Connecticut Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
In Connecticut, beer is available for purchase in grocery and convenience stores with spirits and wine available at retail package stores. Restaurants and bars serve alcohol from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Alcohol cannot be sold anywhere on Sundays or holidays.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 to drink in Connecticut, but only 18 to serve alcohol in a restaurant or work as a bartender or in a package store. At 15 you may work in a grocery store that sells beer.
Open Container Laws
While it is illegal for a driver to consume alcohol, passengers in the car may drink and have open containers.
The maximum blood-alcohol content (BAC) for Connecticut is .08 percent. For any percentage over this amount a driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated,’ meaning that alone is sufficient evidence to convict a driver of DUI (driving under the influence).
Due to ‘zero tolerance laws,’ drivers under the age of 21 with a .02 percent blood-alcohol level or above are subject to DUI penalties.
In Connecticut those tested with a BAC at .16 percent above the legal limit or drivers refusing to cooperate with chemical testing receive more stringent punishment, which can include suspension of the driver’s license for up to one year.
‘Implied consent laws,’ which a driver agrees to upon accepting a driver’s license, include showing a driver’s license and proof of insurance upon request and submitting to breath, blood, or urine testing to prove intoxication. If a driver refuses to cooperate, s/he may face suspension of the driver’s license for up to one year.
With the first DUI offense the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) imposes mandatory license suspension for one year; for the second offense, three years; for the third offense, the driver’s license is revoked.
A vehicle cannot be confiscated upon conviction of DUI in Connecticut, although this does happen in other states. However, an ignition interlock device can be installed at the driver’s expense upon the second DUI conviction. Mandatory alcohol education is a possible punishment.
DUI is considered a felony after the third conviction.