Connecticut DUI Laws

DUI Laws in Connecticut

If you have been charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) in Connecticut, having an experienced attorney in the process of minimizing the consequences and protecting your driver’s license is critical. A DUI charge overlaps the criminal defense process with a separate DMV hearing determining how long your license will be suspended. To effectively defend both your rights in the criminal case and your driver’s license, you need an experienced Connecticut DUI lawyer who is familiar with both processes.

Connecticut DUI Basics

In Connecticut, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The state’s DUI laws prohibit drivers from operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Additionally, drivers under 21 can be charged with DUI if their BAC is 0.02% or higher.

Here are some key provisions of Connecticut’s DUI laws:

  • Implied consent: By driving on Connecticut’s roads, you are considered to have given your implied consent to a breath, blood, or urine test if you are suspected of DUI. Refusing to take a test can result in a license suspension of up to six months.
  • Penalties: Penalties for a DUI conviction in Connecticut can include fines, license suspension, community service, and even jail time, depending on the circumstances of the offense and whether it is a first or subsequent offense.
  • Ignition interlock: In some cases, individuals convicted of DUI in Connecticut may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This device prevents the car from starting if the driver has alcohol on their breath.
  • Commercial drivers: Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can be charged with DUI if their BAC is 0.04% or higher.

It’s important to note that DUI laws can be complex, and the specific provisions of Connecticut’s DUI laws may be subject to change. If you have been charged with DUI in Connecticut, consulting with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and options is essential.

Connecticut DUI Prosecution

Driving under the influence can often easily be prosecuted as the law in Connecticut states that any individual who decides to drive must consent to chemical testing. Chemical testing includes breath, blood, and urine testing for blood alcohol content levels. Those who are under the age of twenty-one give chemical testing consent through their parents or guardians. In both these circumstances, consent is implied.

Important: Regardless of when your court date for the DUI was scheduled, you need to apply for a DMV hearing as soon as possible if you wish to fight the charges and prevent your license from being suspended.

For consent to be implied, a police officer will, upon arrest and before testing administration, notify the individual of his or her rights under the United States Constitution, allow the individual to call his or her attorney, notify the individual that his or her driver’s license will be suspended on test refusal, and notify the individual that testing refusal will most likely be used for further prosecution. Driver’s license suspension for refusal can be as much as six months.

Possible Defenses to DUI Charges

Every DUI case is made up of facts that are much bigger than the result the police obtained from a breathalyzer test. A few possible defenses to a DUI charge may include:

Search / Seizure Laws – Constitutional Violations

While Connecticut does have an implied consent law requiring drivers to submit to sobriety testing, that does not mean that the police and highway patrol are allowed to pull you over or unnecessarily detain you. If the officer did not have the right to pull you over in the first place, any evidence gathered after that point can not be used against you.

The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Was Incorrect

There have been DUI cases where the BAC results from the blood or breath test have been questioned. Some of the questions around BAC testing evidence include:

  • Was the machine used to test your BAC adequately maintained and calibrated?
  • Was the sample used collected correctly by a qualified person?
  • Was the evidence preserved correctly to ensure an accurate test result?

There are many different variables in each DUI case. My job as your DUI defense lawyer is to examine each element of the entire process, from the initial pull-over to the officer’s questioning, to the preliminary testing to what happened during and after the arrest. You’re only guilty if the prosecution can prove you are guilty. Having a lawyer on your side helps protect that from happening or can minimize the consequences if you are found guilty or the facts around your case suggest that you will be found guilty.

Connecticut DUI Prosecution

The state can prosecute an individual even if no blood alcohol content level has been obtained. This can be done through proof of impairment. Connecticut law states that a DUI conviction can be made because an individual was too impaired to operate a motor vehicle. The prosecution will present evidence outlining how the court impaired the individual.

Evidence can include a record of the individual’s appearance, field sobriety testing, and driving patterns. If the individual has refused to take a blood alcohol content test, the court infers that he or she is guilty. If a blood alcohol content test was taken, this can also act as evidence for the prosecution but will not always indicate impairment. An individual may have a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit, and he or she can still not be considered impaired.

Driving under the influence charges can also be prosecuted through per se law. Under per se law, the prosecution will not attempt to prove an individual was impaired. Instead, he or she will seek to prove that the individual’s blood alcohol content percentage was above the legal limit. Under per se laws, an individual will almost always be convicted of driving under the influence if his or her blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or over. Physical impairment and sobriety tests will not be necessary for the prosecution.

Connecticut DUI Penalties

Penalties in Connecticut depend on the number of prior incidents and the circumstances of the offense. If a child were in the car when the arrest was made, the penalty would increase severely without considering the number of prior offenses.

In Connecticut, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) can be severe and vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense. Here are some of the potential penalties for DUI in Connecticut:

  1. First Offense:
  • Fine: $500 to $1,000
  • Jail: Up to 6 months
  • License suspension: 45 days
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation for one year after the license is restored
  • Alcohol Education and Treatment Program: Required to participate and complete
  1. Second Offense:
  • Fine: $1,000 to $4,000
  • Jail: Up to 2 years
  • License suspension: 45 days to 3 years
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation for three years after the license is restored
  • Alcohol Education and Treatment Program: Required to participate and complete
  1. Third Offense:
  • Fine: $2,000 to $8,000
  • Jail: Up to 3 years
  • License suspension: Permanent revocation with the possibility of reinstatement after two years
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation for life after the license is restored
  • Alcohol Education and Treatment Program: Required to participate and complete

These penalties are not absolute and can be affected by factors such as the driver’s age, blood alcohol content (BAC), and prior offenses. Additionally, the court may order additional penalties, such as community service or attendance at a victim impact panel.

Why You Should Fight Your Connecticut DUI Charge

It’s common for people who have been charged with a DUI to believe there is no hope in fighting the charges. They know that they were drinking and were pulled over and arrested, so they must be guilty. No matter the conditions around your DUI arrest, one thing remains true: the state must prove that you were over the legal limit and in control of the motor vehicle. An experienced DUI attorney can attempt to find potential weaknesses in the case against you and work to either secure an agreement for a lessened sentence or dismiss the case against you.

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