Hardcore drunk drivers can be defined as individuals who drive with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or above, who do so repeatedly, as demonstrated by having more than one drunk driving arrest, and who are highly resistant to changing their behavior despite previous sanctions, treatment, or education efforts.
Listed below are the terms most closely matching the definition above which could be used in Connecticut to identify these offenders:
Repeat offenders are defined in statute by 2nd, 3rd, 4th or subsequent conviction within 10 years.
DUI becomes a felony on the 3rd conviction.
Records on repeat offenses are one of the primary means of tracking the problem of hardcore drunk drivers.
The following are key aspects of Connecticut records:
New licensees are reviewed for outstanding suspensions/revocations in other states before a license is granted, and DUI convictions from other states are considered prior offenses in Connecticut within the limits of the law.
The approximate number of licensed drivers is 2.4 million.
The average BAC level of offenders arrested is approximately .18.
Statistics kept on repeat offenders are based on: Information Not Available.
IDENTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT
Identifying those drivers who are likely to repeatedly drive drunk and assessing the nature of their underlying problems is essential in order to keep hardcore offenders off the road.
Identification of repeat offenders occurs most frequently at trial.
Offenders with a high BAC at the time of arrest are treated as follows:
— All offenders are treated the same regardless of BAC. However, 1st offenders with a high BAC may not be allowed pre-trial diversion.
Following conviction, offenders, as shown, receive a mandatory assessment/evaluation to determine the nature and extent of their alcohol problem:
— None, offenders are assessed at the judge’s discretion, or for 2nd and subsequent convictions to satisfy the conditions of license reinstatement. For 1st offenders participating in pre-trial diversion, an alcohol screening is required as part of the program.
The assessment is conducted post-sentencing and the individual does not return to court for final sentencing based on the assessment.
Assessments for repeat offenders are conducted in an intensive weekend intervention format by a private agency under contract to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The cost is $750 and is usually borne by the offender.
Treatment and rehabilitation programs play an important role in reducing hardcore drunk driving.
In Connecticut results of the assessment are provided to the treatment agency and the Driver Services Division.
In Connecticut treatment is mandated for repeat offenders under the following circumstances: Convicted 2nd offenders are required to attend an alcohol treatment program before driving privileges can be reinstated.
In Connecticut offenders failing to comply with the terms of their program are not eligible for license reinstatement.
In Connecticut the following treatment facility or program specifically targets the hardcore drunk driver: None.
While law enforcement works against drunk driving across the board, it is central in the battle against hardcore drunk drivers.
The following enforcement techniques are used in Connecticut to detect and apprehend drunk drivers:
Sobriety Checkpoints, Blanket Patrols, Media Blitzes with Enforcement Campaigns, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing.
PROSECUTION AND SENTENCING PRACTICES
A number of factors influence the sentence a drunk driver receives.
In Connecticut there is no Anti-Plea Bargaining Statute for DUI.
In Connecticut the period of time in which a judge or administrator can review an offender’s record (the “look-back” period) is 10 years.
In Connecticut at the time of sentencing, an individual’s conviction records only are available for consideration by the court. This information includes his or her entire criminal record.
In Connecticut there are graduated penalties for DUI based on number of offenses.
In Connecticut there is a one-time diversion program for 1st offenders called the Pre-trial Alcohol Education System; upon successful completion, records of the offense are sealed.
Sanctions against the offender may be derived from criminal action, i.e. court-ordered, or administrative action by the licensing authority as a condition of license reinstatement. Many are aimed at preventing or limiting the opportunity of the hardcore offender to drink and drive. The purpose of others is rehabilitation.
In the State of Connecticut, the following sanctions may only be ordered by the court:
Fines: $500 to $8,000 with no mandatory minimums.
Incarceration - Mandatory minimums: 1st conviction - 48 consecutive hours, 2nd conviction - 10 consecutive days, 3rd conviction - 120 consecutive days, 4th or subsequent conviction - 1 year.
Community Service: 1st conviction - 100 hours may serve in lieu of imprisonment provided community service is performed as part of probation.
Victim Impact Panel: At the discretion of the court.
Action Against Offender’s Vehicle - Vehicle Immobilization, Vehicle Impoundment, Vehicle Forfeiture, Registration Cancellation/Plate Seizure: None
Home Confinement with Electronic Monitoring, Intensive Supervision Probation: None.
Other special assessments/surcharges: None.
The following sanctions may be ordered by the court or by the licensing authority:
— Suspension/Revocation: Connecticut has both pre-conviction administrative and post-conviction court-ordered beginning with the 1st offense. Reinstatement Fee: $100.
— Conditional Licensing: A special permit is available based on “a showing of significant hardship.”
— Alcohol Ignition Interlock, Autotimer, Fuel Lock, Special Plate Markings: None.
— Education: 1st offenders - Pre-trial Alcohol Education System, $450.
— Treatment: May be specifically ordered at the judge’s discretion. However, a program which is required for license reinstatement for repeat offenders involves two weekend residential components (intensive weekend intervention) and costs $750.
— Intensive Weekend Intervention: At the discretion of the court.