Connecticut DUI FAQs

Connecticut Drunk Driving FAQS

What is the difference between a DWI, DUI, and OUI?

In Connecticut there is no difference. They are all commonly used acronyms for violating Connecticut Gen. Statutes Section 14-227a which is Connecticut’s drunk driving law that has the formal title of Operation while under the influence of liquor or drugs (OUI).

Will my drunk driving charge give me a record?

Connecticut has a program called the Impaired Driver Intervention Program which if successfully completed results in a dismissal of your drunk driving charge. You are eligible to apply for the program if you have never been convicted of a drunk driving charge in Connecticut, or any other state, and you have not previously used the program within the last 10 years. If you are not eligible for the program and your drunk driving arrest results in a conviction then you will have a criminal record as drunk driving is a misdemeanor in Connecticut for a first conviction. For any subsequent conviction it is a felony if the subsequent conviction is within 10 years of the prior conviction.

Is there an impaired driving charge in Connecticut called driving while impaired?

Connecticut no longer recognizes driving while impaired which was a noncriminal violation. The law was repealed.

Do I really need an attorney for drunk driving charge in Connecticut?

Drunk driving in Connecticut is a very serious charge. You will face consequences both in the criminal court and through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The consequences will differ based upon your history of drunk driving. If you can afford an attorney, you should get an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney you should apply for a public defender. If you can’t afford an attorney, but make too much money to qualify for a public defender, you should try to find an attorney who will take your case on an installment plan.

Why do I need an attorney, what are the benefits?

An experienced Connecticut drunk driving attorney will be able to review every fact and facet of your case to make sure that the police followed all of the correct procedures from their first interaction with you before your arrest through your arrest and processing at the police department before any criminal penalties or license suspension is applied. For example,

Was there probable cause to speak with you or pull you over?

Do the facts stated in the police reports match the body worn camera (BWC) and dashcam video evidence?

Did the police officer perform the Standardized Field Sobriety tests (SFTs) in the proper manner as required?

Was the A-44 form that is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles filled out correctly?

Was the chemical test selected by the officer administered properly?

Was the chemical testing apparatus functioning properly?

If the chemical test selected by the police officer required two spearte tests where the two tests done the proper time apart and within the required time frames?

If the claim is that you refused a chemical test, did you really refuse as that term is defined in the law?

Are there any defenses that can be raised at the Department of Motor Vehicles license suspension hearing?

Are there any defenses which might appear to be a person under the influence but is really the result of some other condition, medical or otherwise?

The above is just a small sampling of the many questions and aspects of your case and experienced Connecticut drunk driving attorney will look at.

What questions should I ask an attorney before I hire him for my case?

Has the attorney ever tried a drunk driving case before a jury? If yes, when was the last time that attorney took a drunk driving case to trial and won?

How many drunk driving cases has the attorney defended in the last year?

Will the attorney just have me apply for a drunk driving diversionary program before they even know the facts of the case and have reviewed all the information?

Has the attorney appeared before the Department of Motor Vehicles on license suspension hearings in the past year? How many times?

Has the attorney been successful in overturning license suspensions at those appeal proceedings in the past year?

Will my license be suspended after a drunk driving arrest?

If you are arrested for drunk driving and you take a chemical test that shows your blood alcohol content to be above .08, or you refuse to take a chemical test, the police will revoke your license for a period of 24 hours. You can pick up your license from the police 24 hours after your arrest. Thereafter, you will be subject to a 45-day license suspension if your chemical test results were above .08 or if you refused to take a chemical test. This 45-day suspension period will become effective at some later date, after you receive notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Normally this occurs about 30 days from the date of the arrest. If you do not appeal this administrative suspension through the Department of Motor Vehicles appeal process, then after the 45-day suspension ends, you will be required to use an approved ignition interlock device for a period of six months for a failed chemical test, or one year if you refused to take a test.

How can I drive for work or for school during that 45-day suspension period?

If this is the first time that you have been arrested for drunk driving in Connecticut, then you may be able to get permission to drive to and from work and/or to and from classes for higher education during the initial 45-day license suspension you receive for failing a chemical test or refusing a chemical test. You must file an application with the Department of Motor Vehicles about 14 days prior to your suspension period starting. The application must be filled out in its entirety and signed by your work supervisor and/or an appropriate school official. They will call to confirm with the person whose name and number you listed on the application.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Most people arrested for drunk driving in Connecticut will be required to use an Ignition Interlock Device for a period of time. There are different IID requirements for a person who fails a chemical test or refuses a chemical test; and those requirements imposed after a person is convicted of drunk driving.

Pre-Conviction suspensions and the IID

If your driver’s license is suspended for failing a chemical test (results that show your blood alcohol was .08 or higher) and you do not overturn that suspension through the DMV appeal process, then you will be required to use an ignition interlock device for 6 months beginning at the end of your 45-day suspension period.

If your driver’s license is suspended for refusing a chemical test (results that show your blood alcohol was .08 or higher) and you do not overturn that suspension through the DMV appeal process, then you will be required to use an ignition interlock device for 12 months beginning at the end of your 45-day suspension period.

Post-Conviction suspensions and the IID

First Conviction – 12 months IID in addition to any earlier IID requirement pre-conviction.

Second Conviction – 36 months IID in addition to any earlier IID requirement pre-conviction, and there are restrictions on driving during the first 12 months of the 36 month suspension.

Third and subsequent Convictions -  No right to an IID and you may petition for reconsideration after waiting 24 months from the date of suspension.

What is the Impaired Driving Intervention Program (IDIP)?

See, Impaired Driver Intervention Program.

What are the penalties for a drunk driving conviction?

First Conviction  – A first conviction (which under Connecticut law includes any conviction that is separated by more than 10 years from any other convictions) - Up to 6 months in jail, 2 days of which is a mandatory minimum period of jail (which can be waived at discretion of trial court judge and replaced by 100 hours of community service) and up to 2 years of probation, and a mandatory minimum $500.00 fine. 

Second Conviction within 10 years of First Conviction – Up to 2 years in jail with a mandatory minimum of no less than 120 consecutive days in jail (there is no other option for community service), up to 3 years of probation, and a mandatory minimum $1,000.00 fine. 

Third and subsequent conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction (all prior convictions count no matter how long ago as long as one prior is within 10 years of current arrest) – Up to 3 years in jail, 1 year of which is a mandatory minimum period of jail, 100 hours of community service) and up to 5 years of probation, and a mandatory minimum $2,000.00 fine. 

Bayer & Black, P.C. is a leading, full service criminal defense firm serving Fairfield County residents for 25+ years. Contact us today to discuss your drunk driving charge in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Fairfield, Wilton, Ridgefield, Norwalk, Trumbull, Bridgeport, Milford, Weston, Danbury, Newtown, Rowayton, case and receive a free consultation.