Connecticut Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Connecticut?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Connecticut, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Connecticut

  • First-time DUI offenders must pay a fine of $500 to $1,000. They also face a term of imprisonment of up to six months. Imprisonment, however, can be suspended and a period of probation can be imposed with the condition that the offender perform 100 hours of community service work. The driver’s license suspension period is 45 days for the first offense. However, they must use an ignition interlock device for one year.
  • Second-time DUI offenders who are convicted within 10 years of the first offense must pay a fine of $1,000 to $4,000. They also face a prison term of up to two years. At least 120 days must be served. A period of probation is also required. As a condition of probation, second-time offenders must perform 100 hours of community service work. The driver’s license suspension period is either three years or one year followed by two years with an ignition interlock device.
  • Those convicted of a third or subsequent DUI within 10 years of a prior conviction must pay a fine of $2,000 to $8,000. They also face a prison term of up to three years. At least one year must be served. A period of probation is also required. As a condition of probation, these offenders must perform 100 hours of community service work. On the third conviction, the offender’s driver’s license will be permanently revoked.

Ignition Interlock

Any person who has been arrested for DUI may be ordered by a judge to not operate a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock order may be made as a condition of the offender’s release on bail, as a condition of probation, or as a condition of granting the offender’s application for participation in a pretrial alcohol education system.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Connecticut’s DUI laws, a person who holds a commercial driver’s license who is convicted of DUI for the first time while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is three years. If a commercial driver commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle, the offender will lose his or her commercial license for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of at least 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

Any driver who commits a DUI, regardless of age, is subject to the same penalties. The only exception is for drivers under 21 who commit a second offense. In that case, the driver’s license suspension period is three years or until the offender turns 21, whichever period is longer.

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What is Connecticut’s Dram Shop Act?

A drinking establishment that sells liquor to an intoxicated person who injures another person because of the intoxication is subject to pay up to $250,000 in damages to the injured person, so long as the injured person gives written notice to the establishment of his or her intention to sue within 120 days of the injury. The notice must specify the time, date, and the person to whom the sale was made; the name and address of the person injured; and the time, date, and place where the injury occurred. Suit must then be filed within one year from the date of the act complained of. Connecticut’s Dram Shop Act states that there is no cause of action against a seller of alcoholic beverages for negligence in the sale of liquor to person 21 or older.

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Criminal Penalties for Selling Alcohol to a Minor, an Intoxicated Person, or any Habitual Drunkard

A drinking establishment that sells alcohol to a minor, an intoxicated person, or any habitual drunkard is subject to imprisonment of up to one, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Any person who sells, ships, delivers or gives alcoholic liquor to a minor, by any means, including, but not limited to, the Internet or any other on-line computer network, except on the order of a practicing physician, shall be fined not more than $3,500 or imprisoned not more than 18 months, or both.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

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