Picture this scenario: after happy hour with some colleagues, you hop in your car to head home. The next thing you know, you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. You’re ultimately arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
In Connecticut, even a first-offense DUI is considered a serious crime. If you are convicted, you could face up to 6 months in jail, a $500 to $1,000 fine, a license suspension, and a requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. Fortunately, there are a number of possible defenses that a Connecticut DUI attorney can use to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
With offices in Hartford and Waterbury, the Sills Law Firm represents individuals charged with criminal offenses throughout the state of Connecticut. We are fierce advocates for our clients, working hard to help them achieve the best possible outcome for their case. If you have been charged with a DUI or any other crime, reach out today to schedule a free consultation.
Penalties for a First DUI in Connecticut
Connecticut law prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. If you are charged with driving under influence, you will be charged with a criminal offense. The consequences of a first-time DUI conviction include both criminal and administrative penalties.
First, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will take administrative action when they receive a report of a driver being arrested and charged with operating under the influence (OUI). The DMV will then impose a suspension of the individual’s license for either failing a chemical breath, blood, or urine test or for refusing to submit to a chemical test in violation of Connecticut’s implied consent law.
For a first offense DUI/OUI, your driver’s license will be suspended for 45 days. Unless you appeal the suspension to the DMV, it will take effect 30 days after your arrest. An IID must be installed for a period of 6 months to one year to have your license reinstated. If you are under the age of 21, then the IID must be installed for at least one year.
Second, you will face criminal DUI penalties in Connecticut. If you are convicted or plead guilty to a first-offense DUI, then you will be sentenced to jail for a term of 48 hours to 6 months. Alternatively, you may receive a suspended 6-month sentence with 100 hours of community service. You will also be required to pay a fine of $500 to $1,000, and your license will be suspended for 45 days with a mandatory year period of IID installation.
It is important to understand that a DUI conviction will result in a criminal record. While you may be able to have this record expunged, it can still have a significant impact on your life. That is why it is so important to consult with a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after being charged with DUI/OUI in Connecticut.
Defending Against a First Offense DUI
If you have been charged with a DUI and you don’t have any prior convictions, you may be eligible for a special program: the Pretrial Impaired Driving Intervention Program (IDIP). This program is only available to first-time DUI offenders and is an alternative to having a DUI conviction on your record. If you successfully complete IDIP, then your DUI charge may be dismissed entirely.
Admission to this program is not automatic. You must meet the eligibility criteria and submit a written application. You will then be screened by an alcohol education program to determine if you should be in the program. Finally, the court will hold a hearing to make a decision on your application. The prosecutor will have a chance to object to your participation, which usually happens if there are aggravating factors present.
Beyond the impaired driver intervention program, there may be other ways to have the DUI charge reduced or dismissed. Depending on the facts of your case, your CT DUI lawyer may be able to argue that you weren’t actually impaired or that the police violated your constitutional rights when they stopped your vehicle.
DUI cases rarely go to trial, especially for first-time offenses. However, if it is necessary, then your DUI defense attorney will present evidence and make arguments before asking a jury to return a not guilty verdict.
While it is often possible to have a first-offense DUI reduced or dismissed, it is difficult to do on your own. An experienced DUI attorney with a strong track record – like the legal team at the Sills Law Firm – can advocate for you throughout the process. They will work to get you the best possible outcome, whether that means participating in IDIP, getting the charge knocked down to reckless driving, or having it dismissed entirely.
A Strong Defense for DUI Charges
A DUI conviction can have long-term consequences. In addition to jail time, you could also be facing hefty fines and fees and a driver’s license suspension. A seasoned DUI defense lawyer can help.
At the Sills Law Firm, we know how the system works – and we put that knowledge to work for our clients every single day. We will fight to get you the best possible outcome for your DUI/OUI charges. 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.