Drinking and driving is never a good idea, and in Connecticut, it can be particularly risky. Because the state ranks among the highest in the country for alcohol-related traffic deaths, Connecticut now has some strong penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). Getting arrested for a DUI can be both scary and devastating. Whether this is your first DUI, second offense, or there are special circumstances, here are a few things you should know about the Connecticut DUI process.
What Happens at a Connecticut DUI Arrest?
If you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI in Connecticut, the police officer will render an opinion on your condition. The officer may ask you to take a range of field sobriety tests (FSTs), and it is usually in your best interests to refuse these tests. Refusing a chemical test, however, can have severe consequences, so this isn’t recommended. If arrested for DUI, your vehicle will be towed, and you’ll be jailed until you are bailed out or released after a hearing.
How You Can Lose Your License
If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will automatically lose your license for 6 months, whether you are convicted of DUI or not. Other legal remedies may be able to help you regardless of the results of your chemical test. If you did not refuse the chemical test, a notice of the DUI arrest would be sent to the DMV, which will suspend your license beginning 30 days from the arrest date. When you receive your DMV suspension notice, you’ll have 7 days to schedule a DMV hearing (from the notice date), called an Administrative Per Se Hearing. At this hearing, you can make your case to keep your driver’s license, although this is unrelated to your criminal DUI case.
Potential DUI Penalties in Connecticut
The legal limit for DUI in Connecticut is .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). If you are under the age of 21, any trace of alcohol in your system is considered grounds for DUI. Also, there are more serious penalties for a BAC of .16 and above. DUI penalties in Connecticut can be severe. First-time offenders can face jail time of 2 days up to 6 months, fines and penalties up to $1,000, and license suspension up to 1 year. A second offense can entail jail time from 6 months to 2 years, fines and penalties up to $4,000, a 1-year license suspension, and an ignition interlock device. Additional offenses can expect extended jail time, hefty fines, and a permanent driver’s license suspension. Charges will be escalated for such things as having a minor in the vehicle, causing an accident or property damage, and traffic fatalities. Fortunately, first-time DUI offenders may be able to catch a break with the state’s unique diversionary program.
Possible Remedies for First-Time Offenders
Connecticut has a program for first-time DUI offenders called the Alcohol Education Program (AEP). This pre-trial program is this first-time offender’s second-chance. If accepted, you’ll attend weekly classes for a 10 or 15 week period. Once finished, your charges will be dismissed and erased from your record. If you’ve received your first DUI, you have to go through a rigorous application process to be accepted into the program, and this is considered a privilege, not a right. For this reason, many enlist the services of a top Connecticut DUI lawyer to help with this process and present the case at the hearing.
How Can an Attorney Help You Beat a Connecticut DUI?
In many respects, DUI arrests are subjective in nature, which open these cases up to a variety of defenses. An attorney can argue lack of probable cause, an absence of tangible evidence, and even point out issues with testing device calibration. There are several potential defenses to a DUI case, which will vary depending on your particular circumstances.
The state of Connecticut takes DUI’s very seriously. Between 2014 and 2015, there were more 10,000 arrests statewide. The good news is that nearly 60 percent of those cases were dismissed through a pre-trial diversion program or other technicalities. Achieving these positive results requires that you find an experienced DUI defense attorney who will fight for your right. Contact the Apex Law Firm at (860) 900-0900.