Drunk driving has serious legal penalties


Drunk driving in Connecticut is fatal. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that the state suffered 85 fatalities due to drunk driving accidents in 2012.

Drivers are legally-impaired if they have a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08. Drivers under 21 are considered impaired with a BAC of .02. Nonetheless, drivers face prosecution for driving under the influence if their driving is impaired, regardless of their BAC. Police may arrest suspects and tow their vehicles at the driver's expense.

Driving while impaired is a criminal offense. For a first offense, drivers are subject to a 45-day license suspension and must comply with an ignition interlock program for one year after license restoration. A second conviction results in a 45-day license suspension or a suspension until the driver's 21st birthday, 3-year ignition interlock program, and driving limitations to the motorist's work, school, substance abuse programs or probation appointments for one year after license restoration. A third or subsequent conviction leads to license revocation for at least two years.

The state imposes additional criminal penalties where impaired driving leads to injury or death. Violators may be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide.

Connecticut may also impose license suspension as an administrative penalty where a driver does not submit to a blood, breath or urine test or a driver under 21 has a test result exceeding .02.

The length of an administrative suspension depends on the violation, the driver's age and whether the driver is a repeat offender. For drivers that are under 18-years-old, the suspensions may last from 18 months to 5 years. Motorists between 18 and 21 face suspensions lasting from 6 months to 5 years.

No laws can prevent this reckless behavior in its entirety. However, victims of an accident caused by a drunk driver may be entitled to compensation for serious injuries, lost wages and medical expenses. Prompt advice should be sought to protect rights, assure that evidence is obtained and that deadlines for filing a lawsuit are met.

Source: Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, "Connecticut's drunk driving law-OUI," Accessed Oct. 20, 2014

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