Connecticut DUI Attorneys


If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI in Connecticut, you are likely overwhelmed and concerned about the consequences criminally and with the Department of Motor Vehicles. We hope that you will call the experienced attorneys at Black’s Law Group to help guide you through the process. Until then, we hope that we can help ease your concern by providing some basic information regarding DUI arrests in Connecticut.

Before moving forward, a quick note. Most people know the term DUI. However, in Connecticut, the technical term for the charge is Operating While Under the Influence, aka, OUI.

The DUI Processes in Connecticut

As noted above, following a DUI arrest, you will face simultaneous issues with both the DMV and the appropriate criminal court (the town or city that you were arrested in). The DMV process relates to your driving privileges in Connecticut and restrictions (and suspensions) that the DMV can place on your ability to operate a motor vehicle. This is a separate and distinct matter from your criminal case called a DMV Per Se Hearing.

In terms of the criminal case, DUI cases are like any other criminal matter in Connecticut when it comes to the process. There is the pretrial phase for gathering and reviewing evidence, consideration of diversionary programs like the Impaired Driving Intervention Program, plea bargaining, and if necessary, trial.

What are the elements of a DUI charge?

Connecticut prosecutors have two options available for proving a DUI. These are often referred to as behavioral and per se DUI prosecutions. What are the differences between them?

A behavioral DUI case is one where the police did not perform a chemical test for any number of reasons, but most commonly, because a person refused to submit to such a test. On the other hand, a per se DUI prosecution is one where an operator did submit to a chemical test, which revealed an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC). An elevated BAC is one that is above 0.08%.

Statutorily, the law states that “[n]o person shall operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both. A person commits the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both if such person operates a motor vehicle (1) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, or (2) while such person has an elevated blood alcohol content.” Section 1 is the behavioral DUI and section 2 is the per se DUI.

Each of these different types of DUI prosecutions include their own applicable jury instructions. Both have the common element that the prosecution must prove that you operated the motor vehicle. However, the next piece is specific to the type of case. In a behavioral DUI, the prosecution must then prove that you operated the vehicle “while under the influence.” On the other hand, in an elevated BAC or per se prosecution, the second element is that a chemical test revealed that you had a BAC of 0.08% or more at the time of operation.

How type of evidence will the prosecution rely on if I didn’t take a chemical test?

First, if you refused a chemical test, the prosecution will be permitted to introduce that fact as evidence against you called “consciousness of guilt.” This is basically evidence that allows the jury to infer that you refused the test because you knew you would fail it.

Second, in nearly every DUI arrest, the police will require you to submit to standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). These tests include the vertical gaze nystagmus test, the finger to nose test, the walk and turn test, and the one legged stand test, to name a few. The prosecution will likely rely on the police officer’s observations and determinations of how you performed on these tests to try and prove your guilt.

Lastly, the prosecution will rely on any other conduct observed by the police during their investigation. For example, erratic driving (like the failure to maintain a lane), can be used to infer that you were under the influence. Once the police pull you over, other observations that they may have like whether they can smell alcohol on your breathe, whether your speech was slurred, and whether you had bloodshot or glassy eyes can also be used as evidence to infer intoxication.

Are DUI arrests limited to alcohol?

No, they are not. They also apply to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug. When most people hear drugs, they think of controlled substances or illegal narcotics like fentanyl, heroin, PCP, or cocaine. Even though Connecticut has legalized recreational marijuana, you can also be prosecuted for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Finally, this charge can still apply even if the only “drug” in your system is one prescribed by a doctor (like Xanax).

What criminal penalties do I face for my DUI arrest?

In Connecticut, DUI cases include an escalating set of penalties that depend on whether it is your first DUI conviction or a subsequent offense. Criminal penalties include potential imprisonment, fines, and periods of community supervision (probation). Additionally, the courts and DMV are interconnected because DUI convictions can also carry with them rules regarding license suspensions and lengths of time where you can only lawfully operate a motor vehicle with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed.

First Offense

  • Up to 6 months of imprisonment
  • A fine between $500 and $1,000
  • Up to 1 year of probation

Second Offense

  • Up to 2 years of imprisonment, 120 days (4 months) of which are a mandatory minimum (meaning a judge cannot have you serve less than 4 months in jail)
  • A fine between $1,000 and $4,000
  • Up to 3 years of probation

Third Offense

  • Up to 3 years of imprisonment. 1 year of which is a mandatory minimum
  • A fine between $2,000 and $8,000
  • Up to 3 years of probation
  • Additionally, a third DUI conviction will trigger a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license, subject to a restrictive restoration procedure that cannot begin until two years have passed since your initial revocation.

Is my DUI conviction a misdemeanor or felony?

This depends, again, on whether it is a first or subsequent offense. A first time DUI conviction is a misdemeanor offense whereas any subsequent offense is considered a felony.

What are some common ways of defending against a DUI arrest?

Hiring an experience DUI attorney is critical to defending against your DUI arrest. You need to find the team that can thoroughly explore factual and legal defenses to your charge.

Did the police have probable cause to initiate the traffic stop against you? Or to conduct SFSTs? Are the police officer’s observations borne out on their body worn camera or dash cam footage? If you submitted to a chemical test, did the police adhere to rules and restrictions regarding how these tests must be conducted? If the police claim that you refused a chemical test, did they give you an opportunity to submit to one and did you actually refuse?

These are just a few of the types of information that will be investigated by an experienced defense attorney when developing your defenses to the charges.

If you or someone you love is facing a DUI arrest, call the attorneys at Black’s Law Group for a free consultation.

DUI arrests place you in the crosshairs of the criminal justice system and the Department of Motor Vehicles, but can also affect your job, your family, and reputation in the community. You or your loved one are probably scared of what lies ahead. You will want to hire the right team of Connecticut defense attorneys to thoroughly evaluate, investigate, and guide your case towards the best possible outcome. That’s where Black’s Law Group comes in. Call Black’s now to schedule your free consultation.

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