Avoid a DUI in Connecticut (5 Things You Need to Know about DUI)

To avoid getting a DUI in Connecticut, you should know at least these five things.

            Overview

I.  DUI in Connecticut
II. Penalties
III.The Costs
IV. Sobriety Tests
V.  Avoid Arrest

I. DUI in Connecticut

Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a crime. It’s called driving under the influence or DUI in Connecticut.

DUI is usually identified as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

For those under age 21, the prohibition is 0.02% or higher. This is called zero tolerance, although the young driver need not have a BAC of 0.00%. It can be over zero percent and still be legal. That’s because Connecticut wants to reduce the chances of convicting innocent young drivers.

The logic for permitting BACs under 0.02% is simple. First, “breathalyzers” or alcohol breath testers lack reliability. They don’t really measure BAC. (That requires analyzing a sample of actual blood.) Breathalyzers only estimate it. That’s why not all states permit their use.

Another reason is that many medications and foods contain alcohol. Even bread does. A third reason is that everyone of any age produces alcohol naturally within their bodies. And they do so 24/7. Obviously, that includes all young drivers.

Nevertheless, Connecticut may prosecute without any direct evidence of any driver’s BAC. It only needs to show that a person’s ability to drive safely was impaired.

II. Penalties

The exact penalties imposed for DUI  vary. Many factors cause these differences. They include such things as

dui in alaska

Please, no! Not her!

  • Driver’s age.
  • Estimated BAC.
  • Type of license.
  • The impairing substance(s).
  • Any prior DUIs.
  • Consequences of the DUI, if any (property damage, injuries, etc.)
  • Any minors in the vehicle.
  • Skill of driver’s attorney.
  • Characteristics of driver (demeanor in court, race, socio-economic status, etc.)
  • Beliefs and personality of judge hearing the case. That’s just the luck of the draw.

First DUI Conviction

An ignition interlock device (IID) prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has a BAC of 0.025 or higher. An IID is required before restoration of license suspensions. The offender must pay all costs for installation, maintenance, and monitoring. Learn more about ignition interlock devices.

  • Two days to six months imprisonment.
  • $500 to $1,000 in fines.
  • One year license suspension.
  •  IID for six months. It’s one year for drivers under 21.

Second Conviction within Ten Years

  • 120 days to two years imprisonment.
  • $1,000 to $4,000 in fines.
  • One year license suspension.
  • dui in connecticutIID for one year. It’s two years for drivers under 21.

Third Conviction within Ten Years

  •  One to three year imprisonment.
  • $2,000 to $8,000 in fines.
  • Permanent license revocation.

III. The Costs

Legal Defense

Getting hit with a DUI charge is very expensive. And this is true even if you’re innocent. Of course, it’s even more expensive if a judge or jury convicts you.

dui in connecticutThe cost of a legal DUI defense is very hard to estimate. That’s because the complexity of cases varies widely. And more complex cases take more of a lawyer’s time. That means more money.

It’s wise to select an experienced lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. The knowledge and experience of such a lawyer is invaluable. In fact, such a lawyer may take less time.

Clearly, simply asking lawyers how much they charge per hour isn’t helpful. It’s like asking a car dealer how much it costs to buy a car.

Other Costs

There are a number of other costs. They may include fines, court costs, property damage, medical expenses, possible loss of employment, increased insurance rates, and other expenses. The total can be high. It can easily be more than lawyer fees and expenses. Therefore, the total cost of a DUI can easily be tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition, there are non-money costs as well. They may include pain and suffering, feelings of guilt, embarrassment, driving license suspension, loss of friendships, and many others.

Knowing the high costs DUIs is helpful. It’s a great motivation. That can help us try to avoid them.

IV.  Sobriety Tests

Chemical Tests

dui in connecticutAll states require drivers to submit to alcohol breath tests (estimators). That, in spite of their unreliability. All drivers have a Constitutional right to decline any breath, urine, or blood test. However, Connecticut penalizes those who use their right to decline with license suspension.

The arresting officer must inform drivers that

  • They have a Constitutional right to decline the test.
  • Can contact a lawyer about submitting to the test.
  • Their license will be suspended if they decline submitting to the test.
  • The decision can be used against them in court.

Field Sobriety Tests

dui in connecticutFortunately, no state requires drivers to take a field sobriety test. That’s good, because field sobriety tests simply lack validity. For that reason, about one-third of completely sober people (0.00% BAC) fail them. And that’s under ideal conditions. Naturally, taking one on an uneven highway shoulder after being pulled over and very nervous is far from ideal.

Understandably, lawyers strongly urge drivers never to submit to any field sobriety test. On the other hand, police want suspects to take them. They often falsely insist the law requires it. It doesn’t. Or they say that passing it proves you’re innocent. It doesn’t.

An officer who pulls over a driver for suspected drinking and driving is conducting a criminal investigation. The officer may legally lie to you. Remember that if you are a suspect in a crime, the police officer is your adversary.

Discover much more about field sobriety tests. You won’t like what you learn. But knowledge is power. Also, learn What to Do If You Are Pulled Over.

V. Avoid Arrest

dui in connecticutObviously, a sure way to avoid a DUI is by abstaining from alcohol. Another choice is to use a Designated Driver or use public transportation.

Most drivers enjoy drinking alcohol, at least on occasion. They may lack a Designated Driver or access to public transportation. And they may be unable to afford Uber or Lynks.

So how can drivers drink before driving, yet avoid arrest? The answer is simple and legal, except for drivers under 21. It’s simple. Just maintain a low BAC.

These guidelines can help keep a low BAC.

dui in connecticut

Standard Drinks

  • Remember that standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits have equivalent amounts of pure alcohol.
  • Have no more than one standard drink each hour. Preferably less.
  • Avoid non-standard drinks. This makes it easier to keep track of alcohol intake.
  • Eat and snack while drinking. This is very important!
  • Have a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
  • Accept an alcoholic drink only when it fits your consumption schedule.
  • Never engage in any drinking game.
Arrested for DUI in Connecticut?

This website strongly opposes impaired driving. But it also supports the U.S. Constitution and the rights it grants both the innocent and the guilty.

If you’re charged with a DUI in Connecticut, contact a lawyer immediately. The lawyer should specialize in drinking and driving cases. It’s even better if the lawyer’s practice is restricted to defending against DUI charges.

The Connecticut Bar (lawyer) Association offers a free email lawyer referral service. In addition, Martindale offers a free online searchable database to identify lawyers by specialty and geographic location. Also, it provides free client and peer reviews.

Don’t rely on this or any other site for legal information.

Resources

Brezina, C. I’ve Gotten a DWI/DUI, Now What? NY: Rosen, 2016.

CDC. Teen Drinking and Driving. Atlanta: 2012. (website)

___. Impaired Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Gillespie, L. Police Encounters. Know Your Rights. Gillespie, 2014.

Hudson, T. The Drinker’s Guide to Driving: The Secrets of DUI, From One of America’s Top DUI Lawyers. Cork: BookBaby, 2013.

Keech, C. & Fairchild, C. Dude, What are My Rights? Kansas City, MO: Keechild, 2014.

Lauterjung, L. DUI law for Drivers. How to Avoid DUI Arrests and How to Handle a DUI Stop. Lauterjung, 2012.

Nevels, T. Avoid DWI and Marijuana Charges. Cork: BookBaby, 2015.

NHTSA. Drunk Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Sagsletter, R. Rights During a Police Stop / DUI in the United States. What Officers Can and Cannot Do. Denver, CO: Outskirts, 2012.