Connecticut has strict laws regarding driving under the influence. If you are convicted of a second DUI offense within 10 years of a first-time conviction, you face a mandatory jail term of 120 days and a potential sentence of up to two years. Depending on the severity of the offense, you may also face further consequences, including fines and your license will be suspended.
Working with an experienced Connecticut DUI defense attorney can help mitigate the results of a second-time DUI offense. Understanding the state’s DUI laws can help you know what steps to take if you are facing these charges for the second time.
How Does Connecticut Define Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?
According to Connecticut law, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs, or both. This includes driving with a blood alcohol content above the legally established limits. Depending on the circumstances, violating this law can lead to license suspension, fines, and jail time.
At What Blood Alcohol Level Can You Be Arrested in Connecticut?
The legal BAC (blood alcohol concentration) limit for drivers in Connecticut is 0.08 percent. If you drive with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher, the police can arrest you for driving under the influence. Commercial vehicle drivers have a legal limit of 0.04 percent. For those under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.02 percent.
Is a Second DUI Offense Considered a Felony in Connecticut?
A second DUI offense within 10 years of a first DUI conviction is automatically classified as a felony in Connecticut. Even if it has been more than 10 years since your first DUI conviction, you may face felony charges for a second DUI offense if it resulted in an accident that caused injury or death to another person or if you had a BAC level of 0.16 percent or higher.
What Are the Penalties for a Second DUI Offense?
The penalties for a second DUI offense in Connecticut include:
- Incarceration – Most second DUI convictions receive a jail sentence of up to two years. While many offenders do not serve the entirety of that time, you must serve at least 120 days behind bars.
- Fines – Those convicted of second-time DUI charges must pay a fine between $1,000 and $4,000.
- Community service – Second-time DUI offenders must perform 100 hours of community service.
- License suspension and IID – A second-time DUI conviction also requires a 45-day license suspension and installing an ignition interlock device (IID) for three years.
Working with an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you avoid the harshest penalties if you are convicted.
How Can I Get to My Job If My License Has Been Suspended Due to a DUI?
If your license is suspended due to a DUI conviction, you still need to get to work and other necessary appointments. There are a few options for maintaining your mobility without driving yourself:
- Public transportation like buses and trains are an affordable way to commute if available in your area. You can plan your route ahead of time using public transit maps.
- Ask a friend or family member for rides when possible. Offer to chip in for gas money.
- Look into carpooling resources and apps to connect with other commuters going your way.
- Taxis, rideshares, and car services allow you to book transportation on-demand – though the costs may add up.
- In some cases, you may qualify for a restricted license that allows you to drive to and from work and appointments. Talk to your DUI defense attorney about this option.
- Consider moving closer to your workplace temporarily so you can walk, bike, or scooter there.
- If your job allows you to do so, ask whether telecommuting is possible.
- As a last resort, you may need to request a leave or temporarily adjust your work schedule until your license suspension period ends. Speak with HR to discover your options.
Planning alternate transportation takes effort. However, it helps you get to work and avoid further legal troubles during your license suspension. An attorney can advise you on all your options for getting around without driving.
Is It Possible to Fight a Second DUI Offense?
It is possible to fight a second DUI offense in Connecticut. An experienced DUI defense attorney can look closely at the details of your case to build a strong defense. Here are some potential strategies they may use:
- Challenge the validity of the traffic stop that led to your DUI arrest – If there was no legal cause for the police to pull you over in the first place, your attorney could move to suppress the evidence from the invalid stop.
- Contest the results of your BAC testing – Faulty equipment, improper procedure, or contamination could make breathalyzer or blood test results unreliable.
- Argue that your impaired driving was due to medication, illness, or other circumstances – This could lead to a reduction in charges.
- Claim any procedural errors in your DUI processing or handling of evidence – Mistakes by the arresting officer or others involved could weaken the prosecution’s case.
- Plea bargain – Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea deal for lesser charges like reckless driving, which carries less severe penalties.
While fighting a second DUI conviction is difficult, an experienced lawyer can thoroughly examine your case for any available defenses. With legal guidance, you may be able to reduce or even avoid a conviction in certain circumstances.
Contact a Connecticut Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer
It is difficult to overestimate the severity of a DUI arrest in Connecticut. If you have already received a prior conviction, the consequences for your liberty, finances, and driver’s license can be considerable. With so much at stake, you need an attorney who will fight aggressively to protect your rights.
The experienced Connecticut DUI defense attorneys at Jainchill & Beckert, LLC have helped many others in your situation get their charges reduced or dropped altogether. We are ready to do what it takes to stand up for your liberties. Contact a member of our team today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.