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Elements of DUI in Connecticut

A person commits the crime of driving under the influence by engaging in the following acts:

  1.  Operates a Motor Vehicle AND
  2. Possesses a blood alcohol content of at least .08 OR is “under the influence of intoxicating liquor”.

A person does not need to be driving a motor vehicle in order to operate it.  A person operates a motor vehicle when he intentionally commits an act which, by itself or with other acts, will result in the motor vehicle moving under its own power.  Examples of operating a vehicle include using the ignition or gearshift, or removing the parking brake.  The fact that a person is the operator of a vehicle can be found through direct or circumstantial evidence.

The definition of motor vehicle is broad.  Mopeds, All Terrain Vehicles, and snowmobiles are vehicles which are covered by the law.  Courts have held that a vehicle which has a motor but is moved by a combination of the motor and the driver’s legs is a vehicle covered by the statute.

The second element of the crime of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence is satisfied when the operator of the motor vehicle, during the time he was operating the vehicle, has a blood alcohol content of at least .08 or is “under the influence of intoxicating liquor”.  Blood alcohol content is measured by volume, and .08 means that there is 8 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood tested.

An operator of a motor vehicle is under the influence of intoxicating liquor when the operator’s mental and physical responses are sufficiently dulled by the alcohol.  A driver’s responses are sufficiently dulled when he can no longer drive with the same amount of care and caution as a sober person.  There is no need to show that the operator was driving erratically.  The blood alcohol level of the operator does not need to reach a specified minimum.

If the defendant is charged only with operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is not charged with the crime of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, any tests run to determine the blood alcohol content of the defendant are admissible only at his request.

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