Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 599

    February Session, 2018

Substitute House Bill No. 5579

House of Representatives, April 19, 2018

The Committee on Judiciary reported through REP. TONG of the 147th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RESTORATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (i) of section 14-227a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(i) (1) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall permit a person whose license has been suspended in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) or subparagraph (C) of subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section to operate a motor vehicle if (A) such person has served either the suspension required under said subparagraph (C) or the suspension required under subsection (i) of section 14-227b, and (B) such person has installed an approved ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle owned or to be operated by such person, and verifies to the commissioner, in such manner as the commissioner prescribes, that such device has been installed. For a period of one year after the installation of an ignition interlock device by a person who is subject to subparagraph (C) of subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section, such person's operation of a motor vehicle shall be limited to such person's transportation to or from work or school, an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, an ignition interlock device service center or an appointment with a probation officer. Except as provided in sections 53a-56b and 53a-60d, no person whose license is suspended by the commissioner for any other reason shall be eligible to operate a motor vehicle equipped with an approved ignition interlock device.

(2) (A) All costs of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device shall be borne by the person required to install such device. [No] Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, no court sentencing a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section may waive any fees or costs associated with the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device.

(B) A court sentencing a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section may waive any fees or costs associated with the installation or removal of an ignition interlock device and may reduce by fifty per cent the amount of monthly leasing fees payable by such person for such device upon such person's application for a waiver and reduction and if the court finds such person is indigent at the time of such application. The court shall accept as proof of indigency a valid participation card or letter indicating participation in the state-administered federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or the state-administered federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Any such letter shall be on letterhead stationery of the Department of Social Services and in original form.

(3) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this subsection. The regulations shall establish procedures for the approval of ignition interlock devices, for the proper calibration and maintenance of such devices and for the installation of such devices by any firm approved and authorized by the commissioner and shall specify acts by persons required to install and use such devices that constitute a failure to comply with the requirements for the installation and use of such devices, the conditions under which such noncompliance will result in an extension of the period during which such persons are restricted to the operation of motor vehicles equipped with such devices and the duration of any such extension. The commissioner shall ensure that such firm provide notice to both the commissioner and the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch whenever a person required to install such device commits a violation with respect to the installation, maintenance or use of such device.

(4) The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to authorize the continued operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device by any person whose operator's license or nonresident operating privilege is withdrawn, suspended or revoked for any other reason.

(5) The provisions of this subsection shall apply to any person whose license has been suspended in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) or subparagraph (C) of subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section on or after January 1, 2012.

(6) Whenever a person is permitted by the commissioner under this subsection to operate a motor vehicle if such person has installed an approved ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle owned or to be operated by such person, the commissioner shall indicate in the electronic record maintained by the commissioner pertaining to such person's operator's license or driving history that such person is restricted to operating a motor vehicle that is equipped with an ignition interlock device and, if applicable, that such person's operation of a motor vehicle is limited to such person's transportation to or from work or school, an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, an ignition interlock device service center or an appointment with a probation officer, and the duration of such restriction or limitation, and shall ensure that such electronic record is accessible by law enforcement officers. Any such person shall pay the commissioner a fee of one hundred dollars prior to the installation of such device.

(7) There is established the ignition interlock administration account which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account in the General Fund. The commissioner shall deposit all fees paid pursuant to subdivision (6) of this subsection in the account. Funds in the account may be used by the commissioner for the administration of this subsection.

(8) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes to the contrary, upon request of any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section whose operator's license is under suspension on January 1, 2012, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may reduce the term of suspension prescribed in subsection (g) of this section and place a restriction on the operator's license of such person that restricts the holder of such license to the operation of a motor vehicle that is equipped with an approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, for the remainder of such prescribed period of suspension.

(9) Any person required to install an ignition interlock device under this section shall be supervised by personnel of the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch while such person is subject to probation supervision, or by personnel of the Department of Motor Vehicles if such person is not subject to probation supervision, and such person shall be subject to any other terms and conditions as the commissioner may prescribe and any provision of the general statutes or the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection not inconsistent herewith.

