Connecticut Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a first, second, and third OUI conviction in Connecticut.

In Connecticut, you can be convicted of “operating under the influence” (OUI) for operating a motor vehicle:

  • with an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) (.08% or greater, .04% or greater if the driver was operating a commercial vehicle, and .02% or greater if the driver was under 21 years old), or
  • while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.

Connecticut law defines “under the influence” as so affected in the mental, physical, or nervous processes that the driver lacks—to an appreciable degree—the ability to function properly in relation to the operation of a vehicle.

An OUI for an elevated BAC—also called a “per se OUI,”—is based on chemical test results, and not actual level of impairment. The amount of alcohol a person can consume before exceeding the BAC limit depends on a number of factors, including gender, body size, and the type of alcohol.

Connecticut OUI Penalties

The minimum and maximum OUI penalties are set by statute, but the judge will determine—at sentencing—the exact jail term and fine amount.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

48 hours (or 100 hours community service) up to 6 months

120 days to 2 years

1 to 3 years

Fines

$500 to $1,000

$1,000 to $4,000

$2,000 to $8,000

License Suspension

45 days

45 days

Permanent

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

1 year

3 years

NA

Treatment. Anyone convicted of a second or subsequent OUI conviction will have to complete a drug and alcohol assessment. Based on the results, the convicted person may be ordered to participate in treatment or other rehabilitative services.

Community Service. A first OUI sentence can include 100 hours of community service, and for a second or subsequent offense, 100 hours of community service is required.

Driver’s License Sanctions

All drivers in Connecticut are considered to have “impliedly consented” to testing of breath, blood, or urine for an OWI investigation. Any driver who unlawfully refuses testing or produces a BAC over the legal limit will be subject to immediate license seizure, a 45-day license suspension, and IID restrictions.

Exceeding the .08% limit. A driver with a BAC over the legal limit will be required to hold an IID for six months after the suspension period. A second offense will require one-year IID restriction, and a third offense will require a three-year IID restriction.

Underage. Drivers under the age of 21 who are caught driving a BAC of .02% or greater will be required to hold an IID for one year after the suspension period. A second offense will require a two-year IID restriction, and a third offense will require three years with an IID.

Refusal. A driver who refuses a breath, blood, or urine test will be required to hold an IID for one year after the 45-day suspension. A second and third offense will require two- and three-year IID installations, respectively.

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