Many criminal allegations in the Hartford area involve driving under the influence, also called DUI. Despite the high frequency of these charges, these allegations can have a devastating effect on your present and future. Consequences could include paying severe fines, losing your driver’s license, and even spending time in jail.
A Hartford DUI lawyer could fight by your side to help you avoid this outcome. An attorney could help you pursue enrollment in the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program as an alternative to full criminal prosecution. Legal counsel could also fight all allegations of wrongdoing and dispute the charges at trial, if necessary.
Definition and Penalties for Intoxicated Driving
DUI is a misdemeanor charge under state law. This means that a conviction for even a first offense can bring a jail sentence of up to one year. Subsequent convictions or aggravating factors can lengthen a sentence or come with mandatory jail sentences. In addition to the criminal penalties, a conviction requires a suspension of a person’s driver’s license for no less than 45 days and the payment of stiff fines.
With these heavy penalties in mind, it is crucially important to understand how state law describes a DUI offense. Under Connecticut General Statute § 14-227a, a DUI can occur in two main ways:
- Operating a car with a blood/alcohol level of at least .08 percent. Police officers suspecting intoxication can demand that a driver submits to a breath or blood test. While drivers may refuse to submit to this test, doing so is a separate criminal offense.
- Driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Because of this concept, police officers can make an arrest even without a blood/alcohol test or upon suspicion of driving after taking drugs.
A Hartford attorney could provide more information about drunk driving laws in the state. A strong legal defense is crucial to mitigate or avoid the severe penalties of a DUI conviction.
Legal Strategies for Drunk Driving Cases
All DUI cases will move forward under the same state law. However, drivers may have several options for fighting back against the allegations. Many will want to take the case to trial to show there is reasonable doubt that they were operating a vehicle after using drugs or alcohol. In these situations, a Hartford DUI lawyer could challenge the reason for a traffic stop, dispute the results of a blood/alcohol test, and cross-examine an officer’s recollection of events on the witness stand. These techniques could help create reasonable doubt about the prosecutor’s case.
Some people will want to consider an alternative way to protect their futures, such as through the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program. This is an educational program that is available to first-time DUI defendants. A driver enrolled in this program must attend alcohol education programs and has the option to seek treatment for alcohol or drug dependency. While these programs move forward at a driver’s expense, the successful completion of a program will see a court dismissing the criminal charges. A DUI lawyer in Hartford could provide more information about this program and help convince a court to allow a driver to take this path toward recovery.
Reach Out to a Hartford DUI Attorney Today
A DUI conviction will create a criminal record, come with harsh financial consequences, result in a license suspension, and could even see a judge impose a jail sentence. Fortunately, state law allows first-time defendants to seek treatment and education in place of criminal prosecution. In addition, many DUI cases are highly defensible with help from the right attorney.
A Hartford DUI lawyer is ready to fight to protect your rights. This could involve fighting the case in court or convincing a judge to allow enrollment in the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program. Contact Ruane Attorneys today to explore your options.