Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol is a criminal offense in Connecticut, and motorists convicted of OUI face penalties ranging from a loss of their driving privileges to fines and jail time. Most drivers are considered legally intoxicated when they get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher, but that threshold is reduced to just .02% for motorists under the age of 21.
Proving intoxication in OUI cases
Intoxication is usually established in drunk driving cases by breath, blood or urine tests. Connecticut is an implied consent state, which means drivers agree to submit to toxicology testing when they apply for their driver’s licenses. A refusal to comply with a police request to provide a sample for testing will result in a mandatory license suspension of at least a year. Driving under the influence is considered a per se offense, which means that impaired motorists can face sanctions even if they did not break any traffic laws.
Drunk driving penalties go beyond jail time and fines
Connecticut residents who are convicted of OUI are required to have ignition interlock devices fitted to their vehicles. These devices prevent vehicles from operating when even trace amounts of alcohol are detected in breath samples provided by their drivers. In addition to criminal penalties, a drunk driving conviction can increase auto insurance premiums and make finding a job more difficult.
Defending motorists accused of driving under the influence
While police officers are not required to provide evidence of a traffic infraction in drunk driving cases, they must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed to pull your vehicle over. If official reports indicate that you may have been stopped for no reason, attorneys with criminal law experience may seek to have OUI charges against you dismissed on the grounds that any evidence obtained as the result of an unconstitutional traffic stop should be excluded. Attorneys could also question the reliability of the toxicology evidence against you if the equipment used was not properly calibrated or maintained or police failed to adhere to established testing protocols.