What you need to know about DUIs in CT.

One of the areas I most frequently receive questions about is DUI. The more information you have, the better your chances of successfully navigating a DUI arrest in CT, or avoiding one altogether. 

DUIs Generally

In CT, if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, you are legally considered intoxicated. If you operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated, you can face criminal and administrative consequences. If you are pulled over, you will be charged criminally and prosecuted for DUI. You will have to appear in court to face these charges. Additionally, you will receive notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that your license will be suspended administratively. It is important to understand that these two consequences are separate from one another and must be handled differently.

License Suspensions

When charged with a DUI, your license can be suspended in two ways. Your license can be suspended by the court as a result of a DUI conviction. Additionally, if you are stopped by the police and asked to submit to a chemical alcohol test, this can lead to an administrative license suspension by the DMV. The police will produce an “A-44” which is a form used to report a DUI arrest and the results of (or refusal to submit to) any administered sobriety tests. The police provide the A-44 to the DMV, and the DMV will send a notice within 30 days informing you of your license suspension. License suspension will start 30 days after the date of your arrest.

You can request a hearing in order to contest the grounds of the suspension within seven days. At the hearing, the DMV commissioner must find four things to uphold the license suspension: 

  • The officer had probable cause to arrest for DUI
  • You were in fact arrested
  • You refused or failed the properly administered BAC test; and
  • You were operating the motor vehicle.

While these hearings are tricky, a suspension is not automatic, and a skilled attorney can potentially save your license. Therefore, it is a worthwhile use of time to consult with an experienced DUI attorney when you are arrested for DUI. 

Ignition Interlock Device

A driver utilizing her required Ignition Interlock Device

In CT, If your license is suspended for failing or refusing a chemical alcohol test, or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) before your license can be reinstated. They are a condition of restoration for every suspension. IIDs can be costly, and you will have to pay all costs related to their installation and maintenance. They are installed by independent vendors, not the DMV. 

If you have to utilize an IID, it must installed on any vehicle you own or operate, and it must be brought to the installer every 30 days for calibration. Failing to do so can result in further suspension. Additionally, if you are caught tampering with, altering, removing or having someone else blow into the IID, you will face further suspension. 

Is DUI a felony?

Generally, getting a DUI in CT is a misdemeanor, particularly when it is your first offense. However, subsequent DUI convictions within 10 years will be viewed as a felony. Additionally, DUI can also be a felony if the driver causes serious physical injury to another party.  Even if you’ve never had a DUI, if your first DUI causes harm to another person (assault with a motor vehicle), you will be charged with a felony.

The Alcohol Education Program (AEP)

If you are facing a DUI charge, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate your ability to utilize the Alcohol Education Program. If the Court grants the AEP and you successfully complete it, your DUI charged will be dismissed. For more information regarding the AEP including the application form, visit our pretrial diversionary program blog post here.

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