I hear this question all the time. Of course you do not need a lawyer. Our Constitution guarantees you the right to represent yourself if you so choose. However, our constitution also guarantees you the right to an attorney. If you care about things like your rights, your record, your reputation, and your future you should absolutely want an attorney. One of the most famous defense attorneys of all time, a man by the name of Abraham Lincoln, once said: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
DUIs are Complex Laws
DUI is one of the more complex laws as we have on the books as you are simultaneously dealing with criminal law as well as administrative law. DUI is the only motor vehicle offense where our Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your driver’s license without a conviction at the criminal court. DUI law is a very technical law. There are thousands of cases where judges have interpreted our countless DUI laws and regulations. DMV hearings for instance are entirely fact-based. It does not matter that it is your first offense or that you are a good person or an upstanding member of the community. Similarly in criminal court, a prosecutor may only drop or reduce a DUI if there is a valid legal reason for him or her to do so. Still, many people attempt to go at it alone.
Armed on the other side, they encounter prosecutors, judges (many of whom were former prosecutors), and DMV hearing officers who are appointed by the commissioner of motor vehicles. All of these individuals are lawyers with law degrees and specialized training and criminal in DUI law. Their jobs are not to represent you or help you in your defense. Quite often their interests are in opposition to yours. Their goals are often securing convictions, punishing you, and getting you off the road. If you go to court on your own, a prosecutor is not going to look through your file for potential defenses. The prosecutor is not going to look for exculpatory evidence and issue subpoenas to procure such evidence to help you out. The prosecutor is there to prosecute you. Similarly, if you attend a DMV hearing on your own, the hearing officer is going to presume that you know what issues are relevant and arguable. It will be your responsibility to cite from relevant cases, from the thousands that have previously been decided, as well as to cite the appropriate regulations and statutory sections.
Good DUI Defense
A good DUI defense attorney will do all of that for you. The DUI defense attorneys at The Sills Law Firm do not presume simply that because a police officer arrested you for DUI that it automatically means you are guilty of DUI. Additionally, our attorneys do not believe that simply because you’ve been arrested for DUI for the first time that it means you have a drinking problem or need to go through an alcohol program. Every case is unique, and our attorneys analyze every situation on a case by case basis. We approach every case as if it were going to go to a trial. In doing so, we are able to resolve 99% of our cases without a trial. We challenge the entire process including the stop, the operation, the standardized field sobriety tests, the breath, blood, or urine tests, and all the police work. We ask questions like: “Did the police have reasonable articulable suspicion to stop you? Did the police have probable cause to arrest you? Were your rights violated? Are the breathalyzer results reliable and admissible?”
First DUI Offense?
If a first offense DUI is not defended properly, it could have long-lasting consequences. You could end up with a permanent criminal record, a tarnished driving record, be fined, put on probation, or even go to jail. A DUI could also affect your car insurance rates. Most people arrested for DUI for the first time are productive upstanding members of the community who have a vested interest in the future and the present. To let your future be decided by police officers and prosecutors would be a huge mistake.
First offense DUI is treated as a criminal misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1000 fine if convicted. It also carries a 45-day license suspension followed by a six month to one-year ignition interlock device requirement. In certain situations, you may qualify for a diversionary program such as the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program which could lead to your charges being dismissed. However, the Alcohol Education Program is discretionary with the trial court judge. Applying for this program requires you to testify under oath and in some situations to make a showing of “good cause.”
Contact Connecticut DUI Defense Attorneys
The Sills Law Firm have literally written the book on DUI Law and DUI defense in Connecticut. Connecticut DUI Law is part of the Connecticut Practice Series and is in all the law libraries in the state. Additionally, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and DMV hearing officers utilize our book as a tool in analyzing DUI cases. Our attorneys handle DUI cases in every courthouse in the state of Connecticut including Stamford, Bridgeport, Danbury, Waterbury, Derby, Meriden, Middletown, New London, Danielson, Manchester, Enfield, Hartford, New Britain, Bristol, Torrington, Rockville, Norwalk, Norwich, Milford, and New Haven. Further, our DUI attorneys handle DMV administrative hearings at all DMV locations including Wethersfield, Waterbury, Old Saybrook, and Bridgeport. If you have been charged with a DUI in the state of Connecticut and have proceedings in any of the above towns, the lawyers at The Sills Law Firm will ensure that your rights and protected and someone stands up for you!
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, please contact our Connecticut DUI attorneys at The Sills Law Firm. The Sills Law Firm maintains offices in Hartford, New London, Norwich, Pomfret Center, Waterbury and Westport