Between 2003 and 2012, 1,039 people died in Connecticut from accidents involving at least one drunk driver. Nationwide, about one in three traffic deaths is alcohol-related. Millions of American drivers get behind the wheel while they are too intoxicated to drive, and this can lead to some of the most severe accidents of all.
Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is one of the most common causes of deadly accidents, as well as one of the most easily preventable. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense in Connecticut and all of the other states.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, contact the Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban for a free consultation today. Get in touch with us online to learn more about how we can help you get what you deserve.
What Constitutes Drunk Driving?
The determining factor in drunk driving cases is whether a driver’s ability to operate the vehicle has been impaired. Generally, the threshold for an OUI charge is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more for drivers 21 years old or older. For drivers less than 21 years of age, the threshold is a BAC of 0.02 percent.
That being said, BAC is not a hard-and-fast indicator of driving impairment. Once again: the determining factor is whether or not the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle has been impaired. A driver with a BAC lower than 0.08 percent can be found to be operating under the influence as well.
Another thing to note is that OUI also includes drivers operating vehicles while under the influence of illegal drugs. At the moment, there are no reliable field tests for intoxication from substances other than alcohol.
Range of Punishments
A Connecticut driver found guilty of OUI will have his or her license suspended for 45 days. After the driver’s license is reinstated, he or she will be required to have the vehicle equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for one year. This device will require the driver to breathe into it in order to start the vehicle; if the driver’s BAC is above a certain threshold, the engine will not start.
With successive OUI convictions, the driver’s punishments become more severe. A second offense incurs a 45-day license suspension, and an IID will be installed for three years. On the third or subsequent conviction for OUI, the driver’s license will be permanently revoked. The driver may not request a hearing for reconsideration of the license’s revocation for a period of two years. At that time, a driver may request a hearing for reconsideration.
Of course, a driver under the influence of alcohol who injures or kills another person in an accident will face more severe criminal charges.
Dram Shop Laws
Something else to consider is that sellers who provide an intoxicated person with alcoholic beverages are liable for injuries or property damage the person causes. An injured person may recover as much as $250,000 from the seller for damages.
If you suspect that the driver who injured you purchased more alcohol from a place of business after he or she was already intoxicated, don’t wait to contact us. If this is what happened, you have 60 days to notify the seller about your legal action.
Dram shop laws are intended to prevent establishments from selling alcohol to anyone who is already visibly intoxicated. The simple fact that the person who injured you was under the influence does not necessarily mean you have a case under Connecticut’s dram shop law.
Contact our Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, or in any other accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the Connecticut personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. can help. Time is of the essence in these cases, so it is important to reach out to us as soon as possible. Our legal team will review your case and determine your best course of action moving forward.
The Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. represents clients in the greater New Haven area and the entire state of Connecticut. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.