In the United States, more than one million people were arrested for
driving under the influence in 2014. While there’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks, getting
behind the wheel of a car with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) increases
your risk of injury or death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) estimated 1/3 of first-time convicted drunk drivers commit the
same crime later. This statistic isn’t surprising, considering alcohol
often impairs judgment and skews perceptions. Those who repeat the same
misdemeanor offense, however, are likely to face a more serious felony
What’s the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
Crimes are rated on a scale of the seriousness of the offense. Typically,
a DUI would be listed as a misdemeanor. However, many states have imposed
a limit on the number of DUI convictions accrued before the charge becomes
a felony. Misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, and
those who commit the latter will usually receive harsher punishments.
Misdemeanor charges generally have jail sentences of up to one year while
felonies are punishable by more than one year.
CT DUI: Felony or Misdemeanor?
McCoy v. Commissioner of Public Safety, 300 Conn. 144 (2011), DUI clients must be advised that DUIs are criminal
in nature. A first offense conviction is viewed as an unclassified misdemeanor
while a second offense and subsequent convictions are viewed as unclassified felonies.
In Connecticut, DUI becomes a felony when a person is convicted of a second
DUI violation within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense.
So, if you receive a second conviction it is treated as a felony and you
are considered a convicted felon.
The penalties for felony DUI in Connecticut include:
- A fine of between $1,000 and $4,000
- Up to two years in prison (mandatory 120 days)
- Probation, including 100 hours of community service
- A 45-day license suspension
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installation for 3 years
DUI is also a felony if an intoxicated driver causes serious physical injury
or death to another person (assault with a motor vehicle and manslaughter
with a motor vehicle, respectively). So, even if you have no prior DUIs,
if your first DUI causes harm to another person, you will be charged with a felony.
If you’re at risk of a felony conviction, ensure you have an experienced
Connecticut DUI attorney on your side. Contact Tomeo Sills, LLC today
at (844) 913-7747 or fill out our online form for a free and confidential