Sometimes Connecticut residents travel to other states, like California, for business or pleasure and have the unfortunate luck to be charged with a DUI. If this happens to you, you should first find a qualified DUI lawyer in California, but you should also be aware of how Connecticut’s DMV will treat you upon your return.

If you have been convicted of a DUI in California, you would be convicted of violating California Vehicle Code Section 23152.

In California, the penalties for DUI can range depending on the number of prior DUI offenses you have.

First offense: This conviction will result in a jail sentence between 96 hours and six months, a fine of $390-$1,000, participation in an alcohol abuse education program, and participation in a drug/alcohol problem assessment program.

Second offense: The penalties for a second offense include a jail sentence of 90 days to one year, a fine of $390-$5,000, participation in an alcohol abuse education program, and participation in a drug/alcohol problem assessment program.

Third offense: This conviction will result in a jail sentence of 120 days to one year, a fine of $1,015-$5,000, participation in an alcohol abuse education program, and participation in a drug/alcohol problem assessment program.

Fourth/subsequent offense: This offense is punishable by 16 months to three years in state prison or 180 days to one year in jail, a fine of $1,015-$5,000, participation in an alcohol abuse education program, and participation in a drug/alcohol problem assessment program.

If you are a Connecticut resident who has been charged with or convicted of DUI in California, you should be aware that there are repercussions on your Connecticut license in your home state in addition to any license impact in California as set forth above.

The Connecticut law on DUI requires the Connecticut DMV to suspend a driver’s license for one year with a first offense conviction, and it will be more if this is not your first offense.

The Connecticut suspension law is found in 14-227a(g) of the Connecticut General Statutes and reads:

(g) Penalties for operation while under the influence. Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall: (1) For conviction of a first violation, (A) be fined not less than five hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars, and (B) be (i) imprisoned not more than six months, forty-eight consecutive hours of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner, or (ii) imprisoned not more than six months, with the execution of such sentence of imprisonment suspended entirely and a period of probation imposed requiring as a condition of such probation that such person perform one hundred hours of community service, as defined in section 14-227e, and (C) have such person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege suspended for one year; (2) for conviction of a second violation within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense, (A) be fined not less than one thousand dollars or more than four thousand dollars, (B) be imprisoned not more than two years, one hundred twenty consecutive days of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner, and sentenced to a period of probation requiring as a condition of such probation that such person perform one hundred hours of community service, as defined in section 14-227e, and (C) (i) if such person is under twenty-one years of age at the time of the offense, have such person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege suspended for three years or until the date of such person’s twenty-first birthday, whichever is longer, and be prohibited for the two-year period following completion of such period of suspension from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, or (ii) if such person is twenty-one years of age or older at the time of the offense, have such person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege suspended for one year and be prohibited for the two-year period following completion of such period of suspension from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j; and (3) for conviction of a third and subsequent violation within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense, (A) be fined not less than two thousand dollars or more than eight thousand dollars, (B) be imprisoned not more than three years, one year of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner, and sentenced to a period of probation requiring as a condition of such probation that such person perform one hundred hours of community service, as defined in section 14-227e, and (C) have such person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege permanently revoked upon such third offense. For purposes of the imposition of penalties for a second or third and subsequent offense pursuant to this subsection, a conviction under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section in effect on October 1, 1981, or as amended thereafter, a conviction under the provisions of either subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this section, a conviction under the provisions of section 53a-56b or 53a-60d or a conviction in any other state of any offense the essential elements of which are determined by the court to be substantially the same as subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this section or section 53a-56b or 53a-60d, shall constitute a prior conviction for the same offense.

The reason that Connecticut can impose a Connecticut suspension for an out of state conviction for DUI is that Connecticut law requires the DMV to impose a suspension if they are notified under the state driver’s license compact.

If your Connecticut license has additional DUI convictions on its history, you can be subjected to further suspension.

With all convictions for DUI, whether in state or out of state, the Connecticut DMV is requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices on all cars you register in order to have your privilege for driving restored. You can read more about that program here. In addition, the Connecticut DMV can make you take a driver retraining course if you have a certain number of points previously assessed against your driver’s license. See Connecticut General Statutes 14-137a for information or you can learn more about it here.

Once the Connecticut DMV learns of an out of state conviction like the conviction from California, they will issue you a suspension notice for your Connecticut license. You do have a right to fight the suspension. The grounds for fighting the suspension are either you were not convicted of a DUI offense or you are not the person who was convicted. Sometimes, it is a good idea to make the DMV obtain the records because if they cannot get the proper records to prove it was you, they will not be able to uphold your suspension. This is a major reason why so many people choose to hire a Connecticut DUI DMV lawyer to fight for them. Another reason why people hire a Connecticut lawyer is because they want to delay the suspension as it usually comes at the worst possible time. Unfortunately, even if California only imposes a shorter suspension period, Connecticut’s minimum is one year, so no matter what, that is the bottom line for suspensions of a Connecticut license.

Connecticut has a DUI diversionary program, found at 54-56g of the statutes, but because your case originated in California you are not eligible to participate in that program. You must have been arrested in Connecticut to take those classes.

One good thing to know is that Connecticut does not have a criminal refusal statute, so if you were convicted of refusing a test, and not of a DUI, the Connecticut DMV should not suspend your license. You may be required to have a hearing just to show the DMV this evidence.

You should hire both a Connecticut DUI lawyer and a California DUI lawyer to help you fight your DUI. For your Connecticut defense, consider contacting Attorney Jay Ruane, one of the best DUI defense lawyers in the state. Attorney Ruane also recommends Attorneys Vincent Tucci and Jeremy Brehmer for your California defense.