Most people don’t deliberately set out to drive while under the influence or while their abilities are impaired, but mistakes do happen and DUI/DWI laws are strictly enforced in Connecticut. So what should you do if you are suddenly charged with drinking and driving in Connecticut? Your first step should be to call a Stamford DUI attorney.
Understanding DUI Laws in CT
In CT, the acronym DUI is short for driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol). The legal definition is two-fold; the first refers to the blood alcohol level (.08 if over 21; .02 if under 21), and the second simply refers to driving with an impaired ability. In the second scenario, a person can have a lower or even no alcohol in their blood and still be charged. For example, if you are under a doctor’s care and take a pain pill before driving, you can actually be charged with a DUI if you’re driving erratically.
Two Levels of Prosecution
In Connecticut, a DUI is prosecuted civilly by the Department of Motor Vehicles and criminally by the judicial system. The DMV is the agency which will suspend your driving privileges. You do have a right to a hearing and can appeal a suspension, but those opportunities are tied to strict timeframes, another reason to contact a Stamford DWI attorney immediately.
The court system will also prosecute a drunken driving charge, and any penalties assessed will be in addition to the license suspension. It also makes a difference if this is the first, second or third conviction within the last 10 years. Penalties may include fines, jail, substance abuse treatment, community service or a combination of these.
Like most states, Connecticut recognizes the doctrine of implied consent. What this means is that you automatically give your consent to submit to alcohol testing when requested by an officer at the time you obtain your driver’s license. What many people don’t realize is that you do have a right to consult with your attorney prior to any test being administered. If that request is denied, then the results can be deemed inadmissible in court. In fact, Connecticut law sets a number of standards regarding blood alcohol testing to ensure that the results are accurate and the tests are not abused.
Two tests are required; the first must be taken within 2 hours of the time you have operated your motor vehicle, and the second test must be administered at least 10 minutes after the first.
If this is your first offense, should you just plead guilty, pay the fine and accept the six month driving suspension? “Not necessarily,” says Mark Sherman, a Stamford DWI attorney. “A DUI conviction remains on your record forever in Connecticut, and penalties for any subsequent offense can be stiff.” An attorney can negotiate possible alternatives for first time offenders which may keep the incident off their records altogether. A DUI conviction can affect many aspects of your life, including insurance costs and employment opportunities. Don’t let one mistake become a handicapped for the next 10 years – hire a Stamford or Greenwich DUI lawyer to protect your future by properly resolving the crisis you face today.
Even if you have had a prior conviction within the last decade, your attorney can still fight for alternatives which will mitigate some of the damages. For example, in some cases a portion of the license suspension can be replaced with a work or school permit, or an agreement to drive using an interlock device.
Have you or someone you love been charged with driving under the influence in Connecticut? If so, improve your chances of a swift and positive resolution by contacting the law offices of Mark Sherman, an experienced Stamford DUI lawyer.
About Mark Sherman
Mark Sherman, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University School of Law, has been a member in good standing of the Connecticut, New York and Florida state bars since 1998. He has offices in Stamford, Connecticut and New York, New York, and practices in both locations. He has been recognized as a top business professional by the Fairfield County Business Journal and has been honored as a “Super Lawyer” by both New England and Connecticut Super Lawyers for 2011 and 2012.