It’s all too easy to make poor decisions while intoxicated. One bad choice many people still make while drunk is trying to drive. Even people in positions of authority can make bad choices when they’re under the influence.
Recently, one Connecticut state trooper did just that. He was charged with a DUI after hitting another vehicle while driving his unmarked police vehicle off-duty. No one is above the law, after all, and he received multiple other charges as well.
Connecticut’s DUI laws are strict, so while the trooper’s case is ongoing, it appears he is facing some serious penalties. Understanding how Connecticut defines DUIs can help you avoid making the same mistakes.
How Connecticut Law Defines a DUI
DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence.” Alcohol is most commonly the “influence” that the term refers to, but other drugs also fall under that umbrella.
All it takes to receive a DUI charge for an illegal substance outside of alcohol is testing positive for that substance in any amount.
On the other hand, to be charged with an alcohol-related DUI, your blood alcohol content (BAC) must be tested. If your BAC is above 0.08%, then you’re considered legally intoxicated. That means you’re automatically charged with a DUI.
Implied Consent in Connecticut
You don’t need to consent to a breathalyzer test if you get pulled over. Connecticut has an “implied consent” law for these kinds of tests.
What that means is, if you are driving a car or another vehicle in Connecticut, your consent to these tests is considered to be implied. So if you refuse a test, you’re liable to face penalties like having your driving privileges revoked.
Charges and Penalties for DUIs in Connecticut
The penalties for DUI convictions vary depending on the circumstances. In general, the more convictions for DUIs you have, the stiffer the penalties. They escalate quickly, in order to discourage repeat offenses.
A First-Time DUI Offense
A first offense DUI conviction is a misdemeanor. A conviction can lead to to the following minimum penalties:
- Plan on up to $1,000 in fines and half a year in jail.
- When you can avoid jail, you must do 100 hours of community service instead.
- Your driver’s license will also be suspended for up to 45 days.
- Afterward, you’ll be required to use an ignition interlock device for a year. These devices prevent your car from starting unless your BAC is at legal levels.
Your Second DUI Conviction
A second DUI conviction isn’t a misdemeanor, but a felony if it occurs less than a decade after your first. Count on two years in prison, mandatory community service, and $4,000 in fines.
Furthermore, you’re likely to be ordered to attend an alcohol abuse program. Your license will be suspended again, and the interlock device is mandatory for three years this time around.
A Third DUI Conviction
Your third DUI conviction is punished more severely yet. You might be sentenced to three years in jail, $8,000 in fines, a court-ordered substance abuse program, and community service.
Finally, at this point, your license can be permanently revoked. You can also face having your car impounded or even longer prison sentences if your convictions are close together.
Needless to say, being convicted of a DUI charge can change your life. A single mistake can even lead to you losing your job when you cannot make it to work. If you’ve been charged, finding an experienced Connecticut DUI attorney should be your top priority.
They can work to reduce or dismiss your charges, help you navigate the legal system, and protect your reputation. Don’t let a DUI charge change your life.
About the Author
Douglas D. Rudolph practices criminal defense law with two guiding principles in mind: that you are someone who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that you are innocent until proven guilty. Those are beliefs that have served him well so far in New Haven and across Connecticut, where he has built a reputation as someone who truly cares about his clients and will fight aggressively for them. His work has earned him a number of prestigious awards, including landing on The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 list two years in a row, and being named to the Top 10 Under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys in 2018.