The Sills Law Firm is Experienced in DUI Drug Cases
- Nolle and License Restoration in Marijuana DUI Case
- Not Guilty in Prescription Medication DUI Jury Trial
- Nolle in 3rd Offender Felony Drug DUI Case
These are just a few the many successful results obtained by The Sills Law Firm, LLC through their experienced defense of DUI drug cases in Connecticut.
Driving under the influence of marijuana, prescription medications and other drugs is illegal and treated as a criminal offense in Connecticut. These cases are prosecuted under Connecticut General Statutes § 14-227a – the same law used to prosecute drunk drivers. Connecticut’s DUI or OUI law prohibits operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. “Drugs” can encompass marijuana, prescription medication, or any other illegal drug.
However, unlike in DUI alcohol cases, police officers in Connecticut are generally not able to test for the amount or quantity of drugs in person’s system at the time of arrest. Police officers will ask you to submit to a urine test which will detect the presence of a drug in your system, but not necessarily the level of drug in your system. Officers, therefore, often have to rely on other factors such as the presence of drugs in your vehicle, admissions of drug use, odors associated with drug use, the condition of your eyes, and certain behavioral tests designed to detect drug impairment.
DUI by drug impairment is often a much more subjective crime that DUI by alcohol in Connecticut. As a result, these types of cases can present an experienced Connecticut DUI defense with more opportunities and options to mount a successful defense.
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CT Marijuana and Drug DUI Penalties
Individuals convicted of operating under the influence of drugs in Connecticut face the same penalties as those convicted of operating under the influence of alcohol.
- First Drug DUI Conviction: If you are convicted of DUI by Drug, for a first offense, the judge can sentence you to up to 6 months in jail, with 48 hours mandatory unless the judge allows you to perform 100 hours of community service in lieu of jail. You will also be required to pay a fine of at least $500 and up to $1,000. You will be placed on probation for up to two years where you will have to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment if required. The DMV will suspend your license for 45 days and require you use an IID for 1 year thereafter.
- Second Drug DUI Conviction: A second DUI conviction is a felony. If you are convicted of DUI by Drug, for a second offense, the judge can sentence you to up to 2 years in jail, with 120 days minimum-mandatory. You will be required to pay a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $4,000. You will be placed on probation for up to 3 years where you will have to perform 100 hours of community service and complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment if required. The DMV will suspend your license for 45 days and require you use an IID for 3 years thereafter.
- Third and Subsequent Drug DUI Convictions: Third and subsequent DUI convictions are also felonies. The judge can sentence you to up to 3 years in jail, with 1 year minimum-mandatory. You will be required to pay a fine of at least $2,000 and up to $8,000. You will be placed on probation for up to three years where you will have to completed a substance abuse evaluation and treatment. The DMV will permanently revoke your driver’s license.
Investigating and Fighting Drug DUI Cases in Connecticut
The standardized field sobriety tests “SFST” (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand) have only been validated as predictors of blood alcohol concentration “BAC.” Nevertheless, Connecticut police officers will routinely administer the SFST when they suspect an individual is under the influence of a drug or substance other than alcohol. A good Connecticut DUI defense attorney will point out that the SFST are essentially meaningless in DUI drug cases.
DRE 12-STEP PROTOCOL
Some Connecticut police departments employ Drug Recognition Experts “DRE.” These officers have received special training in detecting whether an individual is under the influence of drugs. They use a 12-step protocol to assess individuals believed to be under the influence of drugs other than or in addition to alcohol.
- Breath Alcohol Test: Review any BAC test to determine if it is consistent with the suspect’s impairment
- Interview of the Arresting Officer: Talk with the arresting officer about the facts and circumstances that led to his/her conclusion that that the suspect is impaired
- Preliminary Examination and First Pulse: Conduct an interview and medical examination
- Eye Examination: Check for horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), vertical gaze nystagmus (VGN), and lack of convergence
- Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests: Administer the Modified Romberg, the Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand, and the Finger to Nose tests.
- Vital Signs and Second Pulse: Check the suspect’s blood pressure, temperature and pulse
- Dark Room Examinations: Analyze the suspect’s pupil sizes under different lighting conditions
- Examination for Muscle Tone: Examines the subject’s skeletal muscle tone for rigidness or flaccidness
- Check for Injection Sites and Third Pulse: Look for signs of recent drug injection and take pulse for final time
- Subject’s Statements and Other Observations: Mirandize the suspect and ask him/her a series of questions about drug use
- Analysis and Opinions of the Evaluator: Form an opinion whether or not the suspect is impaired
- Toxicological Examination: Request a blood, urine, or saliva sample
In Connecticut, many times a police officer will arrest an individual under suspicion of drug DUI and not conduct a DRE examination. This will be a huge hole in the prosecution’s case. There is a specific procedure for detecting drug impairment and determining whether an individual is under the influence of drugs. The absence of a DRE examination in a drug DUI case begs the question, “Why was it not done here?” Your Connecticut DUI Defense Attorney should point out that is was not done because the officer did not suspect drug use. Further all of the subjective observations cited by the police officer have innocent explanations.
URINE TESTING FOR DRUGS
Urine testing is the most common chemical test utilized in Connecticut to detect drugs in DUI cases. However, most toxicologists will agree that urine testing is the least reliable type of chemical testing. Initial urine testing is presumptive only. This means that an initial positive urine test reported by the Connecticut toxicology laboratory only creates the presumption that the drug was in the person’s system at the time of the test. Some Connecticut judges have ruled that presumptive urine tests are inadmissible because they do not meet the standards for reliability of scientific evidence.
Connecticut DUI defense attorneys will further argue that urine tests for drugs in DUI cases are irrelevant because they do not report the amount or level of a drug in the person’s system – only the presence of the drug in the person’s system. Some drugs, such as marijuana, can remain in a person’s system for up to 30 days. This means that if you had smoked marijuana in the past month, you will test positive on the police officer’s urine test even though you were not under the influence of marijuana.
Hire a Seasoned DUI Drug Defender
Drug DUI Defense Cases are some of the most complex cases to defend in Connecticut. Attorney Jonathan Sills and his team have an established record of delivering winning results in DUI drug cases. If you have been arrested for a DUI under the suspicion of marijuana or other drug use, you deserve to have top-notch DUI representation. We will do everything possible to protect your driving privileges and secure the most favorable outcome possible.
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