DUI with Elevated BAC Level
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and with elevated BAC level is strictly prohibited by law. It is legally presumed that drivers aren't capable of driving when chemically affected by measurable amounts of alcohol or drugs. As long as an officer has reasonable suspicion of DUI based on objective signs of intoxication, police may require you to submit to a blood, breath, or urine tests and are empowered to do so under Connecticut's implied consent law.
Based on the law, anyone who is under 21 years of age drives any vehicle and found to have BAC level result of 0.02% or higher, is said to be DUI. For an adult driver 21 years of age of older, one can be convicted of DUI with an “elevated BAC” of 0.08% or higher. Drivers of commercial vehicles are presumed DUI with a BAC of 0.04%.
Whether the driver drives the vehicle in public places or on his own property, DUI laws will still apply; in other words, you can still be arrested for DUI even if operating a motor vehicle on your own property, such as an ATV, dirt bike, or snowmobile.
In order for a DUI charge to be reduced or dismissed, the prosecution must articulate specific reasons for that decision in open court according to the CGS § 14-227a (f).
BAC Tests according to CGS § 14-227a (b)
Drivers must undergo BAC tests to determine their BAC level. On'e BAC is measured by testing the samples of blood or urine or breath, the method of which is within the driver's discretion. Which chemical test you choose can be important, for example, if you believe you are close or on the cusp of 0.08 BAC, a blood test may take more time to administer and thus bring you alcohol levels below allowable levels.
According to law, the said BAC test should be done twice. The results of the two tests should be consistent within a 10-minute interval. In case the results of the second test is .10 or lower and the results of the first test were below the second, the prosecution has to prove before the court that the results accurately reflect the actual BAC levels at the time the driver was stopped and assessed.
The counter argument to this would be a rising BAC defense, meaning that your BAC was in the elevation or rising stage and at the time of operation, the driver's BAC was actually below the legal limit.
Standards of Admissibility of Evidence in Case Driver is Not Injured
The law sets the standards to determine the admissibility of evidence in case the driver is injured. The following are the standards set by law to determine whether the test results are admissible:
1. The driver must have been given (a) an opportunity to call his or her lawyer before submitting to a chemical test and (b) consent to submit to the requested tests. (All drivers have a due process right to bodily integrity, but (a) refusing a test could be a per se violation of DUI law and (b) law enforcement can apply for a warrant for a bodily sample regardless of whether you give consent)
2. After the results are determine, the driver must be given a copy of the result directly mailed or personally delivered to his or her last known address within the next business day.
3. The person to administer the test should be a police officer.
4. Only methods and equipment approved and set by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or DESPP, and those regulated by DESPP, should be used to administer BAC level tests.
5. The DESPP must have checked BAC measuring equipment to ensure accuracy.
6. The test should be done twice in 10 minutes interval.
7. The test should be administered within 2 hours after the driver is stopped.
In relation to this, the methods and devices are all checked by the commissioner from DESP to ensure the accuracy and reliability before they are used for the tests. The regulations governing the use of devices and equipment and methods should be in accordance to the CGS § 14-227a (d).
In case the driver refused to undergo such tests, the prosecution can use that as evidence that you were in fact under the influence, regardless of your BAC, as consciousness of guilt, meaning that there's no good reason why you would refuse a test unless you DUI.
Standards of Admissibility of Evidence in Case Driver is Injured and Requires Medical Treatment
The law sets different admissibility standards for samples and tests taken from drivers who are injured because of crash for DUI violation. The samples are subject for chemical analysis to determine and establish the case or whether there is a probable cause to arrest someone suspected of DUI. The prosecution may admit BAC samples according to the following:
1. The injured driver submits a chemical sample for purposes of diagnosis or treatment of injury.
2. The DESPP regulates the tests of the samples taken.
3. The court should be satisfied with reports submitted by the arresting officers handling the case. His belief that the driver violated the DUI law and that the blood and urine tests serve as evidence of DUI.
4. The court issues a warrant authorizing the seizure including the medical records and test results of the injured driver under CGS § 14-227a (k).
CGS § 14-227a (g) presents the Table for the DUI Criminal Penalties for first, second, and third offense. Included in the penalties is the suspension of the driver's license even while the case is on appeal before the court. The court may also require the driver to undergo alcohol education and treatment program as stated in CGS § 14- 227a (j). Penalties may also vary depending on the extent of the offense, specifically when DUI violation led to vehicle crash that caused casualties or serious physical injuries to other victims. CGS § 14- 227a (g).
Court Support Services Division or CSSDA must order a panel for the victim. This panel is approved by the court and must provide a non-confrontational forum for the victim. Whether it is alcohol related or drug-related, the panel must handle the case. See CGS § 14- 227a (l).
Driver to Undergo Assessment and Treatment
After one is convicted of DUI, the CSSD must assess the driver for evidence of substance abuse, whether for drugs or alcohol. The driver may be required to undergo treatment program as regulated by the law. See CGS § 14- 227a (g).
House Arrest or Home Confinement
If a DUI violator has valid medical or health reasons, or as allowed by the law through the Department of Correction or DOC, the offender shall be allowed to be released from prison but will be held as inmate for house arrest or home confinement. See CGS § 18- 100h (a).
Licenses of Drivers of Age 16 or 17
Drivers who are 16 and 17 years of age are allowed to drive and keep their license, but the law is stricter for younger and inexperienced drivers who create an increased risk to all other drivers when caught DUI. If found to violate the law and convicted of DUI with an elevated BAC level result of 0.02% or more, the arresting officer(s) must notice the DMV to suspend the license for 48 hours or more.
To reclaim their license, young drivers must bring his or her parent or guardian to the police station or designated office after the 48 hour suspension is completed. See CGS § 14- 36i (b).
Installation of Ignition Interlock Device
An IID, is a device installed in one's vehicle that requires the driver to breathe first into it before the vehicle ignition will start. If the device detects a measurable BAC, the car will not start. The device also requires periodic breath samples along the drive to allow the driver to continue operating, and once it detects any changes in the BAC level, it will stop. This is required by law for drivers convicted of DUI and all installation fees are the driver's responsibility under CGS § 14- 227a (i).
For a first offense, a driver must use an IID device for one (1) year while for a second-timer, the device must be used for three (3) years.
Drivers required to use IIDs are only allowed to drive to work or school or to substance abuse treatment classes or DUI school, or to the service center for ignition interlock device, or to an appointment with their probation officer.
Third-time DUI violators will have their license revoked by the DMV. He or she may request their license to be restored only after two years depending on the driver's compliance with the law and the terms of their probation. See CGS § 14- 111 (i). In the event that the driver fails to comply with IID regulations, the state will re-impose the revocation of his or her license.
For other crimes, the IID may also be required for a certain period of time. If convicted of crimes such as vehicular manslaughter or 2nd degree assault with a motor vehicle you may be required to have the IID for two years. (CGS §§ 53a-56b and -60d).
Criminal penalties for driving without the IID are presented in Table 2.