AR ON 14-215(C)
May 25, 2019
I don't usually boast about AR cases. Diversionary programs are very routine in Connecticut's criminal courts and are often granted in the cases for which they are eligible. Accelerated Rehabilitation ("AR") is used for crimes that are "not of a serious nature" and for individuals who are "not likely to re-offend." You can only use it if you have no criminal convictions and have not used it ever or in the past 10 years.
A few weeks ago in New Haven one of my clients was granted AR for a 14-215(c). 14-215 is operating with a suspended license. Subsection (c) is for operating while under a suspension for a DUI. My client was arrested for a DUI last year and was in the Alcohol Education Program in another court. Her license was suspended and she was required to install the Ignition Interlock Device in order to drive. She was however caught driving without the IID. Since her license was not yet reinstated, she was charged with a 14-215(c).
14-215(c) is a misdemeanor but on the severe side because it carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days jail. It is also a difficult charge to beat because it's relatively strict liability and you either have a valid license or not. It is possible to mitigate the mandatory time down but that requires a guilty plea and is difficult.
While the charge is eligible for AR, many prosecutors and judges take the position that it is too serious for AR. The State often objects. If there's an accident, with or without an injury, it is even more difficult to get the program.
My client is a hard-working young woman. Her two mistakes (the first DUI and this) are not her. We applied for AR knowing it would be a tough climb. I wrote and submitted a brief to the court in support of the program as well as character references and documentation that her license was reinstated. The State did not object but asked for a charitable contribution. We had no problem with that. The court was satisfied that the charge was not too serious under the circumstances and that she was not likely to re-offend.
In many cases, although far from automatic, AR is not a difficult outcome. In some though, especially if there are victims or the charge is on the border of being too serious, it can be a challenge. For those cases, you should hire an experienced attorney.