Understanding IID laws in Connecticut

Connecticut residents may be required to use an ignition interlock device even if they are not convicted of a drunk driving offense.

In Connecticut, a drunk driving offense is considered a criminal offense. That means anyone who is charged with operating under the influence can face a myriad of potentially serious and long-lasting penalties. In addition to criminal sanctions, there are administrative penalties that directly relate to a defendant's ability to legally drive. Among these is the use of an ignition interlock device.

What is an ignition interlock device?

As the name implies, these devices are able to essentially lock a vehicle's ignition. The ignition is only allowed to be started after a driver successfully passes a breath test. A handheld unit is installed into the vehicle and the results of tests are sent to a chip that controls the ignition.

Drivers must take tests every time they wish to start their vehicles. In addition, drivers will be prompted to take additional breath tests while they are actively driving. All information is collected electronically and reported to authorities.

Who must use an ignition interlock device in Connecticut?

As explained by News 8, before July 2015, only people who had been arrested for a second or subsequent OUI offense were required to use IIDs. Since July 2015, however, all people who have their drivers licenses suspended for a drunk driving offense will be required to install and use ignition interlock devices.

It is important to note that the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend a driver's license upon an arrest alone. A conviction is not needed before a license suspension occurs.

A license suspension generally begins 30 days after the date of arrest and lasts for 45 days. Installation of the ignition interlock device will be required before the license can be reinstated. The reinstated license will indicate that the driver is only allowed to operate vehicles with IIDs installed.

How long are IIDs required to be used?

The length of time that a drive may have to use an IID varies. Drivers 21 and older with blood alcohol contents over the legal limit, IIDs will be mandated for six months after a first offense. This increases to one year for second offenses and two years for third offenses.

For drivers under 21 or for drivers of any age who have refused a chemical test, IIDs will be mandated for one year after a first offense. This increases to two years for second offenses and three years for third offenses.

How can I learn more about IIDs and other OUI penalties?

Connecticut residents who have been arrested for drunk driving should seek help from an attorney promptly. This is the best way to get the full facts about what the laws are and how to best defend oneself in these situations.