The Connecticut DUI Guide
Collins & Martin P.C.
Connecticut DUI Defense
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Wethersfield, CT 06109
State of Connecticut
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I just got arrested for a State of Connecticut DUI charge. What happens now?
ISSUE ONE: The Connecticut Implied Consent / Administrative Per Se Proceeding: Your Connecticut license (or your right to drive in Connecticut if you're not a Connecticut licensed driver) was most likely suspended for anywhere from 90 days to three years for failing or refusing a chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test. The suspension generally begins on the 31st day following your arrest.
Following your arrest, a Notice of Suspension will be mailed to your address of record allowing you only seven days to request a hearing to challenge planned suspension. Read you paperwork carefully. Do not miss your deadline or you will forfeit your right to challenge your suspension.
The length of your implied consent suspension depends on whether you failed or refused the chemical test; your BAC if a sample was given; and your DUI history if any. See the table below which applies to drivers 21 years or older.
ISSUE TWO: The Connecticut DUI Criminal Case: Separate from the implied consent suspension is the criminal charge for driving under the influence or DUI. In Connecticut, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle:
(1) while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs; or
(2) if, as determined by a chemical test taken within two hours of the time of vehicle operation, you had a breath / blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher (sometimes referred to as a "per se DUI").
A DUI offense may be prosecuted with or without any direct evidence of a person’s BAC. The determining factor is whether a person’s ability to drive has been impaired. Each year there are about 13,000 DUI arrests in Connecticut.
Important: The implied consent suspension proceeding and the criminal DUI case are completely separate from one another.
Will my Connecticut driver license be revoked / suspended?
RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE: Your Connecticut driver license (or your right to drive in Connecticut if you do not have a valid Connecticut license) may be suspended in the implied consent proceeding for failing or for refusing a chemical test for alcohol and / or drugs. Again, you may challenge this suspension by requesting a hearing within 7 days of your arrest. Requesting the appeal will not necessarily overturn the suspension; rather, it merely provides with a chance to overturn the suspension. If your appeal is not successful (or you do not appeal at all), your suspension will typically begin 35 days after your arrest.
RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE: If you are convicted of the DUI charge, you will also lose your license (or your right to drive in Connecticut if you don't have a valid Connecticut license) for a year or more. This suspension is separate and distinct from the implied suspension. Talk to your Connecticut DUI attorney for possible suspension lengths for your situation.
Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended for a variety of reasons unrelated to a CT DUI arrest e.g. excessive tickets, hit and run etc.
I have a Connecticut commercial drivers license (CDL). How long will my CDL be suspended for a DUI?
Any Connecticut CDL holder who receives a DUI faces a likely one year suspension. Refer to the table below.
What happens if I get caught driving while my license is suspended / revoked?
Operation of a vehicle while your license is suspended should be avoided as it is a new crime. If you drive while your license is suspended for a DUI conviction, you will face a fine ranging from $500 - $1000 and jail time of 30 days or more. The amount of jail time imposed varies depending on if you have prior DUI convictions. See
I really need to drive. Will I be able to get a restricted / occupational / conditional / probationary permit?
You may be eligible for a Special Operator’s Permit to Drive to Work. The permit allows holders to drive to and from work. Speak with your Connecticut DUI lawyer about whether you qualify and how to apply. Special Operator’s Permits are subject to strict standards for approval and use. Misuse of a permit or receipt of a traffic citation, leading to license suspension while operating under a permit, may result in substantially enhanced penalties.
The State of Connecticut does not issue Special Operator's Permits to operate commercial motor vehicles.
What is the difference between a DUI, DWI, OUI, OWI, OVI, DUII, DWUI etc.?
These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly
known as "drunk driving." Different states have different names for the
crime. For example, in New York and New Jersey the charge is known as DWI
(driving while intoxicated / impaired). Massachusetts and Maine use the
OUI (operating under the influence). Like most states, Connecticut law uses the
Is a DUI in Connecticut a misdemeanor or felony charge?
In Connecticut, a DUI is usually a misdemeanor crime. However, if you have two prior DUI convictions in the past 10 years the third or greater DUI conviction is a felony offense.
What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Connecticut DUI charge?
Upon conviction of an Connecticut DUI offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including alcohol treatment / education. A range of minimum penalties is set forth below:
Will my defense lawyer be able to plea bargain / negotiate my Connecticut DUI charge down to another (lesser) offense?
Possibly. Plea bargaining and charge reduction are two areas that any experienced Connecticut DUI lawyer would discuss with the prosecutor on the client's behalf. As noted in the table above, the Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program is sometimes an option for first time offenders or those who have no prior DUI's in the past 10 years.
Upon application to the program the court file is sealed. [The Court Support Services Division determines eligibility for the program.] Applicants then receive an evaluation the Department of Mental Health and Addition Services. Applicants must then complete either a treatment program or an intervention program. If the applicant successfully completes the program, the charge is dismissed.
Will an Connecticut DUI go on "my driving record?"Yes. A DUI conviction will go on your Connecticut driving record. The conviction may remain active on your record for up to ten years.
In Connecticut, if you are convicted of a DUI, you cannot have the record expunged. If the charges are dismissed or you are acquitted, you may be able to have your records expunged.
Individuals facing a first time DUI offense may qualify and elect to enter the Pretrial Alcohol Education System / Program. See C.G.S. Sec. 54-56g. This is a diversion-type program that may allow the Court to eventually dismiss the DUI charge. If you successfully complete the program, you can have the DUI records expunged. Contact your Connecticut DUI lawyer to see if you may be eligible for the Pretrial Alcohol Education System and if the program is right for you.
Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI in Connecticut?
The amount of incarceration (jail or prison) received will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:
• your prior driving record especially your DUI history (including any DUI's outside of Connecticut);
• your level of intoxication / BAC;
• whether there was a collision involved;
• whether there was bodily injury to another person in any collision;
• which Connecticut county or court your case is in;
• what judge you are sentenced by;
• whether there was a passenger especially a child in your car;
• whether the judge feels you have accepted responsibility for your actions.
I am licensed to drive in a state other than Connecticut and I was charged with a DUI in Connecticut. Will my driver license be suspended?
Connecticut only has the authority to suspend your right to drive in the State of Connecticut. However, Connecticut and 44 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact." Connecticut will report a DUI conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact). Your home state will then generally take action to suspend your license.
This also works in reverse. If you are a Connecticut licensed driver and you are convicted of a DUI / DWI / OVI / OUI / OWI charge in another state, Connecticut will suspend your license if it learns of the conviction.
Will I have to install an ignition interlock device on my car?
A ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition. In order to start the motor vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the device which then measures alcohol concentration. If the alcohol concentration exceeds the startup set point on the interlock device, the motor vehicle will not start.
Starting in 2012, you will likely have to install an IID for a first or greater DUI conviction. Contact your Connecticut lawyer for more information. Note: If you don't install an ignition interlock following your DUI conviction, your license will be effectively suspended for a much longer period.
Where do I find a company to install the ignition interlock device?
Contact one of the IID vendors below for more information:
The Connecticut DMV can also provide you with more information. Contact their office at 1.860.263.5720.
I was convicted of a second DUI and need to complete a substance abuse treatment program. Where do I find a program?
Contact one of the programs listed below:
What will a Connecticut DUI do to my insurability?
If your insurance company finds out about your DUI one of two things are likely to happen. Either your Connecticut insurer will raise your rates or you may be cancelled or non-renewed. Your insurance company will absolutely learn of your DUI if you have to file an SR-22.
What is an SR-22 / Certificate of Financial Responsibility Insurance?
An SR-22 is a form from an Connecticut licensed insurance company certifying that you have purchased liability insurance that meets the minimum required coverage limits. The SR-22 provides proof to the Connecticut DMV that you are insured. If you cancel your insurance or the insurance company cancels your policy before your suspension period is over, the company must notify the DMV that the certificate is canceled.
What if someone was killed or seriously injured in my DUI offense?If someone was killed or seriously injured in your DUI crash, you may face one or more of the following charges.
Pursuant to CRS § 53a-56b, a person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any drug or both, the person causes the death of another person as a consequence of the effect of such alcohol or drug. This offense is a Class C felony.
Under CGS 53a-60d, a person is guilty of assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any drug or both, the person causes serious physical injury to another person as a consequence of the effect of such alcohol or drug. This offense is a Class D felony.
What other type of charges do might I face with a DUI?
There are a number of other criminal charges that can result when you're arrested for a CT DUI. As mentioned above, if someone is killed or seriously injured you can face a manslaughter in the second degree or assault in the second degree.
Another common charge is reckless endangerment in the second degree. This offense is charged when the State believes that you recklessly engaged in conduct which created a risk of physical injury to another person. This offense is a Class B misdemeanor. See CGS § 53a-64.
If you had alcohol in you vehicle you may have been charged with drinking while operating a motor vehicle. This offense is a Class C misdemeanor. See CGS § 53a-213.
Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get an Connecticut DUI?
Yes. The FAA has special reporting requirements for certain Motor Vehicle Actions including Connecticut DUI convictions and certain implied consent suspensions. Learn more here.
I missed my Connecticut court appearance. What do I do now?
Failing to appear (FTA) for court is to be avoided. When you miss a court appearance, bad things follow. At a minimum, the Connecticut court typically issues a warrant for your arrest (known as a bench warrant). Talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Often, your only option is to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant. A new court date will then be scheduled.
Can I represent myself in court on my Connecticut DUI or other criminal charge(s)?
Yes. You have a constitutional right to represent yourself on any criminal charge no matter how serious including a Connecticut DUI charge. Keep in mind that Connecticut DUI defense is a complex area of the law as shown by the information in this website. If you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, you definitely should apply for court appointed counsel to represent you. You have no right to court appointed counsel at the implied consent / administrative per se license appeal.
If you would like to speak with a Connecticut lawyer about you pending DUI charge, consider contacting Anthony Collins or Nancy Martin at 860.760.3400.
Websites, including this one, provide general Connecticut DUI information but do not provide legal advice or create a lawyer / client relationship. General information cannot replace legal advice specific to your case, problem, or situation. Consult qualified Connecticut DUI lawyers for advice about any specific problem or Connecticut DUI charge that you have. Connecticut lawyers are governed by the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct. This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules. Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way. No lawyer associated with this website is specialized or certified in any way. This site is not a solicitation; rather, it is purely informational. FAQ's. Attorney Advertising.
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Collins and Martin represents provides immigration and DUI defense services to Connecticut residents including employees of: United Technologies; Stop & Shop; Hartford Financial; Yale University; Foxwood Resorts; Mohegan Sun; Walmart; General Dynamics; AT&T; Aetna; Pfizer; General Electric (GE); St Paul Travelers; Hartford Hospital; Bank of America; CIGNA; Northeast Utilities; ESPN; Athena Health Care; St. Francis Hospital; Peoples Bank; Webster Financial; United States Surgical; Masonicare; and Boehringer Ingelheim.
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