Vehicle Searches in Connecticut

Traffic infractions are among the most common infractions committed by citizens in the State of Connecticut and elsewhere the country. Relatedly, citizens frequently run into issues with the law as a consequence of evidence obtained in the course of a traffic stop. The typical scenario involves the following facts: a motorist is stopped for a legitimate traffic violation – speeding, failing to yield, etc. – and then, for a variety of reasons, a police officer recovers a piece of incriminating evidence in the motorist’s vehicle. This incriminating evidence then leads to a more serious criminal charge, such as drug possession or illegal possession of a firearm. 

Police Need a Lawful Basis for the Initial Stop

Because this scenario is so common, the permissibility of vehicle searches after a traffic stop is among the most researched legal issue by laypeople. In this post, we will discuss some of the basic issues involved with motor vehicle searches in Connecticut.

Some people mistakenly believe that police can simply initiate a traffic stop whenever they wish, without having a legitimate basis for the stop. The truth, however, is that police must have a lawful reason to initiate a traffic stop. The basis of this fact stems from the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Court rulings have extended the reach of this amendment to include traffic stops. This means that police cannot simply pull your car over without a good reason. 

In most cases, police will only initiate a stop if they have clear evidence of a traffic violation, such as a reading of your speed (while speeding), confirmation of expired tags, and so forth. Importantly, if police initiate a stop without a lawful basis, then any evidence found during a search will typically be inadmissible at trial.

Police Need Independent Probable Case for a Search

Even if police have lawful basis to conduct a stop, this doesn’t necessarily grant them authority to conduct a search of your vehicle. Contrary to what some may suppose, police need independent probable cause to search your vehicle. This means that they need an articulable reason to believe that evidence of criminal activity may exist within your vehicle. Probable cause is a context-dependent concept which may be present depending on the particular facts of a given case. However, there are certain facts which have been shown to support a determination of probable cause in most cases. For instance, if an officer smells illegal drugs, or sees drugs, these things will typically give probable cause for a search.

New Law Prohibits Police from Requesting Consent

Importantly, police in Connecticut can no longer bypass the probable cause requirement for a search. Effective October 1, 2020, a new “police accountability” law holds that police officers cannot request consent to search a vehicle in the absence of probable cause. Previously, before this law, officers would often simply request a motorist for permission to search a vehicle; if a motorist gave consent, this was typically sufficient to warrant a search. However, the new accountability law prohibits officers from making such requests. But, if a motorist gives consent in an unsolicited manner, this voluntary consent will still suffice. 

Contact the Apex Law Firm for More Info

As with nearly every area, the specific facts of every case are needed to produce a definitive response, but the best basic rule to follow is to never, under any circumstances, give consent to police to search your car. If you would like more information, or need counsel on a given case, contact Apex Law Firm today by calling 860-900-0900.

Penalties and Costs of OUI in Connecticut

As we have previously overviewed the basic OUI/DUI law in Connecticut in our blog post, “An Introduction to OUI Law in Connecticut”, this article will dive a little deeper into the penalties and costs of first time and second time OUI convictions. If you have not read our previous introduction into OUI law in CT, it provides an overview of the law and procedure of OUI and may help you better understand some of the information mentioned in this discussion.

What is OUI/DUI in Connecticut?

OUI/DUI is measured based on a person’s “blood alcohol content” or BAC level. Drivers under the age of 21 are considered to be operating under the influence if their BAC level exceeds 0.02. For drivers over the age of 21 who have a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”), OUI is measured at a BAC level in excess of 0.04. For all other drivers over the age of 21, the limit is 0.08.

First Time Conviction Penalties and Costs

If you have never been arrested for OUI or have not used a diversionary program for OUI in the previous ten years, you may qualify for the Alcohol Education Program (“AEP”). If you have used AEP within 10 years or do not otherwise qualify for the program, you may face a first-time conviction.

The penalty for a first OUI conviction includes; a fine of $500-$1000, 45 days suspension of driver’s license, incarceration for up to 6 months (48 hours are mandatory), required installation of an ignition interlock device (“IID”) for one year, participation in alcohol or drug evaluation and/or counseling if ordered, and probation usually between 12-24 months.

A first OUI conviction is designed to hit your wallet heavily. The cost to reinstate your license after the 45 day suspension period will be $175. Additionally, the costs incurred for the IID start at $100 for processing, a one-time installation fee of $50-$150, monthly fees for maintenance, leasing, and IID monitoring which can range from $50-$150, and the removal fee of $50-$150. In addition to these, there are court fees, counseling fees (if ordered), and potential fines as mentioned above. 

