Connecticut DUI Penalties: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Offense

Operating a motor vehicle in the state of Connecticut while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense. If convicted, you could be facing severe penalties including fines, jail or prison time, and license suspension or revocation. However, the severity of your punishment will depend on the number of previous impaired driving offenses and other circumstances surrounding your case.

Our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers at DeMatteo Legal Solutions can provide comprehensive answers to your questions about drunk driving penalties in Connecticut. We have successfully challenged drivers' license suspensions in impaired driving cases and reinstated our clients' driving privileges. We proudly represent clients in West Haven, Connecticut, and the surrounding communities of New Haven, Milford, Meriden, Derby, and Waterbury.

DUI Penalties in the State of Connecticut

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Connecticut had the highest percentage of drunk driving fatalities in 2017. Out of 278 fatal crashes, 120 (43%) involved at least a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more. This is why the state judiciary imposes stiff penalties on DUI offenders, especially repeat offenders.

Potential criminal penalties for drunk driving convictions can include substantial fines, jail time, license suspension, probation, and treatment programs. However, the severity of your penalties will depend on the particular circumstances of your current offense, as well as the number of previous DUI convictions on your criminal record. Potential penalties for DUI convictions in Connecticut are as follows:

First Offense Penalties

A DUI is considered a first offense if the driver has no previous DUI convictions. Potential criminal penalties upon conviction of a first DUI offense in Connecticut include:

  • Fines: Between $500 and $1,000
  • Prison Sentence: Up to 6 months
  • License Suspension: 45-day license suspensions for drivers age 21 or older
  • Ignition Interlock: 1-year ignition interlock restriction after your license is reinstated
  • Treatment Program: The offender must complete a DMV approved substance abuse treatment program or Pretrial Alcohol Education Program before full driver’s license privileges will be reinstated

If the court sentences you to probation, you may be required to partake in a victim impact panel program approved by the Court Support Services Division (CSSD).

Second Offense Penalties

A DUI is considered a second offense if the offender has one previous DUI conviction within the last ten years. Potential criminal penalties upon conviction of a second DUI offense in Connecticut include:

  • Fines: Between $1,000 and $4,000
  • Prison Sentence: Up to 2 years
  • License Suspension: 45-day license suspensions
  • Ignition Interlock: 3-year ignition interlock restriction after your license is reinstated
  • Probation: Probation with 100 hours of mandatory community service
  • Treatment Program: The offender must complete a DMV approved substance abuse treatment program or Pretrial Alcohol Education Program before full driver’s license privileges will be restored

Also, you may be required to partake in a victim impact panel program approved by the Court Support Services Division (CSSD).

Third Offense Penalties

A third DUI conviction may be considered a felony. Potential penalties for third (or subsequent) DUI offense in Connecticut include:

  • Fines: Between $2,000 and $8,000
  • Prison Sentence: Up to 3 years
  • License Revocation: Permanent driver’s license revocation. However, the offender may request a hearing after two years to see if driving privileges can be reinstated
  • Ignition Interlock: A permanent ignition interlock restriction will apply in case your license is reinstated
  • Probation: Probation with 100 hours of mandatory community service
  • Treatment Program: The offender must complete a DMV approved substance abuse or alcohol intervention program before driving privileges may be restored.

When Manslaughter or Assault with a Vehicle Is Involved

If you are charged with a DUI, manslaughter, or assault with a vehicle, the consequences could be even more severe. Possible criminal penalties that you could face include:

  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • A prison sentence of up to 10 years
  • Your license could be suspended for up to a year
  • An ignition interlock device on the person’s car for two years after your driving privileges has been reinstated

Facing manslaughter or assault with a motor vehicle charges makes you ineligible for the Alcohol Education Program.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a small handheld car breathalyzer that measures the driver’s blood alcohol level. The IID is a common requirement following a drunk driving conviction that prevents the driver from starting the motor vehicle until a breath alcohol test has been taken.

Age/Acceptable Blood Alcohol Levels

The maximum accepted blood alcohol content (BAC) limits in Connecticut for driving, depending on the driver’s age, are as follows:

  • Adult drivers - less than 0.08%
  • Commercial drivers - less than 0.04%
  • Drivers under 21 years of age - less than 0.02%

How the Firm Can Help

Defending your DUI charges without proper guidance from an experienced attorney can increase your risk of suffering the maximum penalties. If convicted, you could lose your driving privileges and other future opportunities. That is why you need to retain a knowledgeable attorney immediately.

Our team of attorneys at DeMatteo Legal Solutions will investigate all the details of your case and determine the most effective defense strategy. We will protect your rights zealously and attempt to get the charges against you reduced or dropped completely. Our attorneys can help pursue the best outcome possible in your case.

DUI Defense in West Haven, Connecticut

Don’t face your drunk driving charges alone. Let a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney help protect your rights. Call DeMatteo Legal Solutions today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our team of attorneys can determine your best defense strategy for a favorable outcome. Based in West Haven, we are proud to serve clients in the communities of New Haven, Milford, Meriden, Derby, and Waterbury, Connecticut.


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