DUI penalties are assessed within a timetable that relates back 10 years prior. Any criminal conviction that occurs in another state with DUI laws similar to Connecticut constitutes as a prior conviction of the same offense and becomes part of the offender’s prior criminal history.
In practice, the first DUI conviction for a driver is frequently the driver’s second time being arrested and charged. This occurs because the first time someone is arrested for DUI, they can apply to the court for admission to the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program. Connecticut law provides for a diversionary Pretrial Alcohol Education Program. Here, certain defendants charged with DUI can complete alcohol education classes or a substance abuse treatment program. The applicant has to state under oath in court that they have never been in the program in the previous 10 years; or, not at all if under the age of 21. The court has to dismiss the charge of DUI if the applicant successfully completes the program.
The criminal penalties for a first conviction of DUI are as follows:
- Either up to six months of prison with a mandatory minimum of two days or up to six months suspended with probation requiring 100 hours of community service.
- $500 to $1,000 fine.
- License suspension of 45 days, followed by one year of driving ignition interlock device vehicle.
The second conviction is:
- Up to two years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of 120 consecutive days and probation with a total of 100 hours of community service.
- $1,000 to $4,000 fine.
- License suspension of 45 days, followed by one year of driving IID vehicle.
- Limitations of driving the first year: work, school, an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program or ignition interlock service center.
Third and Subsequent Offense
The third and subsequent conviction results in:
- Up to three years, with a mandatory minimum of one year in prison and probation with 100 hours of community service.
- $2,000 to $8,000 fine.
- A permanent revocation of driver’s license.
For second, third, or subsequent DUI convictions, Connecticut law forces an offender to:
- Submit to drug or alcohol assessment through the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division; and
- Undergo a treatment program, if ordered to do so by the court.
Third-time offenders have their driver’s licenses revoked by the DMV. However, after two years, drivers can request license restoration. The DMV Commissioner can restore the license if they decide that public safety isn’t in danger. This happens if the driver has met some requirements, including completing an alcohol and drug education program. The driver can only operate vehicles equipped with an interlock device. Also, the DUI law places any driver who does not install and use the device as required under a license suspension. This suspension cannot be for a period greater than the period of the original suspension.
Manslaughter or Assault with Motor Vehicle
Drivers convicted of second degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle or second degree assault with a motor vehicle must operate vehicles equipped with an IID for two years following a mandatory one-year license suspension. Courts can also order a defendant convicted of either crime to drive motor vehicles equipped with an IID as a condition of:
- Release on bail.
- Granting an application to participate in the pretrial Alcohol Education Program.
A driver who holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL) faces disqualification from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year if he or she has:
- A BAC of .04 or more while driving a commercial vehicle.
- A BAC of .08 or more while driving any other type of vehicle.
- Refusing a BAC test when driving any motor vehicle; or
- Facing conviction of DUI.
CDL holders face a lifetime ban on operating commercial motor vehicles committing certain offenses such as DUI although they can have reinstatement if they meet certain conditions. If a driver arrested for DUI operates a vehicle with a suspended license, police impound the vehicle for 48 hours. The owner of the vehicle can reclaim it after paying the costs of both towing and storage. In addition, persistent felony offenders of driving under the influence face an increased criminal penalty.
The admissibility of evidence for uninsured drivers depends on whether the driver got injured. In order for the results of a test to be admissible, the following must occur:
- The driver must have a reasonable opportunity to call a lawyer before taking the test and consenting to it.
- A copy of the test results must get mailed or delivered to the driver within 24 hours or the next business day of when results get reached.
- The test has to be given by a police officer or at the officer’s discretion.
- Test administration must happen using methods and equipment approved by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP).
- Test equipment has to get checked for accuracy according to DESPP regulations.
- A second test of the same kind must get administered at least 10 minutes after the first test unless the second test detects drugs; in which case, it can be of a different type and doesn’t have to be administered within that time frame.
- The test has to start within two hours of vehicular operation, which is generally the time of the alleged offense.
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