Driving Under the Influence

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Fairfield County DUI Defense LawyerBeing pulled over by a police officer can be a stressful and intimidating experience, especially if the officer may have reason to believe that a person was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An officer will look at a number of factors when determining whether a person may be intoxicated, and in some cases, a driver may be asked to take field sobriety tests. These tests involve multiple physical or verbal activities that allow an officer to gauge a person’s level of intoxication, and the results of these tests may provide probable cause to make an arrest. Drivers can be sure they are addressing these situations properly by understanding the types of tests they may be asked to perform and how these tests may indicate intoxication.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

People may be familiar with tests that may be used by a police officer to determine whether a driver is intoxicated, if only because they have seen them performed on TV shows. Some of these depictions may involve a person being asked to recite the alphabet backwards or touch their fingertips to their nose. However, there are only three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Walk and turn - In this test, an officer will ask a person to stand with the heel of their right foot touching the toe of their left foot. They will then be asked to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line with their arms at their sides, turn around, and take nine steps to return to their original position. If a person loses their balance, steps off the line, stops walking to steady themselves, raises their arms to maintain balance, does not turn correctly, or otherwise fails to follow the officer’s instructions, this may be seen as an indication that they are intoxicated.


Fairfield Drunk Driving Defense AttorneyOriginally published: February 26, 2018 -- Updated: September 2, 2021

UPDATE: In addition to the consequences of causing someone’s death due to driving while intoxicated, a person may also face criminal charges if they cause a serious injury to one or more people. In some cases, a driver may be charged with assault, and when the assault is committed with a motor vehicle, this is a felony offense.

The charge of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle applies when a person causes a serious physical injury to someone else because they were operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An injury is considered a serious physical injury if it puts a victim at risk of being killed, results in disfigurement, or causes them to experience significant impairments to their health (including the loss of an internal organ or the loss of function of organs or bodily systems).


CT OUI lawyerThere are many ways that being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can affect your life. This offense is commonly referred to as DUI or DWI, but it is known as Operating Under the Influence (OUI) in Connecticut. While you may be concerned about some of the more serious consequences that you could face, such as large fines or potential jail time, you may also be subject to a suspension of your driver’s license, even if you are not convicted on criminal charges. If your license is suspended, you will also need to understand your requirements for using an ignition interlock device on your vehicle once your license is reinstated.

Connecticut IID Requirements

If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk or intoxicated driving, and a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine shows that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit, or if you refuse to take a chemical test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 45 days. A conviction for a first-time OUI or second OUI will also result in a 45-day license suspension, although you may be eligible to have your license restored immediately if you have already served a 45-day administrative license suspension.

After the license suspension period and once you have met any requirements for the reinstatement of your driver’s license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. This device will require you to measure your BAC through a breath sample before starting your car, and the vehicle will not start if your BAC exceeds a certain level. You will be required to pay all costs related to the installation and maintenance of an IID, and every 25-30 days, you will be required to have the device calibrated by the installer.


stamford dui lawyerThe use of marijuana has become more and more widespread in recent years, especially as multiple states have legalized the drug for both recreational and medicinal use. Because of this, many people may drive after using this drug. However, drivers should understand that they could potentially face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) due to their use of marijuana. Those who have been arrested and charged with intoxicated driving will need to make sure they have legal representation by a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in these types of cases.

Legal Issues in Marijuana DUI Cases

Under the laws in Connecticut, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating drug. However, unlike in DUI cases involving alcohol, Connecticut law does not specify a legal limit to determine when a person is intoxicated by marijuana. If a police officer pulls a driver over based on the suspicion that they are intoxicated, they may make an arrest based on the results of field sobriety tests or other observations that indicate that a person has been using marijuana. These may include the smell of marijuana in the vehicle or physical symptoms of marijuana intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, drowsiness, or delayed responses to questions.

Connecticut’s implied consent laws require a driver to submit to chemical testing if they are arrested for DUI. These tests typically involve the use of a breathalyzer to measure the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). However, a breath test will not measure the level of intoxication by marijuana, so a driver may be asked to provide a urine sample, which may detect any marijuana in the driver’s system. While a driver who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol will face an administrative suspension of their driver’s license if they refuse to submit to chemical testing, this administrative suspension will not apply to drivers who are charged with driving under the influence of drugs.


Stamford CT DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence of alcohol can lead to criminal consequences and administrative penalties in Connecticut. If you are arrested for DUI, you could be sentenced to jail time or community service and probation. You may also be fined up to $1000 or more. Your license may be temporarily suspended, and you may have to get an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to regain your driving privileges. Second or subsequent DUI offenses are penalized even more harshly. When defending against DUI charges, Connecticut DUI defense attorneys may argue that the charges should be dismissed entirely.

You May Be Able to Avoid a DUI Conviction

A skilled defense lawyer will know Connecticut DUI laws and how to defend against DUI charges. In some cases, DUI charges are dropped. Some of the most common reasons that DUI cases are dismissed include:

  • Illegal police stop – The police cannot pull someone over for no reason. They must have a “reasonable suspicion” that unlawful activity is occurring. Speeding, erratic lane changes, or running a red light may all justify a police officer’s stop. However, if there were no grounds for the police to pull you over, the evidence obtained during the stop, including breathalyzer results, may be inadmissible in court.