You may not think much of getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks. But if you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (DUI), you will quickly learn just how costly deciding to drive yourself instead of getting an Uber can be. In addition to a driver’s license suspension, you could be facing steep fines and court costs – plus jail time.
The specific penalty for a Connecticut drunk or drugged driving conviction depends on the charge. At the lower end of the scale, a misdemeanor DUI could lead to up to 6 months in jail.
A felony DUI may result in a sentence of up to 3 years – or as many as 10 years if a person died as a result of the DUI.
Without a doubt, a DUI is a serious criminal charge in the state of Connecticut. If you have been charged with a DUI, you will need a DUI defense attorney in Hartford to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Reach out to The Sills Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
DUI Offenses and Penalties
In Connecticut, driving under the influence (DUI) may also be referred to as operating under the influence (OUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). You can be charged with a DUI if you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor and/or any drug (including prescription and over-the-counter medication) such that your ability to drive is impaired. Alternatively, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or above (.02 if you are under the age of 21), you can be charged with a DUI.
A DUI may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the seriousness of the crime and whether it is a first or greater offense. Connecticut has a 10-year “lookback” period for DUI offenses. This means that any previous alcohol-related driving convictions within the past 10 years will be considered a prior offense when a current DUI charge is filed.
The maximum penalty for a DUI conviction will depend on how the offense is charged. In addition to jail time, people convicted of a DUI will have their driver’s license suspended for a period of time, may be required to serve a period of probation, and will have to pay a fine and court costs. In addition, they will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for a period of time after their driving privileges are restored.
The penalties for a DUI conviction are as follows:
- First offense DUI: up to 6 months in jail, a fine of $500 to $1,000, and a 45-day license suspension plus one year of driving with an IID.
- Second offense DUI (under age 21): up to 2 years in prison, probation with 100 hours of community service, a fine of $1,000 to $4,000, and a 45-day license suspension (or until age 21, whichever is longer), plus 3 years of driving with an IID.
- Second offense DUI (21 or older): up to 2 years in prison, probation with 100 hours of community service, a fine of $1,000 to $4,000, plus a 45-day license suspension and 3 years of driving with an IID.
- Third or greater DUI: up to 3 years in prison, probation with 100 hours of community service, a fine of $2,000 to $8,000, plus a revoked driver’s license (eligible for reinstatement after 2 years). Once the license has been reinstated, then the individual must drive with an IID for a minimum of 15 years.
- DUI with Manslaughter or Vehicular Assault: up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $2,000 to $8,000, and a 2-year suspension of the individual’s driver’s license with an IID for 2 years.
In addition, a person convicted of a DUI in Connecticut must complete a treatment program before their driving privileges will be restored.
The penalties for drugged driving in Connecticut are the same as for a DUI. In other words, if you are charged with driving under the influence of any drug, you will be facing the same maximum penalties as if you had been charged with drunk driving.
How a DUI Defense Attorney Can Help
As the maximum penalties listed above demonstrate, the consequences for a DUI in Connecticut are steep. At a minimum, you will lose your driver’s license and have to pay a significant fine. You could also spend anywhere from 6 months to 10 years in jail depending on how the offense is charged.
A skilled Hartford DUI defense attorney will advocate for your rights – and for your freedom. For a first offense, you may be eligible to participate in a special program, the Pretrial Impaired Driving Intervention Program, that may ultimately lead to the dismissal of the charges against you. Entry to this program is not automatic; your lawyer can work with you to help you understand your eligibility and to present a strong case to the court.
This type of alternative sentencing is not available for more serious DUI offenses. Even so, your attorney may be able to develop a factual or legal defense to the charges to help minimize the consequences of a DUI. This may include arguing that you were not actually impaired, that the breath test machine was at fault, or that your constitutional rights were violated. Depending on the facts of your case, the charges could be reduced or dismissed entirely with the assistance of a zealous advocate.
You do not simply have to plead guilty to a Connecticut DUI charge. In fact, doing so could mean that you will face the stiffest penalties – including a lengthy sentence of imprisonment. In addition, you will have a DUI conviction on your record, which could lead to felony charges if you are stopped for DUI in the future.
Reach Out to the Sills Law Firm Today
A DUI conviction can have serious repercussions. In addition to a possible jail term, you will have to pay thousands in fees and costs, lose your license, and be required to undergo treatment. You may also face collateral consequences, like increased car insurance costs and an inability to get to work or school.
The Sills Law Firm fights for clients throughout Connecticut who have been charged with DUI and other criminal offenses. We will work with you to help you get the best possible outcome for our DUI, OUI, or DWI charge. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, give our law office a call at (860) 524-8118 or fill out our online contact form.