An Introduction to DUI
The purpose of the DUI Survival Guide is to illuminate what happens when you are arrested for DUI in the state of Connecticut. The more familiar you are with the criminal justice system and the related environment, the more you can break down various myths, ease your mind, and focus on what is most important: getting your life back. The best way to benefit from this book is to read it from cover to cover. However, if you need to just get information from a specific chapter, that is acceptable. Reading through this book will give you the perspective necessary to understand the various aspects of your DUI case.
To begin, most of my clients have never been arrested and charged with a crime. Despite the common occurrence of DUI arrests, people accused of driving under the influence are decent, law-abiding citizens who have never been in trouble before. It is key to remember from the outset that DUI is an incredibly complex area of law to understand. Also, the stakes for defendants are high in comparison to other crimes. Therefore, navigating the criminal justice system is intimidating and you are most likely emotional and deeply concerned about your future. It is perfectly normal given what just happened. Being accused of a crime is a stress-inducing process that terrifies most; it is the recognition of the seriousness of the situation. Your job, home, and family could be at stake. Even the best attorneys walking the face of the Earth get nervous before going to court for trial.
Forward to the Book
Let me introduce myself. I am Attorney Teresa DiNardi, better known around courthouses all over Connecticut as “Lady DUI.” I have handled every type of DUI case in Connecticut, from arraignments all the way up to the Connecticut Appellate Court. Also, I have been featured in The New York Times for my defense work. Since 2006, I have devoted my practice to the defense of the drinking driver. I have developed my reputation and name as Lady DUI through my aggressive and educated defense of my clients.
During my three years of law school, I often thought about what type of attorney I would become. It might sound corny, but the truth is that I entered law school because I wanted to help people. I realized very early on that I wanted to be the type of attorney that put people first. I am a fighter, and fighting legal battles for my clients is what I enjoy most. My clients are underdogs. They stand alone against the power of the state of Connecticut to prosecute them with extensive resources. I love standing shoulder to shoulder with my clients. I love doing everything I can to protect and defend them against criminal charges. Also, I passionately believe in our criminal justice system. I believe in the defendable rights granted by the Constitution of the United States.
Finding My Way
When I began my first year of law school, I quickly discovered its many stressful and frightening aspects. There are thousands of pages of incredibly dry reading and intense, competitive examinations. Then there is the latent fear of most law students: being called on to speak in front of your peers. I have always been comfortable with public speaking and tend to enjoy the spotlight of speaking in court. But, the one common struggle I did have was choosing my life’s calling in the practice of law. I needed to find what area of law best suited my personality and my ambition. I would bet money that many first-year law students have no clue what they are going to do professionally once they graduate and pass the bar exam.
For me, the desire to be a successful attorney was always there. But, I wasn’t sure what type of law I was going to practice. Some law students fall in love with a certain branch of law and never want to practice anything else. I took the same classes as everyone else my first year of law school. Through this, I began to develop an interest in tax law.
My first professional experience was an internship with the IRS. I enjoyed learning about the field of tax law. But, I couldn’t envision being glued to a cubicle in a corner of an office building, sifting through the tax returns for huge corporations or the federal government. So, I started looking into the possibility of criminal law. I knew a little about this because my father was a police officer. I really enjoyed learning about it in class. But, I wasn’t sure if the daily practice of criminal law was for me.
I can remember one night getting home from my internship with the IRS and watching the film Twelve Angry Men. It is a classic piece of American cinema and a favorite of many law students. But ironically I had never seen it. The film takes the viewer into the deliberation of a jury. It shows how decisions about a defendant’s fate take place in the real world. The practice of criminal law never really stuck out for me before. But watching that movie really got me thinking about what I could do to help regular people facing a legal system that often gets things wrong. The more I learned about the practice of being a defense lawyer, the more I began to envision myself as a champion of the underdog. Slowly but steadily, I began to gravitate as a professional towards criminal defense.
During his 27 years as a police officer, my father was a hostage negotiator for the Town of Newington. He helped many people in difficult and life-threatening situations over the course of his career. The seriousness of his job was expressed to me every day when he would take off his bulletproof vest and place it on the kitchen table for the next day of work. Police officers live by the motto of “To Protect and Serve.” I take the same mentality when it comes to my clients. I want nothing less than to get the best possible results for every client.
The criminal justice system is strongly favored towards the government, which has pressure from groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) demanding that legislators, prosecutors, and judges deal harshly with people accused of driving under the influence. There is no doubt that alcohol has played a role in many motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and even deaths. However, the Constitution does provide rights to all persons charged with crimes. Despite the best efforts of some to remove these rights, they still exist albeit with the odds in favor of the government. Understand that the government has an easier time convicting a person accused of DUI today that at any other time in American history.
Most likely you are anxious or perhaps even scared about your arrest and the implications for your family, reputation, and your career. The allegation of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not one that most people want to face alone. Luckily, you don’t have to. Contact me for help with your Connecticut DUI.