What should I know about the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) in Connecticut?

Do you have questions about the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Connecticut? If so, you have come to the right place. Our Fairfield County criminal defense attorneys at Bayer & Black, P.C. have extensive knowledge of Connecticut's DUI laws and of the legal practice area of DUI defense. Below, we have provided answers to a few frequently asked questions concerning DUI. We can also help you answer additional questions after you reach out to our firm!

What constitutes a DUI offense?

In Connecticut, a DUI offense occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while he or she is under the influence of:

  • An intoxicating liquor
  • A drug, or
  • Both types of substances

DUI can also be charged in cases where the driver has a blood alcohol content that is at or above the legal limit. For most drivers, the legal limit is 0.08%. However, commercial drivers have a legal limit of 0.04%, and drivers who are younger than 21 years of age have a legal limit of 0.02%.

Can I get a DUI for driving while on medication?

The answer is "Yes" if you are determined by law enforcement to be under the influence of your prescription drugs. In fact, you can even be arrested for allegedly being impaired by over-the-counter drugs, such as cough medicine that makes you drowsy. Individuals who take medications are expected to refrain from driving if the known side effects of their drugs include drowsiness or other impairment of their physical and/or mental abilities.

Are there any programs I can go through to avoid conviction?

Yes. In your case, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with prosecutors or the judge to get you into a pre-trial Alcohol Education (AE) program. This may take the form of an intervention program that lasts either 10 or 15 weeks, or it may take the form of an actual treatment program. Completion of the AE program allows you to have your DUI charges dismissed. In order to qualify, you must either be facing DUI charges for the first time, or you must not have gone through the program within the past 10 years.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath test devices that can be installed in a vehicle. This device requires the driver to submit a breath sample, which is used to determine the individual's blood alcohol content. If the driver has a certain amount of alcohol in his or her system, the vehicle's engine will not start. The IID records the results of the breath tests, which are reviewed by law enforcement. Under Connecticut law, people who are convicted for DUI offenses must install IIDs in any vehicles they operate or own for certain periods of time following the restoration of their driver's licenses.

What should I do after being arrested for DUI?

The first thing you should do is contact a skilled attorney. A good lawyer will get to work on your case immediately, helping you to start the process for challenging your driver's license suspension through a DMV hearing and challenging your actual charges through your criminal court proceedings. Following your arrest, you should not answer any questions by officers or prosecutors without having your attorney present.