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Connecticut DUI Laws and Information

  DUI Laws & Info  -   POSTED: 2007/01/03 20:00

You are legally driving under the influence:


You are legally intoxicated if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or above. If you are under 21 years of age, you are legally intoxicated at a .02 BAC or higher.

Under Connecticut's Implied Consent Law any person who operates a motor vehicle is presumed to have given his or her consent to a test to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

If You are Arrested for DUI:

You will be asked to submit to a BAC test. If you refuse, your license will be suspended for 6 months (1st offense).
If the test registers a BAC of .08 or higher, you will be held on the presumption that you were operating under the influence.
You will be kept in a police lock-up until you are bailed out.
Criminal Law

Under Connecticut's criminal law, the driver arrested for DUI will receive both a summons and a court date. If the court proceedings result in a conviction, the following penalties must be imposed:

First Offense Blood Alcohol Level of .08 or higher

Fine: $500 to $1,000
Jail: 6 mo. 48 hrs. minimum mandatory or 6 mo., suspended with 100 hrs. community service if you plea bargain.
Suspension: One year
Administrative Sanctions (License suspensions for First Offense):

The license suspension periods outlined below have been revised recently and will be imposed in addition to criminal penalties. In most cases, the driver's license sanctions will be imposed much earlier. In all cases, they will be imposed in addition to criminal penalties and will appear on your driving record.

Refusal to submit to a blood, breath or urine test = suspension for 6 months
Test results of .02 or higher if you are under 21= suspension for 90 days
Test results of .08 to .16 = suspension for 90 days
Test results of .16 or higher = suspension for 120 days
However, with plea bargaining the average time for license suspensions under the administrative per se program is approximately 31 days.

Special Operating Permit:

To obtain an Application for Special Permit to Operate a Motor Vehicle To and From Work (form A-62), please call the Driver Services Division at 860-263-5720.

Resolving A DMV Suspension:

Must be done by mail only:

Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles

Driver Services Division

60 State Street

Wethersfield, CT 06161-2525

Commercial Drivers License:

Disqualification or suspension shall result from (1) conviction of:

Operating under the influence.
Refusal to submit to a test to determine blood alcohol concentration or failure of such a test (for CDL purposes, failure is a BAC of 0.04).
Two convictions for the above listed violations will result in lifetime disqualification. If any of the above listed offenses occur while driving a vehicle transporting hazardous materials, the disqualification period shall be a minimum of three (3) years.

Insurance:

Upon conviction or guilty plea, your insurance rates will probably rise to an unmanageable level. Your current company may drop your account and you may pay much more for less coverage at another carrier.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 3, 2002 -2002-R-0763

2002 CHANGES TO DRUNK DRIVING LAWS AND RELATED QUESTIONS

By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Research Analyst

2002 CHANGES TO DRUNK DRIVING LAWS

The changes to Connecticut's drunk driving laws occurred in two legislative enactments-PA 02-70 (§§ 69,72) and PA 02-1, May 9 Special Session (§§108-117). All of the changes were effective on July 1, 2002.

It is against the law to drive a motor vehicle (1) while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both or (2) with an "elevated blood alcohol content" (BAC). The former offense may be prosecuted with or without any direct evidence of a person's BAC. For the latter, under the prior law, someone over age 21 was considered to be driving with an elevated BAC if he was found to have a . 10% BAC for a first offense or a . 07% BAC if he had a previous conviction for drunk driving. Someone under age 21 is considered to be driving with an elevated BAC at . 02% or more.

The 2002 legislation:

Lowers the standard from . 10% to . 08% BAC and eliminates the . 07% standard for someone with a prior conviction, thus making the standard uniform for all offenses (PA 02-1,MSS)
Eliminates the infraction offense of operating while impaired by alcohol. This offense occurred under the prior law when someone was found to have a BAC between . 07% and . 099%- (PA 02-1, MSS)
Eliminates the requirement that a police officer issue a 30-day temporary driver's license to someone subject to an administrative license suspension for driving with an illegal BAC under the implied consent law and forward the confiscated license to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)-(PA-02-70, § 72)
Requires the DMV commissioner, upon receipt of the court's report of someone's conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, to base the applicable license suspension period on the number of convictions in the person's DMV driving history record and not on the sentence the court imposed-(PA 02-70, § 69)
Extends the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program to those under age 21 charged for the first time under the separate "zero tolerance" law that prohibits them from driving with a BAC of . 02% or more-(PA 02-1, MSS)
Allows someone arrested for driving under the influence to apply for participation in the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program once every 10 years, instead of only one time-(PA 02-1, MSS)
Makes several procedural changes to how the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program must be administered-(PA 02-1, MSS)
Eliminates the requirement that the public safety commissioner consult with the public health commissioner when adopting regulations governing the conduct of BAC tests, the operation of test devices, training and certification of test device operators, and the drawing of or obtaining blood, breath, or urine samples for determining BAC levels-(PA 02-1, MSS)
Elimination of Temporary Driver's License Following Enforcement Action Under Implied Consent law

By law, a police officer can ask a driver to submit to a chemical test of his BAC after placing him under arrest for driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, informing him of his constitutional rights and the license suspension consequences if he refuses to take the test or the test results show an illegal BAC, and following certain other procedures. If the person refuses to be tested or the test results show an illegal BAC, the police officer, on behalf of the commissioner, must immediately revoke and take possession of the person's license for a 24-hour period.