Second Conviction Penalties and Costs

If a person is convicted of a second violation of OUI, the fines increase to $1000-$4000, 45 day suspension of driver’s license, installation of an IID for 3 years, incarceration of up to 2 years (120 days mandatory), probation requiring 100 hours of community service and completion of an assessment to the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch to evaluate the degree of drug or alcohol abuse. 

In addition to increased fines, all payments that were incurred in the first conviction apply as well: IID fees, court costs, and fee to reinstate license.

Contact Apex Law Firm to Learn More About OUI Laws and Convictions

The laws and penalties in place for OUI related convictions are very serious and it is a crime not taken lightly in the State of Connecticut. Costs and punishments for those who are convicted will increase heavily for continuous offenses, resulting in prison time, extensive probation orders, and can eventually result in the loss of driving privilege completely. If you would like more information or have been charged with OUI, contact Apex Law Firm today.

The Basics of Larceny in Connecticut Law

Larceny is a term which is often thrown around, but usually not well understood. Most people have at least a general understanding of what this means, but rarely know the technical definition under Connecticut law. Under Connecticut State law, “larceny” is the same as theft, and both of these terms refer to the willful taking of another person’s property for the benefit of the taker. The treatment of larceny in Connecticut is fairly complex, as our state has chosen to divide this behavior into many degrees of severity. Let’s explore the contours of larceny in detail.

Types of Larceny in CT

The concept of larceny in Connecticut law encompasses a wide variety of behaviors. Essentially, any instance involving the taking of property from another person will come under the definition of larceny. As our readers will know, theft can occur in all sorts of forms. When someone shoplifts a loaf of bread from a grocery store, this is theft; but, when an employee transfers money from a company account to a personal account without notifying his or her manager, this is also theft. These very dissimilar behaviors both fall under the definition of larceny.

To name a few, these behaviors will all fall under the definition of larceny in Connecticut law:

  • Extortion
  • Embezzlement
  • Obtaining property by way of false pretenses
  • Obtaining property by false promise
  • Acquiring property lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake
  • Defrauding the public community
  • Theft of services
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Shoplifting
  • Conversion of a motor vehicle
  • Obtaining property through fraudulent use of an automated teller machine
  • Library theft
  • Conversion of leased property
  • And a few other less common types of theft or fraud…

The Six Degrees of Larceny

Not only does larceny encompass a wide range of behaviors, there are also many degrees of severity of larceny in Connecticut. There are a total of six degrees of larceny. Expectedly, these different degrees of larceny correspond to varying levels of theft. Here are the levels of theft (in terms of value) for each of the six degrees of larceny:

  • 6th degree larceny occurs when someone obtains property valued at $500 or less;
  • 5th degree larceny occurs when someone obtains property of which the value exceeds $500;
  • 4th degree larceny occurs when someone obtains property of which the value exceeds $1,000;
  • 3rd degree larceny occurs when someone obtains property that consists of a motor vehicle valued at $10,000 or less, or property or service which exceeds $2,000, or any other property described in 53a-124;
  • 2nd degree larceny occurs when someone obtains property that consists of a motor vehicle of which the value exceeds $10,000, or property or services which exceed $10,000, or other property as defined in 53a-123;
  • 1st degree larceny occurs when someone obtains property or service, regardless of its nature or value, by means of extortion, or a motor vehicle valued at over $20,000, or property which exceed $20,000, or property by means of defrauding the public community and the value exceeds $2,000.

The statute actually gets complicated when it comes to the higher degrees of larceny because it defines certain terms. For instance, the term “motor vehicle” is actually defined specifically by the statute to include construction and farm equipment and also states the required intent and presumption of such intent under certain circumstances.

The Role of Intent in CT Law

One important thing to understand about larceny in Connecticut law is that larceny requires intent. If you make an honest mistake regarding someone else’s property, you cannot be found guilty of larceny. Intent can get a bit complex in some of its finer points, but the basics are fairly easy to understand. Consider a common example: you borrow equipment from your neighbor, but then accidentally forget to return it when you told your neighbor you would return it. You had every intention of returning the equipment, but simply found yourself busy with other things. In this situation, you couldn’t be convicted of larceny, because it was an honest mistake without the specific intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently. Larceny requires a deliberate attempt to deprive someone else of property for the purpose of benefitting oneself.

