An Explanation of Connecticut DUI Laws

Part of the job of any law firm is to inform the public they serve.  We at the Upton Firm take this commitment seriously.  It is with that in mind, that we present the following explanation of the DUI laws of Connecticut.

Connecticut DUI Basics

Connecticut’s DUI law consists of two major laws; the first prohibits a person from driving while “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs or with an “elevated” BAC (blood alcohol content).  The second is Connecticut’s implied consent statute meaning that motorists implicitly consent to be tested for drugs or alcohol when they drive.  Drivers 21 and over have an elevated BAC if it is found to be .08% or more.  Lower BAC standards apply to drivers under 21 years of age and those with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs).


Criminal penalties for DUI include fines, prison terms, and license suspensions (see Table 1, below). By law, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must impose 45-day license suspensions upon drivers age 21 or older convicted of DUI. Once driving privileges are reinstated, these offenders can drive only vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices for specified periods of time. The ignition interlock device is basically a portable breath test machine wired to the car’s ignition.  The point of the device is to prevent the car from starting in the event that alcohol is detected in the system of the driver. 

First-time offenders can drive only ignition interlock-equipped vehicles for one year after their license suspension ends; second-time offenders can drive only these vehicles for three years following a suspension. The law additionally requires second-time offenders, during the first year of the three-year interlock period, to drive these vehicles only to (1) work, (2) school, (3) a drug or alcohol treatment program, or (4) an interlock service center.

Pretrial Alternative

Connecticut law also provides for a Pretrial Alcohol Education Program which allows eligible DUI offenders to successfully complete an alcohol intervention or substance abuse treatment program, as appropriate, and have the DUI charges dismissed.

License Suspensions

DMV must revoke the license of a driver convicted of DUI for a third time. By law, until January 1, 2013, a third-time offender may seek restoration of his or her license after six years. Once restored, he or she must drive only interlock-equipped vehicles for 10 years. Starting January 1, 2013, however, the law allows the (1) offender to seek restoration of his or her license after two years and (2) commissioner to restore it on the condition that the driver operate only interlock-equipped vehicles for as long as he or she drives. (After 15 years of driving these vehicles, the offender may ask that this condition be lifted, and the commissioner may do so after a hearing and for good cause.)

Contact Apex Law Firm

If you are charged with DUI and Find yourself in need of the services of attorneys experienced in DUI defense litigation in Hartford or New Haven County, contact The APEX Law Firm, LLC at (860) 900-0900 in New Britain or 203-877-4141 in Milford.

For your convenience, we have included the following chart about DUI penalties.

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