Previously, the police officer also had to issue him a temporary license valid 24 hours later and good for 30 days during which time the person could request a hearing on the suspension. The police officer then had to mail to the commissioner within three days the arrest report, a copy of the temporary license, the actual confiscated license, and, if there were any, the results of the BAC test. PA 02-70 eliminates the requirement for the police officer to issue the temporary license and forward the confiscated license to the DMV. It does not specify what must be done with the license or that it is returned to the arrested person. By law, it is an infraction for anyone to drive a motor vehicle without carrying his driver's license (CGS § 14-213).

Pretrial Alcohol Education Program Procedural Changes

Previously, when someone applied for the program, he paid a $ 50 application fee. If the court granted the application, the person was referred to the Bail Commission for assessment and confirmation of eligibility. Once eligibility was confirmed, the applicant was referred to DMHAS for evaluation and placement in an appropriate alcohol program for one year. If the person's BAC was less than . 16% he had to participate in at least 10 counseling sessions and pay a nonrefundable $ 425 program fee. If his BAC was . 16% or more, he had to participate in at least 15 counseling sessions and pay a $ 600 program fee.

In addition to allowing someone to apply for participation in the program once every 10 years, instead of only one time, PA 02-1, MSS:

Requires an applicant to pay a nonrefundable $ 100 evaluation fee in addition to the $ 50 application fee when he applies for the program;
Requires him to be referred to DMHAS for evaluation at the same time he is referred to the Bail Commission for assessment and confirmation of eligibility, rather than afterward;
Requires the Bail Commission to receive the evaluation report before it refers him to DMHAS for placement in a program and specifies that the program must be an alcohol intervention program;
Eliminates the minimum 15-session program for someone whose BAC is . 16% or more while allowing such a program to be required based on the evaluation report and court order; and
Reduces the program fees to $ 325 for a 10-session, and $ 500 for a 15-session program, apparently reflecting the new up-front $ 100 evaluation fee.
PER SE ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION PROCESS

Under Connecticut's implied consent law, anyone operating a motor vehicle in the state is deemed to have given his consent to a chemical test of his blood, breath, or urine. For this to be invoked, the person must first be placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He must be apprised of his constitutional rights and be given a "reasonable" opportunity to telephone an attorney prior to performance of the test. He must also be informed that his license or nonresident operating privilege may be suspended if he refuses to submit to the test or if he submits and the results show an elevated BAC (a BAC above the legal limits).

Any test requested by the arresting officers must be commenced within two hours of the time of operation of the vehicle. If the person refuses to take the test or its results show an elevated BAC, the police officer, acting on behalf of the DMV commissioner, must immediately revoke and take possession of the person's license, or, if he is a nonresident, suspend his operating privilege for a period of 24 hours. Under procedures now in effect following the elimination of the temporary license by PA 02-70, the person may retrieve his license from the arresting agency after the 24-hour revocation period expires. Police have been instructed to mail the license to the operator at his address of record if he has not retrieved in within three to five days. They have been instructed not to send seized licenses to the DMV. Police are not to seize out-of-state licenses, as these are the property of the issuing states, but a nonresident must be advised that his privilege to operate in Connecticut has been revoked for 24 hours.

The police officer must prepare a written report (Form A-44), and mail it, along with a copy of any test results, to the DMV within three business days. If the person refused to submit to the test, the refusal must be witnessed by a third party (neither the arresting officer nor the arrestee), who must endorse the report. The report must state the grounds for the officer's belief that the arrested person was driving while under the influence. The report must be sworn to under penalty for false statement.

When DMV receives the report, the commissioner may suspend the person's license or nonresident operating privilege not later than 30 days after the arrest date. The arrested person is automatically entitled to a DMV hearing to be held prior to the effective date of the suspension. The DMV must send the person a suspension notice informing him of the suspension date and his right to request a hearing. The hearing request must occur no more than seven days after the mailing date of the suspension notice. According to DMV instructions to police agencies, the courts have held that providing the report within 72 hours is not a mandatory condition to uphold a suspension, but delay in receiving reports affects the DMV's ability to process cases within the 30-day statutory timeframe.

If a person makes a timely request for a hearing, DMV must schedule it prior to the effective date of the suspension. The commissioner may grant one continuance for a period of not more than 15 days at the request of the arrested person or the hearing officer and upon a showing of good cause. If he grants a continuance, the commissioner must extend the arrested person's driving privileges through the period of the continuance.

The DMV hearing is limited to a determination of the following issues:

Did the police officer have probable cause to arrest the person for driving under the influence?
Was the person arrested?
Did the person refuse to take the test or did he submit to the test and did the results of the test, commenced within two hours of vehicle operation, show an elevated BAC?
Was the person operating the motor vehicle?
If, after the hearing, the commissioner makes a negative determination on any of these four questions, he must reinstate the person's license or operating privilege. If however, he determines all four questions in the affirmative, or if the person fails to appear at the hearing, the commissioner must affirm the suspension for the period required under the statute. The commissioner must render his decision at the conclusion of the hearing or send a decision notice by bulk certified mail within 30 days of the arrest date, or within 45 days if a continuance was granted. The notice must be sent to the person's address as shown in DMV's records.

Unless a continuance was granted, if the commissioner fails to render a decision within 30 days from the person's arrest date, he must reinstate the person's license or operating privilege, but can still render his decision up to two days thereafter.

According to DMV's advisory to police agencies, for a valid breath failure, the first test result must be achieved within two hours of the time of vehicle operation and the second breath sample must be obtained 30 minutes or more after the first result. Failure to meet these time requirements may result in a rescission of the license suspension. Apparently it is also important for the arresting agency to indicate how it determined time of operation.


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