Contact the Apex Law Firm to Learn More

For a free case evaluation, call Apex Law Firm today at 305-985-4573 or fill out our case evaluation form at

Speeding vs. Reckless Driving in the State of Connecticut

Most people will encounter some type of issue during the course of their driving careers. Sooner or later, no matter how careful a given person may be, most people will either receive a traffic ticket and many may commit a more serious driving related offense. Regardless of how skilled or careful a person may be, every driver in the State of Connecticut should familiarize him/herself with the basic driving laws of the state. In this post, we will discuss in detail one of the more critical distinctions in Connecticut State driving law: speeding vs. reckless driving. As we will see, this distinction carries extremely important implications, and so drivers should be clearly aware of the differences between these offenses.

Speeding in Connecticut

In Connecticut, the definition of speeding is straightforward: any time you exceed the posted speed limit, you are speeding. If you’re driving 30 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour speed zone, you are speeding. However, it’s important to understand that speeding, by itself, is not a crime. Depending on the circumstances at hand, if you are pulled over and ticketed for speeding by a police officer, you will be cited with either an infraction or a violation and need to pay a fine, but there is no risk of going to jail. Of course, if you commit speeding violations often, you may have your driving privilege suspended or terminated; but, by itself, speeding is not a crime.

Reckless Driving in Connecticut

By contrast, reckless driving is in fact a crime. There are three instances which can lead to a determination of reckless driving: (1) driving in a manner which puts others at a significant risk of injury or harm, and there is awareness of this risk by the driver, (2) driving at any speed which endangers the lives of others, and (3) driving over 85 miles per hour. This third scenario is considered a bright line rule: a person is driving recklessly whenever their speed exceeds 85 miles per hour, even if that person apparently has full control of his or her vehicle, or doesn’t appear to be endangering the lives of others.

When law enforcement (and the court, as well) examines the other two scenarios described above, they will make a determination of reckless driving by paying attention to the various circumstances surrounding each individual case. For instance, a person may be charged with reckless driving because they didn’t make adjustments for conditions on the road, weather, traffic, or other factors.

Possible Penalties for Reckless Driving

Because reckless driving is indeed a crime, offenders can potentially face rather serious penalties. For first time offenders, reckless drivers will be charged with a class D misdemeanor. Those who are convicted of a first offense can face up to 30 days in jail, and (or) fines between $100 to $300. In addition, first offenders may have their driving privilege suspended for 30 to 90 days.

Naturally, the penalties for repeat offenders are more severe. In Connecticut, repeat offenders will face the same set of possible penalties, regardless of how many offenses they have committed. Repeat offenders face up to 1 year in jail, and (or) fines of up to $600, and a driver’s license suspension of 90 days. Importantly, fines will be automatically doubled for any reckless driving offense which occurs in a construction zone.

Contact a Top Connecticut Criminal Lawyer for More Information

As you can see, understanding the distinction between speeding and reckless driving is a very important thing for Connecticut drivers. Knowing this distinction can make a huge difference when you are out driving on the road. For instance, no matter what happens, be sure to never exceed 85 miles per hour, because you know you could be charged with a crime! If you’d like more information, or if you need assistance with a reckless driving charge, reach out to APEX Law Firm today. Call us at 860-900-0900 right now.

The Potential Penalties for Drug Possession in Connecticut

When it comes to punishing drug possession, the State of Connecticut can be harsh. While the State of Connecticut has relaxed its stance on certain drug related offenses, it remains a fairly tough state when dealing with drug crimes on the whole. In this post, we will discuss the potential penalties for drug possession in Connecticut; we will look at the three primary drug categories and the corresponding punishments for each category. For the sake of simplicity, we will look at potential penalties for simple possession. We won’t dive into the things which can complicate a case of simple possession, such as possession in a school zone.

Category #1: Marijuana

As mentioned, Connecticut has actually relaxed its position on marijuana to some degree. For quantities of less than ½ ounce, marijuana possession is no longer a criminal offense. However, possession of quantities greater than ½ ounce is still a criminal offense and can carry stiff penalties (including jail time).

