An Introduction to OUI Law in Connecticut

Operating under the influence, or “OUI” (also referred to as DUI), is a serious offense in the State of Connecticut. Connecticut has its own policies when it comes to defining, enforcing, and punishing OUI violators. In this post, we’d like to introduce our readers to the basics of OUI law in Connecticut. Connecticut OUI law is fairly complex, and so mastering it in its entirety would require a good amount of effort. Our goal here is just to provide a very basic overview of how Connecticut OUI law operates. In the future, we may come back and dive into this subject more deeply.

Introduction to the Basic Concept of OUI in Connecticut

As with many other states, OUI is defined in Connecticut according to a person’s “blood alcohol content,” or BAC. The BAC level which can lead to an OUI depends on the person’s age and type of driver’s license. For instance, for drivers under the age of 21, an OUI begins at a BAC level of 0.02. For a person over the age of 21, this figure jumps to 0.08, but if a person over the age of 21 holds a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”), then a BAC level of 0.04 is the limit.

Consequences for First, Second and Third Offenses

The possible punishment for OUI offenses in Connecticut varies depending on the number of prior offenses of a person. If a person has no prior offenses, then the possible punishment for a first offender is the following: 48 hours to 6 months of jail time, $500 to $1,000 in fines, 45 day license suspension, 100 hours of community service, and 1 year of ignition interlock device (IID). For a second offense, the possible punishment is 120 days to 2 years in jail, $1,000 to $4,000 in fines, 45 day license suspension, 100 hours of community service, substance abuse assessment, and 3 years of IID. For a third offense, offenders can face 1 to 3 years in jail, $2,000 to $8,000 in fines, and permanent license suspension. An IID is technically unnecessary for a third offense, because the license is always permanently suspended and so the offender’s driving privilege is eliminated altogether. A third offense is also classified as a felony in Connecticut law, and so offenders will have that on their record.

This is merely a framework within which Connecticut judges may operate when they assess punishment for offenders. Judges have wide leeway when they impose fines and sentences, and so the outcome of every case is really dependent on its particular facts and circumstances. In addition to these penalties mentioned above, judges can also impose community service and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Implied Consent and Consequences for Test Failure or Refusal

When a person drives in the State of Connecticut, he or she is considered to have given “implied consent” to submit to a BAC test when an officer has reasonable cause to make this request. A driver in Connecticut cannot refuse a BAC test without facing consequences. Refusal of a lawfully requested test will result in an automatic license suspension of 45 days. If a driver submits to a test but fails, then this will automatically result in the 45 day license suspension; this is true regardless of whether that person is ultimately convicted of an OUI. What’s more, test failure or refusal will also lead to the installation of an IID for a certain period of time depending on the offender’s history.

Contact Apex Law Firm for Additional Information

Again, this is merely an overview of OUI law in the State of Connecticut. Make no mistake, the charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime. If you’re convicted of an OUI, you can eventually lose your driving privilege entirely. If you’d like to learn more, or if you have questions or have been charged with OUI, contact Apex Law Firm today.