There are many ways that people wind up with DUIs, and even multiple DUIs. Maybe you were close enough to home that you thought you could make it back okay. Maybe you were put in charge of taking someone home last minute, and figured it would be better than the alternative. Maybe you simply overestimated the power of coffee and water at the end of dinner to sober you up for the ride home.
These are only a few of the many possible circumstances that may have led to your current Connecticut DUI, as well as any past Connecticut DUIs. Unfortunately, unless they are properly persuaded, Connecticut courts don’t tend to consider the reason behind DUIs—especially multiple DUIs.
DUIs are taken very seriously in the State of Connecticut, which has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country. This is especially true of multiple DUIs, particularly if your most recent DUI occurred within 10 years of the proceeding DUI.
Multiple DUIs are almost always taken more seriously and carry harsher penalties than first-time DUIs, particularly if less than a decade lapses between DUIs. Though this may seem unfair, there is a reasoning behind this uptick in sentencing: to discourage repeat instances of a potentially harmful behavior, regardless of intention.
In the State of Connecticut, a second DUI is a felony charge. Being convicted of a felony can pose its own host of issues, including barriers to employment, barriers to opportunities for education and professional growth (such as participation in certain programs and access to certain scholarships), and even entry to some forms of housing. Having a felony conviction on your record in the State of Connecticut can even result in the loss of your right to vote.
In addition to felony status, consequences for a second DUI within 10 years of a first DUI can include:
- Jail time (with a 120-day mandatory minimum, and a maximum of up to 2 years)
- Mandatory alcohol and/or drug treatment
- Fines of up to $4,000
- Minimum 45-day license suspension
- Three years with an Interlock device
- 100+ hours of community service
- Revocation of commercial driver’s license, if applicable.
Charges can be even more severe for a third or subsequent DUI charge in Connecticut. Like a second DUI offense, a third or subsequent DUI is a felony, and being convicted comes with all of the complications associated with felony conviction mentioned above. Sentencing enhancements also include:
- $2,000 to $8,000 in fines, in addition to any court costs and fees.
- 1 to 3 years in prison (with a 1-year mandatory minimum sentence)
- Automatic license revocation (with appeals available after two years)
- Probation (usually at least 2 yearsfrom prison release date)
As if these consequences were not serious enough, there is a further set of sentencing enhancements that can be applied if a DUI was considered “aggravated.” This means specific instances in which the crime of the DUI is considered to be more harmful or potentially harmful. Aggravating circumstances for a multiple DUI charge in Connecticut include:
- Getting a DUI with minors present in the car
- Getting a DUI while driving on a suspended, revoked, or otherwise invalid license.
- Getting a DUI in a school bus, or in a school zone
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over twice the legal limit
- Refusing to submit to chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) for drugs and/or alcohol
- Fleeing the scene of a DUI
- Resisting or refusing to comply with arresting officers
- If your DUI causes an accident that involves severe property damage, serious injury, and/or death.
If you are charged with an aggravated second DUI, or an aggravated third or subsequent DU, you will be more like to have to endure:
- Lengthy, mandatory substance abuse treatment
- Higher fines (including statutory fines and court fees)
- Potential civil cases and the ensuing personal injury damages, which can be garnished from wages until paid off
- Longer periods of driver’s license suspension, and potentially complete driver’s license revocation
- Longer jail and/or prison sentences