If you are a first time DUI offender, you may be offered Connecticut’s alcohol education program (AEP) as an alternative to the criminal situation you face. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the AEP and court. For assistance with a Connecticut DUI, contact our office.
Will this affect my DMV case?
No, this will not impact your DMV case. The DMV and the court are two completely independent cases, which is one of the complicating factors when it comes to DUI cases. The DMV and court have different standards of proof (which means the evidence needed is less in the DMV than court) and the burden is the opposite in both. So the fact that you are using the (AEP) does not impact your DMV case at all. There will be no further suspension for using the AEP.
Will I have to come back to court in a year?
No, but we will for you. Taking another day off from work when you have already put this behind you is a pain, and that is why you have us. We make sure all your paperwork is in order and will appear for you to secure your dismissal. You don’t need to do a thing besides complete your court requirements.
Is this like pleading guilty?
It’s actually the opposite. You never plead guilty to the DUI, and no judge ever finds you guilty. By opting to use this pretrial diversion program, you never admit guilt at all. Instead, you advise the court that if granted, you will take the counseling they recommend. Then the case is set up for a dismissal at the end of the time the court gives you to complete the counseling. By getting a dismissal, you legally achieve the same outcome that you would have gotten if you went to trial and won. All without the cost and anxiety. It’s a win for you.
What happens if I’m arrested again?
This is a major problem. Getting arrested again will cause two things. First, you will have a new case, with all the issues that come with that – another DMV hearing and court dates and probably have a judge who is really unhappy with you. You see, the judge had to make a finding that you were “not likely” to offend again when she or he granted you the program. Now we argued that on your behalf, and it makes the judge upset when they see you back in court so soon.
If you are arrested again and you are in the program, the judge could kick you out of the diversion program. Then you wind up having two cases to deal with, both the original DUI case and this new one. Plus, you don’t get your money back. Now you have double the pressure. But not double the fun. I can’t stress how important it is to not take chances when in the alcohol program.
Will I have a record?
No, that is one of the main benefits of the diversion program. There is no permanent criminal record of this case when you use it. Once you applied, your file was sealed to the public and now nobody can find out about it. There is no criminal record. You need to know, however, that they do keep track of this on your driving history for two reasons. First, the enabling statute requires it. The second is because it’s the only way for them to track that you did use it. See, once the case is dismissed, if they kept no records you would be able to apply again next year. This program is only allowed every 10 years. So, they keep that record so they can verify you haven’t already used it. But that information is not on a criminal record.
Will the pending case affect me?
No, the pending case will not impact you at all. The case is sealed to the public upon your application and nobody can find out what your charges were.
What happens to my other charges?
Well this depends on what we negotiate with the prosecutor. In many cases, we are able to get them to agree to drop the rest of the charges upon your successful completion of the program. This is another way they incentivize you to complete the classes.
When do I get my bond back?
Once the AEP program is granted by the judge, we will take you to the clerk’s office to pay for the program. If you posted a cash bond then the clerk’s office will be able to refund your cash bond or apply it to the fees due for the classes. You must remember to bring your bond receipt to move this process faster, but if you lost it there is a longer process which will require you to file an affidavit, but you will get that money back. If someone else posted on your behalf and the bond is in their name, they will have to show up to court to get the refund check. If you posted bond through a bondsman, that fee you paid them was their fee for the posting of the bond and you don’t get that back. If you have collateral money posted with a bondsman, you can get that back, but you need to contact the bondsman to deal with that.