Many drivers who are arrested for a DUI in Connecticut are concerned about the fines and penalties they will face due to their drunk driving conviction. If the driver has been arrested for a previous DUI charge in Connecticut or another state they could face even higher fines and more severe DUI penalties if they are convicted.
When is a second DUI considered a second DUI in Connecticut?
States use the term “look back” or “wash-out period” to determine when a prior drunk driving offense can be considered if the driver is arrested a second time for drunk driving. If the second DUI conviction is within the “look back” period of a prior DUI offense the state is allowed to enhance the DUI penalties.
This sounds simple enough, but unfortunately the look back or wash-out period varies from state to state. In fact, some states have a look back period that is as little as 5 years while other states have life-time look back laws. Drivers in a life-time look back state may be charged with a second DUI even if their first DUI was twenty years ago.
Look back Laws for Connecticut
What are the look back laws in Connecticut? Connecticut has a look back period of 10 years. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Connecticut and your DUI arrest was more than 10 years ago your most recent DUI will be considered your first DUI for penalty assessment.
Keep in mind, in most states the look back period will begin on the date the driver was arrested, not convicted. For example, if your state has a ten year look back period, if you were arrested on January 9, 1995, and again on January 23, 2005, the second arrest would be treated as a first time offense.
Although Connecticut does not do this, some states also allow the third DUI within the look back period to be filed as a felony charge. For example, the state of New York allows the second offense to be considered a felony. Understanding your state laws is critical after your DUI arrest because state laws vary substantially.
Drunk Driving Penalties for Second DUI Conviction In Connecticut
If you are arrested for drunk driving in Connecticut within a 10 year time period you will be charged with a drunk driving misdemeanor which may allow the courts to put you in jail for 120 days, make you perform 100 hours of community service, pay fines from $1000 to $4000, forty-five day license suspension followed by a mandatory three year ignition interlock system installation.
Drivers arrested for a first DUI will face similar charges, although they will be lowered: 48 hours of jail or 100 hours of community service, fines between $500 and $1000, a license suspension and a one year mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
Remember, however, even if your state has a look back period of 10 years and your previous DUI conviction may not enhance your current conviction, this is a separate issue from your DUI remaining on your driving record. Look back laws do not determine when a DUI is erased from your driving record. The process to expunge DUI convictions also vary by state. Talk to a DUI lawyer if you have more questions about your Connecticut DUI arrest.
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