Let’s look at the potential penalties for possession of marijuana; these penalties break down according to quantity: (1) for quantities of less than ½ ounce, the penalty for a first offense is $150, and for a second offense it’s up to $500 (but no jail time); (2) for quantities between ½ ounce and 4 ounces, the penalties for a first offense can be either up to 1 year in jail, or up to $1,000, and for a second offense the penalties can be up to 5 years in jail or up to $3,000; (3) for quantities of greater than 4 ounces, the penalties for a first offense can be either up to 5 years in jail or up to $2,000, and for a second offense the penalties can be either up to 10 years in jail or up to $5,000.

Category #2: Hallucinogenic Drugs

The next category of drugs is referred to as “hallucinogenic drugs.” This category includes several types of substances. These substances are considered to be somewhat more dangerous or more serious than marijuana. Consequently, the potential penalties for possession are harsher for small quantities of these substances. In fact, the penalties for possession of these substances are the same for all quantities. This category includes the following substances: LSD, ecstasy, PCP, and mescaline.

For a first offense, possession of any of these substances, regardless of quantity, can be penalized by up to 5 years in jail or up to $2,000. For a second offense, possession is punishable by up to 10 years in jail or up to $5,000.

Category #3: Narcotics

The third and final category we will look at is referred to as narcotics. Like the category of hallucinogens, narcotics includes several kinds of substances: heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine. Like possession of hallucinogens, possession of narcotics is punishable without reference to the quantity possessed by the offender. Narcotics are considered the most serious illegal substances in Connecticut, and consequently possession of these substances carries the harshest penalties. For a first offense, penalties can be either up to 7 years in jail or $50,000, for second offenses the penalties can be up to 15 years in jail or up to $100,000; and, for third offenses, the penalties can be up to 25 years in jail or up to $250,000.

Contact a Connecticut Lawyer for More Information

As you can see, the State of Connecticut treats possession offenses very seriously. Drug possession crimes are not handled gently, and for this reason you need to obtain adequate counsel if you need assistance in this area. If you’d like more information about drug possession penalties in our state, or if you have a case involving possession, reach out to Apex Law Firm today for more information. Drug related charges can be very scary. Be sure to obtain good counsel to help you navigate the system and produce the best possible outcome for yourself.

An Introduction to OUI Law in Connecticut

Operating under the influence, or “OUI” (also referred to as DUI), is a serious offense in the State of Connecticut. Connecticut has its own policies when it comes to defining, enforcing, and punishing OUI violators. In this post, we’d like to introduce our readers to the basics of OUI law in Connecticut. Connecticut OUI law is fairly complex, and so mastering it in its entirety would require a good amount of effort. Our goal here is just to provide a very basic overview of how Connecticut OUI law operates. In the future, we may come back and dive into this subject more deeply.

Introduction to the Basic Concept of OUI in Connecticut

As with many other states, OUI is defined in Connecticut according to a person’s “blood alcohol content,” or BAC. The BAC level which can lead to an OUI depends on the person’s age and type of driver’s license. For instance, for drivers under the age of 21, an OUI begins at a BAC level of 0.02. For a person over the age of 21, this figure jumps to 0.08, but if a person over the age of 21 holds a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”), then a BAC level of 0.04 is the limit.

Consequences for First, Second and Third Offenses

The possible punishment for OUI offenses in Connecticut varies depending on the number of prior offenses of a person. If a person has no prior offenses, then the possible punishment for a first offender is the following: 48 hours to 6 months of jail time, $500 to $1,000 in fines, 45 day license suspension, 100 hours of community service, and 1 year of ignition interlock device (IID). For a second offense, the possible punishment is 120 days to 2 years in jail, $1,000 to $4,000 in fines, 45 day license suspension, 100 hours of community service, substance abuse assessment, and 3 years of IID. For a third offense, offenders can face 1 to 3 years in jail, $2,000 to $8,000 in fines, and permanent license suspension. An IID is technically unnecessary for a third offense, because the license is always permanently suspended and so the offender’s driving privilege is eliminated altogether. A third offense is also classified as a felony in Connecticut law, and so offenders will have that on their record.

This is merely a framework within which Connecticut judges may operate when they assess punishment for offenders. Judges have wide leeway when they impose fines and sentences, and so the outcome of every case is really dependent on its particular facts and circumstances. In addition to these penalties mentioned above, judges can also impose community service and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Implied Consent and Consequences for Test Failure or Refusal

When a person drives in the State of Connecticut, he or she is considered to have given “implied consent” to submit to a BAC test when an officer has reasonable cause to make this request. A driver in Connecticut cannot refuse a BAC test without facing consequences. Refusal of a lawfully requested test will result in an automatic license suspension of 45 days. If a driver submits to a test but fails, then this will automatically result in the 45 day license suspension; this is true regardless of whether that person is ultimately convicted of an OUI. What’s more, test failure or refusal will also lead to the installation of an IID for a certain period of time depending on the offender’s history.

