock device service center.
For a third DUI offense, the driver's license may be permanently revoked. The revocation may be suspended or reduced under certain circumstances.
Repeat offenders may also have their car impounded or greater prison sentences imposed.
Drivers of commercial vehicles are subject to a more stringent standard than normal drivers. The per se BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04% which means that a BAC of 0.04% is enough for a conviction and can result in a suspension or permanent revocation of a commercial driver's license.
Getting Legal Help
DUI laws can be complicated. If you have been arrested or charged with DUI, you should consult with a Connecticut DUI attorney who can counsel you on your rights and responsibilities and get you back into the driver's seat quickly.