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Connecticut DUI Laws

In Connecticut a driver may commit the crime of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol by committing one of two acts.  Firstly, the driver is in violation of the statute if he is operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.  This limit is lowered to .04 if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle.  Drivers under the age of 21 may not have a blood alcohol content that meets or exceeds .02.  Secondly, the driver of a vehicle may be convicted of operating under the influence regardless of his blood alcohol level if he has consumed alcohol and his driving is impaired.  A driver may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug, including prescription drugs.

A driver is presumed to consent to the testing of their blood alcohol content.  The statute permits blood, urine, or breath tests to determine blood alcohol content.  The first test for blood alcohol content must be taken within two hours after the driver stops operating the vehicle, unless the driver refuses the test.  If the driver refuses a blood alcohol test, his license will be suspended.  A driver may refuse a blood alcohol test by either actively refusing to take it or by interfering with the testing process.

The sentence for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol will depend on several factors.  A first offense is punishable by a fine of between $500 and $1,000, the suspension of the driver license for a year and a period of up to six months in jail.  The sentencing judge may suspend the jail sentence and place the offender on probation.  During the probationary period, the offender is required to complete 100 hours of community service.

If the offender has previously been found to have operated a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the punishment is enhanced.  The sentencing judge is permitted to look at the offender’s driving record for the last ten years to determine if the offender has any previous convictions for operating under the influence.  If any convictions for driving under the influence exist within the previous ten years, the sentencing judge is permitted to look further into the offender’s driving history for any other convictions.  If the offender is convicted of a third offense the driver license is revoked and the driver must wait several years before he may file to have his privilege reinstated.

If a driver causes serious injury to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he commits a class D felony.  The punishment for committing this felony is a one year suspension of the driver license and a required engine interlock device be installed on the driver’s vehicle for two years following the end of the suspension.  If the driver causes the death of another while driving under the influence, the penalties are increased.

If an interlock device is required, it is installed and maintained at the driver’s expense.  If the operator attempts to bypass the interlock device, either by removing the device or having another individual blow in the device, he is guilty of Class C misdemeanor.

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