Contact Apex Law Firm for Additional Information

Again, this is merely an overview of OUI law in the State of Connecticut. Make no mistake, the charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime. If you’re convicted of an OUI, you can eventually lose your driving privilege entirely. If you’d like to learn more, or if you have questions or have been charged with OUI, contact Apex Law Firm today.

How Do I Avoid Jail Time for My DUI Charge?

If you are a first time DUI offender in the state of Connecticut, there is a good possibility that you will not serve time behind bars. There are, of course, special cases or exceptional circumstances. However, many first time DUI offenders in CT are able to avoid incarceration. This often requires the legal expertise of a DUI defense lawyer who can negotiate the case on their behalf. Some of the most common alternatives to incarceration for those facing a DUI conviction in CT are:

The Pretrial Alcohol Education Program (AEP)

First time DUI offenders in CT have the option of entering an alcohol education program. This presents an alternative to a DUI conviction. By attending this program, you can avoid a DUI listing on your criminal record. Further, you will not face punishments, such as jail time or fines. 

Only first time DUI offenders are eligible to participate in the AEP, and repeat offenders do not qualify for this program. Besides, the offender will have to complete this program for their DUI to be dismissed.


Rather than serving jail time, the court can often monitor a first-time DUI offender through probation. The court may assign you a probation officer, and you will have to check in routinely with them. Further, you may face other restrictions such as a promise to stay away from alcohol and other substances, a curfew, etc.

Community Service

Another alternative to time behind bars for DUI offenders is community service. Often, helping the community and participating in something constructive is an option for people guilty of specific crimes, such as a DUI.


If the court determines that your DUI occurred due to alcohol or drug dependency, a judge may order you to get treatment. Rather than going to jail, you can receive help for your addiction and attend a rehab facility. Often, a judge will require you to check in with the court to establish that you are receiving treatment and that it is an effective option.

Ignition Interlock Device

The court may ask you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle when your license suspension period is over. This device will assess your blood alcohol content to ensure that you do not drive when inebriated again.


Instead of spending time behind bars, a judge may ask you to pay a fine to provide compensation to a victim, cover any damages, etc.

Defense Strategies to Fight CT Second-Offense DUI Arrests

The aftermath of an arrest for DUI is often a period of uncertainty, confusion, and worry. In such situations, defendants must understand there are defense tactics that can significantly improve their prospects. As the prosecution must prove each aspect of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt, it is typically possible for an experienced DUI attorney in CT to:

  • Challenge whether the traffic stop leading to the arrest and any associated searches were constitutional
  • Question validity of breath/blood/urine testing that was undertaken and the methods used to report the outcomes
  • Question the manner and/or interpretation of field sobriety tests
  • Raise concerns regarding the chain of custody of collected proof

Such strategies can help you accomplish a reduction or dismissal of charges, but there is no scope for delay in using them. Therefore, it is vital to engage a leading DUI / DWI criminal attorney in CT as soon as possible after the arrest.

A Seasoned DUI Attorney in CT can Help you Avoid Jail Time

In order to avoid the consequences associated with a DUI conviction, you need to work with a skilled lawyer to fight for a favorable case outcome from the initial stages of the judicial process.

For instance, if law enforcement violated your rights at any stage, it may be grounds to have the charges against you dismissed before your trial even commences. Your attorney can successfully ask the court to eliminate any evidence from the lawsuit that was acquired in violation of your rights. In the absence of evidence, a trial is not possible.

Law enforcement officers cannot initiate a traffic stop based on a hunch that you may be driving when intoxicated. They will need to observe you violate the law or drive in a manner that indicates that you are inebriated. The arresting officer may admit, under cross-examination by a qualified attorney, that they did not have a valid reason to pull you over.

In such cases, the evidence from the traffic stop will likely be removed, and the court may dismiss your case. To understand what defenses are applicable to your DUI case, consult a skilled DUI lawyer at APEX Law Firm, LLC. Call (860) 900-0900 for a free initial consultation.

