Statistics show that 10% of all criminal arrests made in the US are comprised of DUI arrests. This shows just how common DUIs are all across America. That said, it is important to understand that DUIs will differ everywhere you go. If you live in Connecticut, the DUI process may look a little different than in Ohio. If you have been charged with a DUI in Connecticut, there are important things you will need to understand about what happens afterward. This article will break down every aspect of a DUI case you need to know about. Keep reading to discover about DUI cases and what happens when you get a DUI in Connecticut.
What Classifies as a DUI in Connecticut?
Drugs and alcohol are against the law when operating a vehicle if they impair your driving ability. This is because alcohol and drugs affect your ability to safely focus on the road and operate a vehicle. In Connecticut, a DUI stands for driving under the influence. You can receive a DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s important to understand that these offenses can be prosecuted without direct evidence. Direct evidence would be the blood alcohol concentration of the person driving or BAC. This evidence is not always required if the person is obviously impaired. If you are operating a vehicle in Connecticut, this is also considered to be your automatic consent to a BAC test by operation of statute if the police have probable cause to make an arrest for DUI. You are legally intoxicated if the BAC shows .08 or above. This only applies to adults over the age of 21. You are considered intoxicated if your BAC is .02 or higher as a driver under 21. In some cases, even if you refuse a chemical test, police can claim intoxication based on your condition and actions. There are different tests that they can do without the BAC to determine this, such as a field sobriety test, but it is not always concrete. A field sobriety test is a subjectively scored test that many sober people will fail and is considered unreliable. The best Connecticut DUI lawyers will always advise you to refuse a field sobriety test and not answer any police questions about whether or not you were drinking or using drugs.
Do You Need to Hire a Criminal Lawyer for a DUI?
If you have been charged with a DUI, hiring a criminal defense attorney is very important. An attorney will be the person who makes sure your rights are upheld. You most likely do not know all the legal ins and outs regarding DUI cases. Because of this, you won’t know what is required or how to ensure you get a lesser sentence or get the charge dismissed. A criminal defense attorney will handle your DUI case for you. They can also help you if more severe legal repercussions are on the table. Because DUI cases go on your record and can result in losing your driver’s license, it is very important to take them seriously. Even if this is your first offense, you do not want a permanent criminal charge on your record. This is especially important if you believe you were falsely charged with a DUI. There are plenty of instances where this could happen, meaning these charges could be dropped.
What Does a Criminal Lawyer Do?
You may hesitate to hire a criminal defense attorney if you have a DUI. After all, this is an added expense you will have to worry about during this unpleasant process. The reality is that most people need an attorney on their side. A good DUI lawyer can help set you up for success.
Here are some examples of what your criminal defense attorney will do for your case.
Analyzes the Evidence
Once you have hired a criminal defense attorney, they will look into all aspects of your case. This includes details you may not be able to access as easily, such as the police report. They can analyze the evidence for any defects in the state’s case. An experienced DUI defense attorney can catch anything not concrete in the case. Your attorney will also discuss the aspects of your case with you. This will give them your perspective and provide an opportunity to review any facts supporting your defense.
Educates the Client
Your attorney can also explain anything you may be confused about. You may not understand many legal details or have questions regarding the process. Understanding every aspect of your case is important regarding a DUI. They will also be able to give you recommendations that they may have from their professional experience. We have over 30 years of experience defending DUI cases and can guide you through the process.
Deals With Plea Bargaining
The criminal defense attorney will also be responsible for dealing with plea bargaining. They will negotiate with the prosecutor to come to a middle ground. Plea-bargaining is important if you want to try to reduce the legal repercussions of your DUI. Your attorney may be fighting to have the charges dropped or get you into the IDIP program, which can result in a dismissal of all charges. It is important to have someone with legal knowledge fighting for your rights. This is difficult to do independently without an experienced DUI lawyer, and most people without lawyers are unsuccessful.
Support the Client
A criminal defense attorney also provides support for their client. This is a very overwhelming process, and you may be worried about what this means for your future. You may not have many friends or family to support you, making this a very isolating experience. Your attorney will be your support team, helping you to hold it together. They will be by your side when you go to court. In most instances, you will never be alone and won’t even need to speak for yourself.
What Happens After a DUI?
You may not know where to go if you have been charged with a DUI. There is a process that unfolds after this has happened, and it is important to understand how this works. The first thing that will happen is that you will be detained by the police after being pulled over. The keys and vehicle will be taken immediately, and you will be taken to the police station. You will be held on the presumption that you have been driving while intoxicated. You will be kept in the police lockup until someone can bail you out and drive you home.
If you are charged with a DUI, you will face a 24-hour license suspension. After this, depending on the results of your chemical test, your license may be suspended by the DMV for 45 days, and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device. It is possible to contest the suspension of your license, depending on the facts of your case. If your license cannot be saved, you may apply for a school or work permit. You will be given a summons and a court date after receiving the DUI that you must attend to avoid more severe legal repercussions.
