Summary of Connecticut Impaired Driving Statutes

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COMMON ACRONYMS USED TO DESCRIBE DRUNK DRIVING:

OUI, DUI, DWI, Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated

PROHIBITED VEHICULAR ACTIVITY:

"Operation," defined as: One need not drive a vehicle to operate it. "Operation occurs when a person in the vehicle intentionally does any act or makes use of any mechanical or electrical agency which alone or in sequence will set in motion the motive power of the vehicle."

COVERED VEHICLES OR DEVICES:

"Motor Vehicle," defined as: any vehicle propelled or drawn by any nonmuscular power, except aircraft, motor boats, road rollers, baggage trucks used about railroad stations or other mass transit facilities, electric battery-operated wheel chairs when operated by physically handicapped persons at speeds not exceeding fifteen miles per hour, golf carts operated on highways solely for the purpose of crossing from one part of the golf course to another, golf cart type vehicles operated on roads or highways on the grounds of state institutions by state employees, agricultural tractors, farm implements, such vehicles as run only on rails or tracks, self-propelled snow plows, snow blowers and lawn mowers, when used for the purposes for which they were designed and operated at speeds not exceeding four miles per hour, whether or not the operator rides on or walks behind such equipment, bicycles with helper motors as defined in section 14-286, special mobile equipment as defined in subsection (i) of section 14-165 and any other vehicle not suitable for operation on a highway.

COVERED LOCATIONS:

Everywhere. As of October 1, 2006, OUI no longer requires that the offense take place on a public highway or other designated area.

IMPAIRED DRIVING OFFENSES:

Operating while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, or while such person has an elevated blood alcohol content.

For the purposes of this section, "elevated blood alcohol content" means a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is .08 or more of alcohol, by weight.

DEGREE OF IMPAIRMENT REQUIRED:

While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both or while such person has an elevated blood alcohol content; impaired to an appreciable degree such that a person’s mental, physical, or nervous processes are affected to the degree that they cannot operate in a manner consistent with a sober, prudent driver of normal faculties.

PENALTIES FOR IMPAIRED DRIVING OFFENSES:

For a first conviction: Prison sentence of not more than 6 months, 48 hours of which is a mandatory minimum, where one can choose to perform 100 hours community service in lieu of the 48 hour mandatory minimum; fine of $500 to $1,000; and a license suspension for 45 days followed by 1 year ignition interlock device requirement.

For second conviction within 10 years: Prison sentence of up to 2 years, 120 days of which is a mandatory minimum; fine of $1,000 to $4,000; 100 hours of community service; and a license suspension for 45 days followed by 3 year ignition interlock device requirement.

For a third and subsequent within 10 years: Prison sentence of up to 3 years, 1 year of which is a mandatory minimum; fine of $2,000 to $8,000; 100 hours of community service; and a license suspension for 45 days followed by 3 year ignition interlock device requirement.

STATUTORY DRUNK DRIVING PRESUMPTIONS:

Testing that complies with the regulatory requirements is deemed to be competent evidence. It does not, however, proscribe the admission of evidence that fails to satisfy those requirements. Blood alcohol results admitted establish a rebuttable presumption of intoxication.

"Elevated blood alcohol content" means a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is .08 or more of alcohol, by weight.

It is a rebuttable presumption that the results of a chemical analysis establish the BAC, except that if the results of the additional test show that the BAC is .12 or less of alcohol, and is higher than the results of the first test, evidence shall be presented that demonstrates that the test results and the analysis accurately indicate the blood alcohol content at the time of the alleged offense.

IMPLIED CONSENT LAWS:

Tests permitted: Blood, breath, or urine test, at the discretion of the officer; and, if a minor, parents or guardian shall also be deemed to have given their consent.

Type of advisement required: Of constitutional rights, of opportunity to call attorney, of suspension of license, of penalties for refusal.

Admissibility of refusal: Admissible.

Administrative Per Se Law:

  • First Offense:
    • If submitted to test and have elevated BAC – 45 day suspension, followed by 6 month ignition interlock requirement;
    • If refusal – 45 day suspension, followed by 1 year ignition interlock requirement
  • Second Offense:
    • If submitted to test and have elevated BAC – 45 day suspension, followed by 1 year ignition interlock requirement;
    • If refusal – 45 day suspension, followed by 2 year ignition interlock requirement
  • Third and Subsequent Offenses:
    • If submitted to test and have elevated BAC – 45 day suspension, followed by 2 year ignition interlock requirement;
    • If refusal – 45 day suspension, followed by 3 year ignition interlock requirement

CHEMICAL TEST LAWS:

General provisions: Evidence of the amount of alcohol or drug in the defendant's blood or urine at the time of the alleged offense, as shown by a chemical analysis of the defendant's breath, blood or urine shall be admissible as long as:

Defendant was afforded a reasonable opportunity to telephone an attorney prior to the performance of the test and consented to the taking of the test upon which such analysis is made a true copy of the report of the test result was mailed to or personally delivered to the defendant within twenty-four hours or by the end of the next regular business day, after such result was known, whichever is later; the test was performed by or at the direction of a police officer according to methods and with equipment approved by the Department of Public Safety the device used for such test was checked for accuracy in accordance with the regulations an additional chemical test of the same type was performed at least thirty minutes after the initial test was performed or, if requested by the police officer for reasonable cause, an additional chemical test of a different type was performed to detect the presence of a drug or drugs other than or in addition to alcohol, provided the results of the initial test shall not be inadmissible under this subsection if reasonable efforts were made to have such additional test performed in accordance with the conditions set forth in this subsection and such additional test was not performed or was not performed within a reasonable time, or the results of such additional test are not admissible for failure to meet a condition set forth in this subsection evidence is presented that the test was commenced within two hours of operation6

BLOOD-DRAWING STATUTE:

A blood or breath sample shall be obtained from any surviving operator whose motor vehicle is involved in an accident resulting in the serious physical injury, or death of another person, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that such operator operated such motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both. The test shall be performed by or at the direction of a police officer according to methods and with equipment approved by the Department of Public Safety and shall be performed by a person certified by said department. The equipment used for such test shall be checked for accuracy by a person certified by the Department of Public Safety immediately before and after such test is performed. If a blood test is performed, it shall be on a blood sample taken by a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this state, a qualified laboratory technician, an emergency medical technician II, a registered nurse, a physician assistant or a phlebotomist. The blood samples obtained from an operator pursuant to this subsection shall be examined for the presence and concentration of alcohol and any drug by the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Public Safety.7

INDEPENDENT TEST STATUTE:

None.

PLEA BARGAINING STATUTE:

Reduction, nolle or dismissal prohibited. The charge may not be reduced, nolled or dismissed unless the prosecuting authority states in open court such prosecutor's reasons for the reduction, nolle or dismissal (prosecutors are loathe to do this as it is used against them down the line). If they do say anything, they say in the interests of justice rather than give a reason.

PRETRIAL ALCOHOL EDUCATION PROGRAM:

Enables first time offenders to avoid a conviction by applying for, being granted, and then successfully completing a court ordered diversionary program of 10 classes, 15 classes, or an inpatient/outpatient substance abuse treatment program (depending on evaluation). Successful completion entitles defendant to dismissal. CDL holders are not currently eligible, even if arrested while driving personal vehicle. Can be used once every 10 years.


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