After being arrested for intoxicated driving, you may be terrified and confused about how to protect yourself effectively. A DUI arrest can have a long-term impact on your job, education, family life, and even insurance rates. Without legal counsel, you may have a hard time defending your case and preventing these consequences.
Let a Norwich DUI lawyer explain the legal process and build a tailored strategy for your circumstances. At Ruane Attorneys, our team has a long history of successfully helping people like you through similar situations.
DUI Law Enforcement in Norwich
Connecticut General Statutes §14-227a outlines the offense of driving while impaired. Drivers usually get arrested for DUI because they were driving erratically and the police stopped them, or they got into an accident. If the police suspect a driver was drinking, they may conduct a field sobriety test. If the driver does not pass the assessment, the police could arrest them on suspicion of intoxicated driving.
Once arrested, a suspect might be asked to take a blood or breath test. A driver can refuse, but a refusal results in immediate license suspension and a required ignition interlock device for one year. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in this state is .08, and a driver whose BAC exceeds this amount may be found guilty of DUI. However, a driver could be arrested if they show signs of alcohol impairment, even if a blood test comes back lower than the legal limit. Drivers younger than 21 may face charges if their BAC is .02 or higher.
A driver arrested on suspicion of DUI should contact a nearby attorney immediately. The driver should politely decline to answer questions until they have spoken with legal counsel.
Automatic License Suspension After a DUI
Most drivers receive a notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within one week of their arrest, informing them of their license suspension. The suspension usually begins within two weeks of the date on the letter. The length of the suspension depends on the driver’s age, driving record, BAC, and whether they refused a test. The letter also includes instructions for appeal.
A Norwich DUI attorney at our firm could assist a driver through the appeals process, but the driver must contact legal counsel as soon as possible after receiving the DMV letter. Drivers have only seven days to appeal a license suspension.
At the appeal hearing, a legal representative could question whether an officer had probable cause to stop a vehicle. They also could challenge the accuracy of lab results or whether an officer properly administered a field sobriety test. If applicable, a Norwich lawyer could introduce medical records establishing that a driver has a medical condition that could impact a field sobriety test or chemical test.
Penalties for Intoxicated Driving
If a driver has no prior DUI offenses, the Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP) could be a beneficial option. IDIP allows someone arrested for DUI to participate in a drunk driving education program. If an offender completes the program and is not arrested within one year, the court dismisses the charges and destroys all records of the arrest. A driver must apply to be accepted in the IDIP program and have a hearing before a judge who will grant or refuse the application. In many cases, a prosecutor will support an application into IDIP, increasing the chances of acceptance.
When a person has prior DUI convictions, IDIP is not an option, and penalties could be harsh. Second offenders face mandatory minimum jail sentences of 120 days. The mandatory minimum for third offenders is one year in jail. Our Norwich attorneys could arrange for an offender to serve their sentence under house arrest in some cases, but not all offenders are eligible for this program.
An initial DUI offense is a misdemeanor, but a subsequent offense within ten years is a felony. If the driver was involved in an accident, even a first DUI offense could be a felony. Although the mandatory minimum sentence is 120 days, a judge could sentence a felony offender to up to two years in prison, probation, community service, and an ignition interlock device for up to three years. To prevent these life-changing consequences, it is crucial for those facing DUI charges in Norwich to seek legal counsel.
Rely on a Norwich Attorney After a DUI Arrest
DUI is a serious offense in Connecticut and throughout the country. If you were arrested for intoxicated driving, you need the help of an attorney who understands the potential consequences and how to prevent them.
At Ruane Attorneys, our Norwich DUI lawyers are here to represent your best interests and pursue a positive outcome in your case. Call today to get started on your defense.