What Types of Criminal Charges Can I Get Expunged in CT?

In Connecticut, the law offers certain people the chance to clear their names by enabling them to have their criminal records expunged. With an expungement, your official record will be fully erased, and it will no longer be available to employers, future landlords, or other individuals undertaking a background check on you.

The most appropriate way to understand whether you are eligible to have your records expunged is to consult a qualified CT expungement lawyer.

The Waiting Period before Applying for an Expungement

A person may not be granted an expungement until after a specific period following the conviction that they seek to have erased. The required waiting periods are as follows:

  • Thirteen months after a person has had any criminal case “nolled”
  • Three years from the date of a conviction for a misdemeanor
  • Five years from the date of receiving a felony conviction

In case a person has had a previous expungement application denied and is interested in reapplying with the help of a skilled lawyer, they are required to wait for one year before filing another appeal. In some instances, the Board of Pardons may inform the applicant of a more prolonged waiting period between applications.

Eligibility of Expungement in Connecticut

Not every criminal conviction is eligible for expungement in Connecticut. Your eligibility for expungement will depend on the severity of the crime committed and whether it was a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Certain cases are eligible for expungement automatically, and an expungement application is not necessary.

The following are some cases that are automatically eligible for expungement:

  • A case in which the defendant was charged with a crime, but the verdict was “not guilty”
  • A case that the court dismissed
  • A case in which the charges were nolled, and a minimum of 13 months have passed
  • A case that was put on hold and a minimum of 13 months have passed without any disposition or any prosecution of the matter

In general, the records in the above cases will automatically be expunged without having to file an expungement application. In case they are not erased automatically, you can bring a petition in court and ask for it to be erased.

Expungement Pardon in CT

In the event that your case is not eligible for automatic expungement in any of the above categories, you may be able to seek an expungement pardon. The criminal history of individuals qualifying for such a release can be completely erased.

The following cases are eligible for expungement pardon:

  • Misdemeanor convictions after three years from the date of the conviction
  • Felony convictions after five years from the date of the conviction

The decision on whether you qualify for an expungement pardon depends on the judgment of the Connecticut Board of Pardons. The Board can decide to grant or deny a provisional or an absolute pardon. In case it is rejected, you will not be able to appeal to a higher agency, but you can apply again for the pardon at a later date. If the pardon is granted, your record will not be available for public view any longer. 

All states do not allow felony convictions to be expunged, irrespective of the time that has elapsed. But fortunately, in CT, it is possible for residents to receive an expungement pardon.

Expungement in a Serious Conviction in Connecticut

A valid question in the minds of many people is whether they might be unable to get an expungement because they received a conviction for a violent or serious crime. A wide array of criminal convictions is eligible for expungement. The Board of Pardons and Parole reviews the application in a comprehensive manner to understand whether you should get an expungement.

In case other factors are in your favor, it is possible to get a serious conviction erased from your record. For this reason, you should unhesitatingly discuss a possible expungement with a lawyer if you have been convicted for robbery, drug-related crimes, assault, gun offenses, or similar serious crimes. However, the conviction must be at the state level for the state court to be able to grant an expungement.

In case you are not granted an expungement, you may reapply in the future after a specific duration and rehabilitation.

Expungement of Your Criminal Record in Connecticut

People interested in having their record expunged will have to file a petition for erasure in court. To be able to have your record unavailable for public view, you will either need to file an absolute or a provisional pardon. Subsequently, the Connecticut Board of Pardons will reassess your case, and at their discretion, your petition can either be granted or denied. 

At APEX Law Firm, our skilled criminal attorneys will work hard for you and try their best to ensure that your life is more comfortable. We have extensive experience in assisting clients in cases of expungement/erasure of their criminal record cases in Connecticut. For a no-charge case review, call today at (860) 900-0900 or fill out our free case evaluation form online. 

What Happens in CT if I Get a 2nd or 3rd DUI?

Connecticut has some of the harshest of DUI laws in the nation. In fact, according to a 2015 study, the Constitution State is the third strictest with regards to drunk driving offenses, behind only Alaska and Arizona. Penalties for a DUI conviction in CT can include heavy fines, jail time, loss of your driving privileges, probation, and other consequences.

A first-time conviction in Connecticut is a misdemeanor. A first-time DUI conviction (also commonly referred to as OUI or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs) also carries fines of up to $1000, a 45-day driver’s license suspension followed by one year with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and up to six months in jail, 48 hours of which may not be suspended or reduced, and 100 hours of community service.

