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Important Facts about Connecticut's DUI/OUI Laws

Driving in Connecticut is considered a privilege, not a right. If you are charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs you may face serious consequences. You may lose your driving privileges, have to participate in an Alcohol Education Program, and may face having a criminal record and/or incarceration. Here are some important facts regarding Connecticut's DUI/OUI laws:

1. Connecticut's Implied Consent Law states that any person who operates a motor vehicle is presumed to have given his or her consent to a test to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, provide a urine sample or blood test, your license will be suspended, regardless of your case's outcome in court.

2.  If your BAC is .08 or above, you are considered legally intoxicated. If you are under 21 years of age a BAC of .02 or above is over the legal limit. Even without any evidence of your BAC, you can be charged with a DUI, if there is evidence that your ability to drive has been compromised because you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

3.  The State of Connecticut provides for the implementation of sobriety checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints allow police to briefly stop vehicles at specific, highly visible locations to determine if a driver is impaired. Police may stop all or a certain portion of drivers. If they have reason to believe you are under the influence, law enforcement may require you to submit to Field Sobriety Tests.

4.  Boats and motorcycles are considered vehicles, too! You can be charged with a DUI for operating a boat, motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

5.  The following will occur if you are arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence:

  • You will be detained by police and read your rights.
  • Your vehicle may be towed, at your expense.
  • You will be taken to a police station by a law enforcement agent.
  • The arresting officer, acting on behalf of the DMV Commissioner, will revoke your driver's license for a period of 24 hours and submit a report to the DMV.
  • If you consent to a chemical alcohol test and that test registers a BAC of .08 or above (or .02 or above for a driver under 21 years of age), you will be charged with OUI.
  • If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, and law enforcement has reason to believe, through their observations and/or the administration of Field Sobriety Tests, that you are under the influence, you will be charged with OUI.
  • You will be detained and likely will be required to post a bond to secure your release.

6. There are two separate DUI proceedings:

  • A Court proceeding where your attorney will help you resolve your charges; and
  • A DMV Hearing ("Per Se" Hearing) where your attorney can challenge the administrative suspension of your license.

7. There are two (2) ways to lose your license:

  1. Through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you are charged with OUI, law enforcement notifies DMV of your arrest. DMV will suspend your license should you fail your breath, blood or urine test or refuse to submit to the test. You will receive a Notice of Suspension from DMV prior to your license suspension and if you want to contest the suspension, you must request a hearing with DMV's Administrative Per Se Unit within seven days.
  2. Through a conviction for OUI. If you are convicted of a DUI, notice of the conviction is sent to DMV, and the following penalties are imposed:
  • First Conviction: 45 day license suspension. You must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle for at least one year following restoration of your license. You must pay DMV a fee of $100 before installation, and are responsible for monthly payments for the device.
  • Second Conviction: 45 day license suspension. You must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle for three years following restoration of your license. During the first year of the three year period you may only drive to and from work, school, a substance abuse treatment program, IID service center, or appointment with a probation officer.
  • Third Conviction: Permanent revocation of license and you must wait at least two years from the date of revocation to request a hearing for reconsideration.

8. If you are a first time offender, you may be eligible for the Alcohol Education Program (AEP). The AEP is a pretrial diversionary program, and if the Court grants entry into the Program and you successfully complete it, the charges will be dismissed. After you apply for the AEP, the Bail Commissioner's office performs a background check to determine whether you are eligible for participation. You will also be evaluated by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and DMHAS recommends a level of treatment should the Court grant the program. The recommendations are:

  • A 10-week educational program($350.00 program fee);
  • a 15-week educational program ($500.00 program fee); or
  • an independent in- or outpatient treatment program approved by the Bail Commissioner (you must pay for any private treatment program unless the Court decides otherwise).
  • You may also be required to take part in a Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel (VIP) and will be required to pay a fee to attend.

9. If you are convicted of a DUI/OUI in Connecticut and are placed on probation, you will have to pay a fine, participate in substance abuse treatment and perform community service.

10. Even if your case is dismissed, if your license is suspended through DMV, notice of the suspension will remain on your driving history for up to ten years. This information may be discovered during background checks, and may impact your ability to get a job or to maintain or obtain automobile insurance, and may result in an increase in your insurance premiums.

        An experienced attorney can help you with your Court hearings and with your Administrative Per Se Hearing as well. Here at Koffsky and Felsen, LLC we understand how intimidating and concerning a DUI charge can be and with over 40 years of combined experience handling these types of cases, we are ready to help you get on the right track towards restoring your driving privileges.

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