DUI/Drunk Driving

This crime is commonly known as DUI, DWI, OWI, OUI, or simply drunk driving. In Connecticut, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-227a. Even if you believe you “felt fine” and were unfairly stopped, you can be charged with this crime and possibly convicted.

To convict a person of this offense, the State need only prove that you operated a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or that you did so with an elevated blood alcohol content.

The “legal limit” in Connecticut is 0.08% or above alcohol by volume. For commercial vehicles, the limit is even lower at 0.04%.   The State is not required to produce chemical evidence of your blood in order to charge you with this crime and secure a conviction. Moreover, since there is no legal limit for illegal drugs, the State need only prove that you were under the influence of drugs at the time you operated a motor vehicle

Punishments for DUI/Drunk Driving

In Connecticut, DUI carries serious consequences. The penalties for DUI include fines, driver’s license suspension, and possibly jail time. For a first conviction, a person faces up to six months in jail. For a second conviction within ten years of the first, a person may be imprisoned for up to two years, of which 120 days may not be suspended, which essentially means spending at least 120 days in prison. For a third conviction within ten years of the second, a person may be imprisoned for up to three years, of which one year may not be suspended. In addition, the state may permanently revoke your driving license.

A new law, which took effect in October 2016, provides for mandatory minimum jail time for individuals who are convicted for drunk with minor children in the vehicle. 

Have you been charged with a DUI?

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If you have been charged with DUI, contacting an attorney early may help you avoid these penalties. For example, in some cases, you may be able to avoid a conviction and jail time by using the Pre-Trial Alcohol Education System. The Alcohol Education System is a diversionary program available to persons who have not used the program in the past ten years (or at all). Upon acceptance into and successful completion of the program (which can include classes and treatment), the criminal charges are dismissed by the court. 

Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Holders

Indivduals who hold commercial driver's licenses, are not allowed to use the diversionary program. They face considerable consequences to their licenses and livelihood. 

Facing License Suspension

In addition to the criminal penalties (fines, jail and a suspension imposed by the court), a person convicted of DUI also faces administrative driver’s license suspensions.  In addition, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend the license of a person who fails or refuses a blood alcohol test independent of the criminal case.  This is called a per se suspension. If your license has been suspended, I may be able to help you challenge a per se suspension in a hearing before an officer of DMV. I know what facts to bring to the hearing which may help you keep your license.  In addition, a person whose license is suspended may be eligible for a Special Operator’s Permit from the DMV which would allow you to continue to drive to work or school. Connecticut takes the DUI laws seriously, and so should you. If you have made the mistake of driving while under the influence, let me help you get back on the road.

DUI/Drunk Driving Attorney in Connecticut

While it is natural to be embarrassed about a DUI charge, don’t let pride interfere with protecting your rights. Connecticut attorney Chris DeMatteo has extensive experience defending DUI and similar cases, and he will listen to your facts and work to achieve your goals. Contact Chris for a free consultation.