Connecticut has some of the harshest of DUI laws in the nation. In fact, according to a 2015 study, the Constitution State is the third strictest with regards to drunk driving offenses, behind only Alaska and Arizona. Penalties for a DUI conviction in CT can include heavy fines, jail time, loss of your driving privileges, probation, and other consequences.
A first-time conviction in Connecticut is a misdemeanor. A first-time DUI conviction (also commonly referred to as OUI or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs) also carries fines of up to $1000, a 45-day driver’s license suspension followed by one year with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and up to six months in jail, 48 hours of which may not be suspended or reduced, and 100 hours of community service.
Second and Subsequent DUI Offenses in Connecticut
A second-time DUI/OUI conviction within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense is a felony, with fines of up to $4,000, a 45-day driver’s license suspension followed by three years with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and up to two years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 120 days in prison, 100 hours of community service and treatment if ordered by the Court.
For a third or subsequent DUI/OUI conviction, things get far worse. Fines can be as high as $8000, your driver’s license can be permanently revoked, and up to three years in prison, one year of which may not be suspended or revoked. The Court may suspend two years of the three-year sentence, with the possibility of reinstatement if the defendant violates probation. As for the permanent driver’s license revocation, the driver can petition the Connecticut DMV to have his/her driver’s license reinstated after two years. There is no guarantee this petition will be granted, however, and the driver must prove that they are no longer a danger to the public safety or welfare.
Aggravated Circumstances and Enhanced DUI Penalties
The penalties for first, second, third and subsequent DUI/OUI convictions can be enhanced if there are aggravated circumstances that accompany the arrest. Examples may include:
- A DUI accident involving serious bodily injury or death;
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than double the legal limit;
- Child endangerment;
- Driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
- Leaving the scene of an accident;
- Fleeing a police officer;
- Refusal to submit to the required chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test after the DUI arrest.
Beyond the criminal and administrative penalties, a second, third, or subsequent DUI conviction can incur other negative consequences for your life and future. For example, having a criminal conviction on your record can make it more difficult to obtain housing, employment, and college scholarships. If you are a commercial driver, a DUI conviction can jeopardize your livelihood, even if you are arrested for drunk driving while you were off duty. And if your job requires a professional license, you may lose your license once your licensing board becomes aware of your conviction.
A felony conviction in Connecticut is very difficult to get removed. The only way is to apply for an expungement pardon with the CT Board of Pardons and Parole. You must wait five years from the date of your felony conviction to apply.
Speak with a Skilled Connecticut DUI Defense Lawyer
Being arrested for a second, third, or subsequent DUI in CT is serious business. Prosecutors are not nearly as forgiving the second or third time around, and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner who thoroughly understands the inner workings of the Connecticut criminal justice system and the most effective DUI defense strategies for your situation. At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, we have several years of experience successfully defending clients charged for DUI in Connecticut. We work tirelessly on your behalf, exploring every potential legal avenue toward the goal of mitigating the circumstances as much as possible.
Call our office today at (860) 900-0900 to schedule a confidential and discreet consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact form or stop by our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.