In Connecticut, the penalties can be quite harsh if ever convicted of drunk driving - also known as operating/driving a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI or DUI). In fact, even first-time offenders can face possible jail time, a large fine and even a license suspension.

However, there is one penalty that many people often forget, and that is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). Essentially, an IID is a device that prevents a driver from starting a vehicle unless he or she can provide a breath sample proving he or she is not intoxicated.

Under Connecticut law, once the driving privileges of an offender are reinstated following an initial 45-day suspension period, he or she must have an IID installed on each vehicle owned for one year. Keep in mind, this one-year period is only for first-time offenders - a second conviction within 10 years will result in a three-year IID restriction period. In addition, the offender is required by statute to bear all costs related to the installation and maintenance of these devices.

Further penalties for violating IID requirements in Connecticut

It is important to remember, however, that even after an IID is installed, an individual may face additional administrative penalties imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles if he or she does not properly follow all IID restrictions. Indeed, Connecticut regulations expressly state that the DMV can add 30 days to a person's IID restriction period for each violation of any of the following acts:

  • Tampering with, circumventing, or attempting to tamper or circumvent, an IID
  • Requesting another person to blow into an IID in order to provide the restricted driver with an operable vehicle
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a required IID
  • Failing to submit to a rolling retest, which is a breath test that is administered by an IID at random times while the driver is operating the motor vehicle
  • A second, or subsequent, failure of a rolling retest
  • Removing an IID without authorization
  • Failing to appear for IID service within five days of the scheduled service date

However, criminal penalties may also apply for many of these violations. In fact, it is considered a Class C misdemeanor under Connecticut law when an individual tampers with his or her IID or requests another person to blow into the device with the purpose of starting the vehicle. If the DMV becomes aware that an individual is violating these two particular provisions, it is required to notify law enforcement. Moreover, the DMV also may require the individual to install a camera in his or her vehicle if it believes the individual has been asking others to blow into the IID.

Seek legal guidance

Given that an IID can drastically impact one's life, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you have been charged with drunk driving. A skilled attorney can explain your rights and options and help develop legal defenses.