Will Connecticut Lower the BAC Limit for DUI Arrests?

 Posted on February 09, 2024 in DUI

Blog ImageIn recent years, there has been an increased focus on reducing drunk driving accidents and fatalities across the United States. One proposed solution that several states, including Connecticut, are considering is lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for DUI arrests from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. For those who have been arrested for DUI, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can provide legal representation and build an effective defense strategy.

Does a Lower BAC Limit Improve Safety on the Roads?

In 2023, Connecticut lawmakers considered a bill that would lower the BAC limit for drivers in the state. While this bill was approved by the legislature’s Transportation Committee, it did not receive a vote during the most recent legislative session. However, it continues to receive support from Governor Ned Lamont, Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto, and other public officials, so it may be revived and could potentially become law.

Connecticut and several other states are considering changes to BAC limits due to promising statistics from Utah, which lowered its BAC limit to .05 percent in 2018. Since the implementation of that law, fatal car accidents have decreased by nearly 20 percent in the state. During the same period, nationwide fatal accidents only decreased by 5.6 percent. A study has also noted other promising statistics in Utah, including decreases in the total number of car accidents and injuries, as well as fewer arrests for drivers who test positive for alcohol impairment. At the same time, alcohol sales and tax revenues have increased.

Supporters of the new Connecticut law believe that it will deter people from getting behind the wheel after consuming even small amounts of alcohol. Currently, Connecticut ranks third in the United States for the percentage of fatal car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers.

Penalties for DUI Offenses in Connecticut

Under Connecticut law, drivers may be charged with DUI if they operate a vehicle while having an elevated blood alcohol content (currently defined as a BAC of .08 percent) or are under the influence of intoxicating drugs, liquor, or both. The penalties of a DUI conviction include:

  • Fines: A first-time DUI carries fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. A second DUI within 10 years carries fines of $1,000 to $4,000. A third or subsequent DUI carries fines of $2,000 to $8,000.

  • License suspension: For a first-time or second-time DUI, a person’s driver’s license will be suspended for 45 days. A third or subsequent DUI conviction will result in the permanent revocation of a person's license.

  • Ignition interlock device: To restore a license that has been suspended or revoked, a person will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicles they drive. Those who were convicted of DUI for the first time will be required to use an IID for one year. A person convicted of a second DUI will be required to use an IID for three years. Following a third or subsequent DUI, a person may be required to use an IID for the rest of their life, although they may apply for the removal of this requirement after 15 years.

  • Jail time: A person convicted of a first-time DUI may be sentenced to up to six months in jail, and they will be required to serve at least 48 consecutive hours, although a sentence may be suspended if they serve a certain amount of probation and complete 100 hours of community service. For a second DUI, a person may be sentenced to up to two years, and they must serve at least 120 days. They may also be required to serve probation, complete 100 hours of community service, receive a drug or alcohol abuse assessment, and participate in a treatment program. A third DUI conviction may lead to a sentence of one to three years, as well as probation, community service, and substance abuse treatment.

Contact Our Connecticut DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a DUI offense, it is crucial to understand your legal rights and your options for defending against these charges. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, our experienced Hartford DUI defense attorney can provide you with effective representation, working to protect your rights and interests during your criminal case. We will work tirelessly to build a strong defense strategy on your behalf. Contact us today at 860-290-8690 for a free consultation.

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