If you have been arrested in Connecticut for driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or simply drunk driving, you are facing charges that could result a criminal record, having to pay fines and being sentenced to jail.
An attorney may be able to help you avoid these consequences by having you apply for the Connecticut Alcohol Education Program and convincing the judge who hears your case to let you use the program. The Alcohol Education Program usually requires that you take 10 or 15 classes related to the dangers of driving while intoxicated. You may be required to undergo more intensive alcohol treatment if the court system believes that to be necessary. If you complete the program successfully, your DUI / DWI case is dismissed, leaving you with a clean record (no criminal record for drunk driving).
Not everyone who is arrested for DUI / DWI can apply for the Connecticut Alcohol Education Program. And not everyone who can apply for the program will be automatically given the program. An experienced DUI / DWI lawyer will help you present your case in the best possible way to the judge who will decide whether to let you use the program. A judge may consider the following factors in deciding whether you should be allowed into the Connecticut Alcohol Education Program:
The following chart explains if you can apply for the Connecticut Alcohol Education Program to avoid having DUI / DWI criminal charges on your record.
Can You Apply for the Connecticut Alcohol Education Program
|Your Situation||Can You Apply for the Conn AEP ?|
|Never Before Arrested Anywhere for DUI / DWI||Yes|
|Arrested Only Once Before and Used the Conn AEP Program More Than 10 Years Ago||Yes|
|Used the Conn AEP Program During the Last 10 Years||No|
|Used a Program Like the Conn AEP in Another State||Maybe. Depends on the law of that State.|
|Previously Pled Guilty to, or Convicted of, DUI / DWI in Conn.||No.|
|Previously Pled Guilty to, or Convicted of, DUI / DWI in Another State.||Probably Not. However, if you were arrested for DUI / DWI but then pled guilty to or were convicted of a less serious charge, you may be able to apply for the Conn. AEP.|
|There was an Accident and Someone was Seriously Injured.||Maybe. Depends on the seriousness of the injuries.|
If you cannot apply for the Connecticut Alcohol Education Program or if you do not successfully complete the program, then the prosecutor and the judge will handle your case like any other Connecticut criminal court case. If you plead guilty to DUI / DWI, or are convicted of DUI / DWI after a trial, the following chart explains the criminal and DMV penalties you are facing (license suspension occurs when the court notifies the Connecticut Depatment of Motor Vehicles of the conviction):
Connecticut DUI / DWI Criminal Penalties
|Conviction||Mandatory Sentence||Maximum Sentence||Fines||License Suspension||Ignition Interlock Device|
|1st||48 Hours or 100 Hours Community Service||6 Months||$500 to $1000||45 days||1 year|
|2nd||120 days plus 100 Hours Community Service||2 years||$1000 to $4000||Longer of 45 days or until 21 years of age (1st year work or school only)||3 years|
|3rd (within 10 years)||1 year plus 100 Hours Community Service||3 years||$2000 to $8000||Lifetime (may apply after 2 years to end suspension)||Lifetime (if suspension ended). May apply after 15 years to remove device.|
Like anyone else charged with a crime, in a prosecution for DUI / DWI, you and your criminal defense attorney will have to decide whether to take the case to trial or to made a deal with the prosecutor in a plea bargain arrangement. This decision involves a number of factors.
The most important factor is the strength of the state’s case against you. The strongest evidence the State may have to prove you were driving drunk is a breath, blood or urine test that shows your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. It may be possible to keep this evidence out by proving that the breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated, that the test was not given when it should have been, or that the results are unreliable for some other technical reason. This is not an easy thing to do. The police receive extensive training in performing the tests and most officers have a lot of experience in this area.
Even if the test results do not come into evidence, or there are no test results because you refused to take a test, the state most likely will have other evidence to prove the DUI / DWI case. Such evidence of drunk driving may include the officer’s testimony that he saw you driving erratically, that you smelled of alcohol, that you admitted you were drinking, that witnesses saw you drinking before you started driving, that you failed the roadside tests, that you refused to be tested to see if you were intoxicated, that you had bloodshot eyes, that you slurred when you spoke, that you had difficulty finding your license and registration, and that you did not know where you were. More and more frequently, the police make a video recording of the arrest for drunk driving and the recording can usually be entered into evidence as proof that you were driving under the influence.
In deciding whether to plead guilty to DUI / DWI, you also need to consider what the prosecutor offers in terms of penalties compared to what kind of sentence and fine a judge may impose if you lose at trial. While everyone has a constitutional right not to plead guilty and to have a trial, a criminal court judge will usually be harsher in terms of jail time and fines after a trial. Part of the reason is that someone who pleads guilty is acknowledging that he or she made a mistake, which is regarded by the courts as a first step in rehabilitation.
Only an experienced Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyer can properly advise you whether you should accept a plea bargain or go to trial. If there are no aggravating factors, an experienced DUI / DWI usually should be able to reach a deal with the prosecutor that provides for the most lenient penalty possible. If you elect to take your DUI / DWI case to trial, you obviously need an experienced Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyer on your side.
Speak to a Person, Not a Machine
I don't like speaking to machines. I don't think you do either. Especially when you need help. Call my law firm during our extended business hours (Mon to Fri, 8:30 am to 6 pm) and you will speak directly to a person. Evenings & weekends, call my cell phone: 860 977-0660.
- Attorney John Serrano
DUI Legal Help at these Connecticut Courts
|Bristol||Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington|
|Derby||Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton|
|Enfield||East Granby, East Windsor, Enfield, Granby, Simsbury, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks|
|Hartford||Avon, Bloomfield, Canton, Farmington, Hartford, West Hartford|
|Manchester||East Hartford, Glastonbury, Manchester, Marlborough, South Windsor|
|Meriden||Cheshire, Hamden, Meriden, North Haven, Wallingford|
|Middletown||Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Portland, Westbrook|
|New Britain||Berlin, New Britain, Newington, Rocky Hill,, Wethersfield|
|New Haven||Bethany, Branford, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, New Haven, North Branford, Woodbridge|
|Norwich||Bozrah, Colchester, Franklin, Griswold, Lebanon, Lisbon, Montville, Norwich, Preston, Salem, Sprague, Voluntown|
|Rockville||Andover, Bolton, Columbia, Coventry, Ellington, Hebron, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union, Vernon, Willington|
|Waterbury||Middlebury, Naugatuck, Prospect, Southbury, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, Woodbury|