Anytime you are charged with a DUI, you face penalties. This applies whether this is your first or second offense, regardless of the substance. It is important to understand that all DUI cases are considered criminal offenses. Because of this, a DUI will go on your criminal record in the future if you are convicted. You may be able to have this later expunged in some instances.
According to Connecticut‘s DUI laws for first offenses, your driver’s license will be suspended for 45 days. You will also receive a fine as high as $500 plus fees and costs. As for jail time, 48 hours is mandatory, and you could possibly be sentenced to six months in jail, although you may avoid the 48 hours of mandatory jail time if you elect to complete 100 hours of community service. These are the first offense DUI criminal penalties that you will receive. There are also first-offense DUI administrative penalties you may receive. You may have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle to have your license reinstated. This is usually required for intoxicated adults six months after their first offense. For minors, an ignition interlock device is required for one year.
You can defend yourself against a DUI offense if you have no prior convictions. There is a program called the IDIP, which stands for the impaired driving intervention program. This program allows you to dismiss the DUI charge so that it does not go on your record. You must meet specific criteria and submit an application to qualify for this program. One step of this process is being screened by an alcohol education program to see if you qualify. A court hearing will be held to make the final decision regarding your application. The prosecutor can object to your participation depending on the factors of your case.
If you do not qualify for the IDIP program, other options are also available. Your lawyer could argue that you were never actually impaired if there is no concrete evidence. They may also be able to argue that the police violated your rights when stopping your vehicle. The good news is that first-time DUI cases rarely go to trial. This means you will most likely not have to go to court before a jury to receive an official verdict. First-time DUI cases are usually reduced or dismissed entirely, or you may receive minor consequences.
What Happens if This Is Your Second Offense?
If this is your second time receiving a DUI, the situation will be slightly different. Secondary offenses are more serious, and you may be up against more severe penalties. As for criminal penalties, you could face a jail sentence of 120 days to two years. It is important to understand that many second offenses lead to more significant jail time and are felony-level offenses. You may also need to pay a fine of up to $4000 and court fees throughout the process. If the court decides you must serve jail time, you also have probation afterward. The sentencing judge will determine how long your probation period will be. For most people, this is around 18 to 24 months after serving jail time.
Medications and DUIs in Connecticut
A common question people have about DUIs in Connecticut is about driving while on medications. You may be taking certain medications and wonder if this would qualify as driving under the influence. Prescription medications are still considered to be drugs. At the end of the day, if they impair your ability to drive, you will be driving under the influence, according to the law. Any medication that impairs your ability to drive should state as much on the prescription label. A lot of medications come with warnings about what you should not do when you are taking them. This often includes driving. It is your responsibility to make sure you are not taking those medications when operating a vehicle. If you were to be charged with a DUI, the charges would still stick even if these are necessary for your health.
Long-Term Impact of DUI Charges
DUIs are not the most serious criminal offense you could get charged with. But that does not mean that they are not serious regarding your future. This is still a criminal offense and will still have an impact, even if it is just a small one. Here are some examples of how a DUI impacts your life long term.
If you are charged with a DUI, this can cascade things in your life. A DUI could result in losing your job if you need your driving license. There are always other ways of getting to work, but if you have to operate a vehicle for your job, you may lose your job because of this.
Lost Career Opportunities
As mentioned earlier, a DUI is a criminal offense in Connecticut and goes on your record. This is a record that employers regularly check when they are vetting people who they may or may not hire. If you are applying to new jobs in the future, this could be something that comes back to bite you. That job may have tight restrictions on who it hires, or it may require you to do some driving. It is important to consult with an experienced Connecticut DUI attorney to avoid a conviction.
After you receive a DUI or DUI-related suspension, this will go on your driving record. This will always show up anytime someone looks up your driving record to see if you have any past criminal offenses. We have already discussed some of the repercussions of having this on your record, but there are others to consider. Having a past DUI will result in hefty auto insurance rate increases. It may also make it more difficult to get vehicle insurance since you would be considered more of a liability.
In Connecticut, getting an absolute pardon for your DUI conviction is possible. This results in your DUI being wiped from your record permanently so that it does not cause problems in the future. To be eligible for this, three years must pass after you have received a misdemeanor DUI conviction. If you received a felony DUI conviction, you must wait at least five years before asking for a pardon.
How to Prepare to Go to Court for a DUI
If you must go to court for your DUI case, you must be prepared for this task. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are dressed appropriately to show up in court, formal wear is preferred, but the most important thing is that you are clean and tidy. You should also stay quiet and focus on what is happening in the courtroom. Before going to court, your attorney should have already instructed you about what may happen. This will help you have realistic expectations of what will happen on your court date so you are not disappointed.
Facing DUI charges can feel scary and overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with the legalities. Whether this is your first or second-time offense, there are certain things you will want to understand about this process. Your best action is to hire a criminal defense attorney to defend your case. Contact us today at Allan F. Friedman Criminal Lawyer to schedule your free consultation regarding your DUI case.