(10) Notwithstanding the periods prescribed in subsection (g) of this section and subdivision (2) of subsection (i) of section 14-111 during which a person is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, such periods may be extended in accordance with the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2018

14-227a(i)

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(i)(2)(B), clarifications to the language were made.

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill allows a court sentencing a person convicted of driving under the influence to waive or reduce certain ignition interlock device (IID) fees, if the court finds that he or she is indigent. This is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact to the state as the offender pays the IID fees to a vendor participating in the IID program.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5579

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RESTORATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE.

SUMMARY

This bill allows a court sentencing a person convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) to waive or reduce certain ignition interlock device (IID) fees, upon the offender's application, if the court finds that he or she is indigent.

By law, DUI penalties include a license suspension or revocation, followed by a period during which an offender may drive only vehicles equipped with an IID. Under current law, all IID installation and maintenance costs must be paid by the offender (see BACKGROUND).

Under the bill, a court may (1) waive IID installation or removal fees or costs and (2) reduce by 50% any IID monthly leasing fees owed by the offender. (It is unclear who or what will pay the waived or reduced costs instead of the offender, as currently, private vendors install the IIDs and offenders pay the vendors directly.)

The bill requires the court to accept as proof of indigence a valid card or letter indicating that the offender participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Any letter submitted must be on Department of Social Services (the agency that administers the two programs) letterhead and in its original form.

The bill applies only to those whose IID use is required as a result of a DUI conviction. It does not apply to penalties for other crimes or violations that require a period of IID use, including (1) 2nd degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle (CGS 53a-56b) and (2) 2nd degree assault with a motor vehicle (CGS 53a-60d).

It also does not apply to administrative per se license suspension (CGS 14-227b) (see BACKGROUND). However, because in practice an administrative per se suspension and its period of required IID use is typically imposed before any penalties for a related DUI conviction, it is unclear how the waiver or reduction would apply; in most cases, the IID would already be on the offender's car before he or she would be eligible for a fee waiver or reduction.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

BACKGROUND

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock is a breath-testing device connected to a motor vehicle's ignition system. It prevents the driver from operating the vehicle if it detects a pre-determined level of alcohol in the driver's breath.

Offenders must pay DMV a $100 fee before the device is installed and DMV uses this money to administer the interlock program. Costs for installing and maintaining an IID are determined by, and paid directly to, the IID vendor and may include an installation fee for the device, a monthly lease payment, a charge for periodic calibration, and a charge when the device is removed after the required period for its use has elapsed. The monthly fee for the device can vary depending on the length of the lease period.

DUI Law and Penalties

Connecticut's DUI law prohibits driving while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, drug, or both and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% (or, if driving a commercial vehicle, 0.04%). Penalties for those convicted of DUI include license suspension, fines, and prison terms and vary based on the number of previous offenses, as shown in table 1.

Table 1: DUI Criminal Penalties (CGS 14-227a(g))

Conviction

Prison Sentence

Fine

License Suspension / IID

First

Either (1) up to six months with a mandatory minimum of two days or (2) up to six months suspended with probation requiring 100 hours of community service

$500-1,000

45 days, followed by one year driving only vehicles equipped with an IID

Second (within 10 years of a prior conviction)

Up to two years, with a mandatory minimum of 120 consecutive days and probation with 100 hours of community service

$1,000-4,000

45 days, followed by three years driving only vehicles equipped with an IID, with driving limited for the first year to specified purposes (e.g., work or school)

Third and Subsequent

(within 10 years of a prior conviction)

Up to three years, with a mandatory minimum of one year and probation with 100 hours of community service

$2,000-8,000

License revoked, but the offender is eligible for reinstatement after two years. If reinstated, he or she must drive only IID-equipped vehicles for as long as the offender drives, unless the DMV commissioner lifts the IID requirement

Administrative Per Se

By law, motorists implicitly consent to be tested for drugs or alcohol when they drive. The law establishes administrative license suspension procedures for drivers who refuse to submit to a test or whose test results indicate elevated blood alcohol content. The license suspension period for all per se violations is 45 days. As a condition of license restoration, drivers may operate only ignition interlock equipped vehicles for specified periods after the suspension ends (CGS 14-227b).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

41

Nay

0

(04/04/2018)

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