Second and Subsequent DUI Offenses in Connecticut

A second-time DUI/OUI conviction within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense is a felony, with fines of up to $4,000, a 45-day driver’s license suspension followed by three years with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and up to two years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 120 days in prison, 100 hours of community service and treatment if ordered by the Court.

For a third or subsequent DUI/OUI conviction, things get far worse. Fines can be as high as $8000, your driver’s license can be permanently revoked, and up to three years in prison, one year of which may not be suspended or revoked. The Court may suspend two years of the three-year sentence, with the possibility of reinstatement if the defendant violates probation. As for the permanent driver’s license revocation, the driver can petition the Connecticut DMV to have his/her driver’s license reinstated after two years. There is no guarantee this petition will be granted, however, and the driver must prove that they are no longer a danger to the public safety or welfare.

Aggravated Circumstances and Enhanced DUI Penalties

The penalties for first, second, third and subsequent DUI/OUI convictions can be enhanced if there are aggravated circumstances that accompany the arrest. Examples may include:

  • A DUI accident involving serious bodily injury or death;
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than double the legal limit;
  • Child endangerment;
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident;
  • Fleeing a police officer;
  • Refusal to submit to the required chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test after the DUI arrest.

Beyond the criminal and administrative penalties, a second, third, or subsequent DUI conviction can incur other negative consequences for your life and future. For example, having a criminal conviction on your record can make it more difficult to obtain housing, employment, and college scholarships. If you are a commercial driver, a DUI conviction can jeopardize your livelihood, even if you are arrested for drunk driving while you were off duty. And if your job requires a professional license, you may lose your license once your licensing board becomes aware of your conviction.

A felony conviction in Connecticut is very difficult to get removed. The only way is to apply for an expungement pardon with the CT Board of Pardons and Parole. You must wait five years from the date of your felony conviction to apply.

Speak with a Skilled Connecticut DUI Defense Lawyer

Being arrested for a second, third, or subsequent DUI in CT is serious business. Prosecutors are not nearly as forgiving the second or third time around, and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner who thoroughly understands the inner workings of the Connecticut criminal justice system and the most effective DUI defense strategies for your situation. At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, we have several years of experience successfully defending clients charged for DUI in Connecticut. We work tirelessly on your behalf, exploring every potential legal avenue toward the goal of mitigating the circumstances as much as possible.

Call our office today at (860) 900-0900 to schedule a confidential and discreet consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact form or stop by our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.

5 Common Mistakes You Can Make in a Criminal Defense Case

When charged with a criminal offense, you should understand your rights and responsibilities as part of your defense and ultimate trial.  Defendants can make fundamental mistakes that may be costly in various ways.  Here are five tips to help avoid making costly mistakes in a criminal defense case.

  1. Pay attention to the details.

Making notes about anything and everything is extremely important.  The names of arresting officers, copies of arrest reports, and any other information about your case can be helpful: The more information the better.

  1. Never volunteer information.

Once arrested, asking for an attorney should stop any and all questions from police.  Anything you say will be used against you, including any admission of guilt.  Ask for an attorney and stop talking.  If you continue to be probed for information, repeat your request or simply refuse to speak to them.  Make mental notes of times and names as this can help your case.

  1. Be honest with your attorney.

Your attorney’s job is to help you.  The conversations you have with your attorney about your case are confidential.  It is best to tell the attorney everything you can because the prosecution will use the same facts to convict you.  Your criminal defense attorney may be able to object to or suppress evidence against you presuming they have all accurate facts.

  1. Listen to your attorney’s advice.

Your attorney is fighting for you and for your rights, regardless of the evidence stacked against you.  Anything he or she tells you is important, so be sure to listen when they speak.

  1. Don’t take a plea deal unless it benefits you.

Many defendants are offered a chance to plead to a lesser charge and sentence.  This decision is tied closely to #4.  Your attorney will advise you on the best action to take in this case. If the evidence is overwhelmingly stacked against you, sometimes it is a smart idea to take a plea, but don’t let the prosecution bully you into taking one, especially if you are willing to fight for your innocence.

No one wants to be involved in a stressful criminal defense case where it seems like everyone and everything is against you. An experienced criminal defense attorney can streamline the process so don’t jeopardize your case by making fundamental mistakes such as the ones above.