Blood Alcohol Testing
Under the Connecticut Implied Consent Law, if you operate a motor vehicle you are presumed to have given your consent for authorities to obtain your blood alcohol content (BAC). The legal BAC limit for drivers varies by age and license:
- For drivers 21 and older, below .08%
- For drivers 21 and older operating a commercial vehicle, below .04%
- For drivers under the age of 21, below .02%
The Implied Consent Law means the state expects you to consent to have your BAC tested. You have the right to refuse in-field sobriety tests; however, if you are detained due to suspicion of DUI, you will be brought to the police station and expected to submit to either a blood or breathalyzer test there. If you refuse these BAC tests your license will automatically be revoked.
If you submit to the BAC test and are found with a .08% BAC or higher, you will be charged under the presumption of operating under the influence and you will be detained by police.
Contact an experienced DUI lawyer right away if you are ever detained.
DUI DMV Hearing
Following your release, you will receive a notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of a license suspension for failing a BAC test, or refusal to comply with a test. The suspension is usually set to begin 30 days from arrest. A DMV hearing is a civil matter and separate from any court-imposed punishments.
You must request and participate in a DMV hearing within those 30 days, or 45 if a 15-day continuance is requested and granted. During a DMV hearing the examiner will look at a few key factors:
- Were you operating a motor vehicle?
- Did law enforcement have probable cause to suspect DUI?
- Were you arrested?
- Did you refuse a BAC test or test above the legal limit?
As a first-time DUI offender, if you lose your hearing, you lose your license for 45 days.
After the 45-day period you will be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your car for up to one year. An IID is a device that serves as a personal breathalyzer. In order to start your ignition, the user must blow a BAC below .08%.
DUI second offense punishments and subsequent offenses are more severe. After having your license reinstated, DUI second offenders will be required to utilize an IID for up to three years. Third time offenders will have their license permanently revoked but may request a hearing for reconsideration after two years.
DUI Criminal Charges
In addition to your DMV hearing, you will also face criminal DUI charges. An experienced DUI attorney will review your case in depth and will communicate with the prosecutor in an attempt to have your case dismissed or charges reduced.
If no satisfactory outcome can come of these discussions, then your case will head to pretrial. During pretrial the prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge will try to reach a satisfactory outcome for the case. If this happens, you may
- be placed on probation,
- be required to pay a fine, or
- complete alcohol counseling.
An experienced intoxicated/drunk driving attorney will do their best to have your case dismissed or settled by this point. If favorable outcomes cannot be agreed upon from each side, then you are headed to trial.
At trial the evidence against you will be presented and, if available, additional counter evidence from the defense. Witnesses will be brought forward and questioned by both attorneys. The process could take two days or up to two weeks.
If you are found guilty you may face a variety of penalties, in addition to license suspension and IID installation.