Impaired driving can lead to criminal charges with severe potential consequences. Connecticut enforces harsh laws to discourage people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even a first-time DUI in Bridgeport can lead to jail time.
However, the law offers more sentencing flexibility if you have not been convicted of a DUI-related offense. Discuss your legal options with a lawyer at Ruane Attorneys. We can work to resolve the charges while minimizing the impact on your life.
Connecticut’s DUI Law for First Offenders
Connecticut General Statute §14-227a describes the crime of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. A law enforcement officer must present evidence proving the driver’s abilities were impaired. Anyone holding a Connecticut driver’s license gives their implied consent to a chemical test of their breath, urine, or blood to detect the presence of intoxicants. The law considers any driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or above to be intoxicated, regardless of other evidence of impairment.
If a driver has not been convicted of a DUI-related offense in the last ten years, the law treats them as a first offender. Someone arrested for DUI in the past ten years but never convicted or pled guilty is entitled to first-offender status. Our lawyers can further explain these laws to those accused of first-time DUIs in Bridgeport.
Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Bridgeport
A first DUI is a misdemeanor with a potential six-month jail term, probation, and a fine of $500 to $1000. Prosecutors often offer a first offender a suspended jail sentence if the accused agrees to probation and 100 hours of community service. However, someone charged with first-offender DUI must serve at least 48 consecutive hours in jail.
In addition to criminal penalties, an offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least 45 days. When the license is reinstated, the driver must use an ignition interlock device. If the driver is over 21 and their BAC was .08 or more, they are subject to ignition interlock requirements for six months. If the driver was under 21 and their BAC was .02 or more, they must use the ignition interlock system for at least one year.
A DUI charge may be a person’s first interaction with the criminal justice system, making it crucial to seek legal counsel. An attorney at our firm can explain the relevant laws and help defend against intoxicated driving charges.
Possible Defenses to a DUI Charge
Many drivers mistakenly believe that if they fail a chemical test, they are automatically convicted of DUI. This is not the case. Depending on the circumstances, a Bridgeport attorney could work to get the first-time DUI charges reduced or dismissed.
If the accused refused a chemical test, the arresting officer must have evidence that the driver’s abilities were impaired. The evidence could be a field sobriety test, observations of erratic driving, or both. A lawyer could challenge the officer’s competence in conducting and interpreting the field sobriety test. Examining dashcam video sometimes shows little to support the arresting officer’s claim that the defendant’s driving was unsafe or erratic. In such cases, our legal team could question the legality of the traffic stop.
The defense could challenge the results if the accused failed a chemical test. A Bridgeport DUI attorney could review the testing device’s calibration and the officer’s training to administer the test. Some health conditions and medications could impact the results; a lawyer could raise those issues if appropriate.
Contact a Bridgeport Attorney to Defend a First DUI Offense
If you were arrested for a first-time DUI in Bridgeport, do not try to handle it alone. Help from a lawyer could make a big difference in your case’s outcome. Give yourself the best chance to defeat the charges by calling Ruane Attorneys today to discuss your case and get the legal counsel you need.