Administrative Penalties Following An OUI Conviction
Drunk driving laws in Connecticut place the state among those with the strictest laws and harshest penalties. The consequences of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol begin almost immediately. If police determine you are under the influence of alcohol, even if your blood alcohol content is lower than .08, officers will arrest you and take you to a lock-up facility. From there, your future depends on whether a court convicts you of the offense.
In addition to legal consequences for a conviction, such as jail time, fines and community service, you will face mandatory administrative penalties that involve the suspension of your driving privileges. These penalties are separate from your criminal charges, and for some, the outcome of your criminal case may have no bearing.
A BAC of .08 or higher automatically results in the suspension of your license. You will receive a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles notifying you of the date your 45-day suspension begins, typically 30 days after your arrest. The notice also allows you seven days to appeal the decision by requesting a hearing.
In addition to measuring a .08 BAC, if you refuse to submit to a chemical BAC test when police request it, the DMA will suspend your license for 45 days even if the court does not convict you of the OUI charges. This is because drivers in Connecticut and most other states are assumed to give their consent to such testing in exchange for the privilege of driving.
Ignition interlock device
A recent change to Connecticut’s OUI law is the addition of ignition interlock systems for all those convicted of OUI. This device prevents your car from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath when you blow into its mouthpiece. Once your license suspension ends, you will have to arrange for the installation of an IID on your vehicle before the DMV will restore your license. The duration of you IID requirement will be as follows:
- First offense: Six months
- Second offense: One year
- Third offense: Two years
- Refusal to submit to BAC test: Number of years equal to the number of your offense
These are the minimum requirements, and a court may sentence you to longer terms. The cost of installation, maintenance and regular calibration will be your responsibility. If you are under age 21 at the time of your arrest or a court convicts you of manslaughter with a motor vehicle, your IID term will be longer.
The suspension of your license and other administrative penalties can be challenged by a skilled attorney, but there are limited time frames within which to present these challenges. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest will provide the best opportunity for a solid defense strategy.
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