Connecticut DUI laws are unique in many ways. The state leads the way in insurance practices in addition to taking unique stances when it comes to DUI laws in some areas, including its harsh stance on implied consent laws.
When it comes to conventional DUI infractions, however, Connecticut is similar to the rest of the United States. Any driver pulled over for a suspected DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or greater may be subjected to immediate arrest. Under Connecticut DUI laws, a driver of a commercial vehicle with a BAC level of .04 percent or greater can also be immediately placed under arrest. Connecticut additionally enforces zero-tolerance laws, ordinances designed to place penalties on drivers younger than 21 years old who are caught driving under the influence. An underage driver with a BAC of .02 percent or greater may be arrested and face additional penalties.
Automatic Penalties for Violations of Implied Consent Laws
In the state of Connecticut, refusing to submit to a blood test when suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which violates the state’s implied consent statutes, will essentially double the punishment that comes with every offense. According to Connecticut DUI laws, the first time that a driver refuses to submit to testing, he or she faces a license suspension for a period of six months. The second time, a one-year penalty is possible. The third refusal will come with a license suspension period of three years.
Possible Jail Time
Jail time that can come with a DUI offense in the state is minimal. However, the sentence vary wildly depending upon a defendant’s driving history. Judges can consider prior DUI offenses for up to 10 years, a period known as the “look-back period,” when determining sentencing.
The first offense can come with a sentence of two days jail time at minimum while the second offense can result in immediate jail time that lasts for 120 days. The third offense may allow the judge to mandate at least one year in jail.
These penalties may seem severe; however, defendants do have the option of pleading for a “wet reckless” charge in Connecticut. This plea allows them to be convicted for reckless driving involving alcohol, which is a misdemeanor.
It is also likely that a person convicted of a DUI in Connecticut will receive community service in addition to other penalties as part of his or her sentence. Jail time is often suspended in lieu of 100 hours of community service. This option for punishment is completely dependent upon the discretion of the judge in light of a defendant’s record of prior offenses.
Connecticut is not flexible when it comes to statutes that determine felony DUI. Drivers who face a DUI with only one previous DUI offense in the past 10 years will automatically be given a felony DUI. Drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol who cause the injury or death of another individual will also face felony DUI charges.
Changes to Connecticut DUI Laws
New DUI laws went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, that toughened existing penalties for first-time offenders. All individuals convicted of their first DUI are now required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle at their own expense. On the other hand, perhaps due to the new IID requirement, the license suspension period for a first-time offender was reduced from one year to 45 days.