In an effort to crack down on drunk driving, many states have recently enacted statutes that mete out severe penalties and consequences for those convicted of DUI or a DUI-related offense. Even first-time offenders can easily find themselves facing serious criminal and administrative penalties. For example, the simple act of refusing to submit to a breath test can be punished. In these circumstances, an experienced Connecticut DUI defense attorney is needed to assure you receive the best possible outcome.
Penalties for DUI in Connecticut
Connecticut’s DUI penalties (like those in other states) are meant to deter individuals from driving under the influence. To accomplish this goal, a system of mandatory jail sentences and minimum fines, coupled with mandatory driver’s license suspension periods, is utilized.
- First-time offenders may receive up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A first-time offender must serve either two days in jail or complete 100 hours of community service. The minimum fine for a first-time DUI is $500. In addition, a driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 45 days and the individual will have to drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for at least one year.
- Second-time offenders may receive up to two years in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. The minimum jail sanction is 120 days and the minimum fine is $1,000. In addition, the driver’s license will be suspended for 45 days followed by a 3-year period in which the driver may only operate a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device.
- Third-time or subsequent offenders face up to three years in jail and up to $8,000 in fines. A minimum jail sentence of one year must be served and the minimum fine is $2,000. In addition, a third-time or subsequent DUI offender’s license is subject to a lifetime revocation.
Penalties for Breathalyzer Refusals in Connecticut
Drivers who refuse a law enforcement officer’s request that they submit to a breath test can also face serious administrative penalties depending on their age and the number of previous refusals.
- Drivers either 16 or 17 years old can face a minimum suspension of 18 months, up to a maximum of six years if the driver has previously refused a breath test two or more times.
- Drivers 18 to 20 years old face a minimum suspension of one year after a first breath test refusal, up to a maximum of six years.
- Drivers over 21 years old face a minimum suspension of six months after a first breath test refusal.
Mitigating the Consequences
Connecticut is one of a few states that gives a person whose been arrested for DUI for the very first time in Connecticut or in any other state the opportunity to avoid a DUI conviction by applying for a pretrial diversionary program called the Alcohol Education Program. If one is accepted into the Program by the Judge and successfully completes its requirements, which includes attending 10-15 special alcohol counseling classes, then after one year the charges will be dismissed. This program is available once every 10 years so long as there are no intervening DUI convictions.
Contact Our Attorneys Today
The penalties for drivers in Connecticut charged with DUI are quite serious and can impact your family’s budget as well as your livelihood. If you have been charged with DUI or refusing a breath test, contact a skilled Hartford criminal defense attorney at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC for help. We have assisted Connecticut drivers charged with DUI-related offenses avoid harsh penalties and consequences. Contact us today for an initial consultation and learn what we can do for your situation.