Women make up a higher proportion of drunk driving arrests today than they did in the past, recent statistics show. In 2011, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, nearly one out of four DUI arrests in the United States involved a female driver. In 1980, women made up less than one in ten DWI arrests nationwide.

Despite the dramatic increase in women arrested for DUI, relatively little research has been done on the subject. To help shed light on the trend, a Canadian nonprofit organization called the Traffic Injury Research Foundation conducted interviews with women who have been arrested for DUI in the United States.

Stress may be a factor

Some experts suggest that the multiple demands of careers, motherhood and various other roles - which many women today juggle simultaneously - may contribute to rising DWI rates by driving up stress levels among female drivers. Nearly all of the women interviewed by TIRF said they had experienced a stressful life event such as the death of a loved one or the end of a marriage shortly before being arrested for DWI.

Others contend that women today are not actually drinking more than in the past, but rather that they are simply driving more. And because today's DUI laws are stricter than those of yesteryear, some female drivers may now be more at risk of DUI charges despite having made no changes in their behavior at all.

Connecticut drunk driving laws

In Connecticut, drivers age 21 and older are considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, the BAC threshold for drunk driving is much lower at just 0.02. It is also illegal for Connecticut drivers of any age to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs.

Connecticut law imposes harsh penalties on drivers convicted of Operating Under the Influence, or OUI - Connecticut's term for what is more commonly referred to as DWI or DUI. For a first-time OUI offender in Connecticut, the penalties for conviction include:

  • Up to six months in prison.
  • Fines of up to $1,000.
  • License suspension for 45 days.
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for one year after license reinstatement.

Penalties increase for repeat DWI convictions

The penalties for repeat DUI in Connecticut grow increasingly harsh with each conviction. A second offense carries a maximum prison term of two years, in addition to fines of up to $4,000 and three years of ignition interlock use following the license suspension period. For a third or subsequent conviction, the potential prison sentence increases further to a maximum of three years, with monetary fines as high as $8,000.

In addition to the other penalties resulting from repeat DWI convictions in Connecticut, people convicted of a third or subsequent drunk driving offense will have their driver's licenses revoked, with no possibility of reinstatement for two years. A Connecticut driver whose driver's license has been revoked and reinstated after three or more DWI convictions can be required to use an ignition interlock device for life.

A lawyer can help

People arrested for drunk driving in Connecticut are encouraged to get in touch with a reputable criminal defense lawyer at their earliest opportunity for help protecting their rights and minimizing the negative consequences of the arrest.