In Connecticut, DUI charges are taken seriously by every prosecutor or assistant state’s attorney. In most cases, a person accused of intoxicated driving faces misdemeanor charges and may be allowed to enter a diversion program. This allows the charge to be wiped from their record upon completing the program.
However, certain circumstances can elevate DUI allegations to felony charges, which come with long-lasting consequences upon conviction. If you face these charges, you need representation from a Shelton felony DUI lawyer. At Ruane Attorneys, our legal team knows how to fight for you and your rights. Let us protect your way of life throughout the legal process.
How Heavily are DUI Laws Enforced in Shelton?
Under state law, a prosecutor who wants to drop or dismiss a DUI charge must give a reason on record in court before a judge. As a result, the prosecution proceeds with most cases, even if the evidence is lacking.
DUI laws are regularly enforced, particularly in areas without much police activity. Additionally, police authorities have received federal grants in recent years for DUI enforcement, extra testing machines, and portable labs. As our local attorneys can attest, this has led to harsher enforcement and more felony DUI cases in Connecticut.
Elevating DUI Charges to Felony Offenses
DUI charges are elevated depending on the prior record of the defendant. If a person faces a first-time DUI offense, it will be treated as a misdemeanor case. If they are arrested twice within ten years, the second charge can be elevated to a felony. This comes with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 days. If they are arrested for a third offense, and the state can prove two prior convictions, a defendant faces three years in jail and a one-year mandatory minimum.
Prosecuting a Felony Intoxicated Driving Charge
A felony DUI conviction can have a much greater impact on a person’s life than misdemeanor charges. However, although a person charged with felony DUI faces harsher penalties, prosecutors have a range of discretion in pursuing the case.
For example, a person may technically be a second offender if they have a prior conviction within ten years of the recent arrest. Their breath tests may be just barely over the legal limit. In this case, the prosecutor can decide to charge them as the first offender and make it a misdemeanor. Our Shelton attorneys can work to have a case pursued as a misdemeanor DUI rather than a felony.
Similarly, suppose the person is 9.5 years out from their first arrest before getting charged with DUI again. The prosecutor could consider that they were close to the ten-year mark and treat it as a misdemeanor.
Defending a Felony DUI Case
When representing someone charged with felony DUI, a Shelton lawyer at our firm will first get the defendant’s version of the facts—where they were, how much they had to drink and eat over what period of time, etc. We will also ask the defendant about their medical history. For instance, several medications for lung capacity problems like asthma can affect blood test results.
Ruane Attorneys will also investigate the facts of the case through police reports and field sobriety tests. We will visit the scene of the alleged crime to ensure the report is accurate. Using this information, our felony DUI lawyers in Shelton can offer an opinion on how the case may proceed. This is crucial in building a tailored defense strategy and seeking the best possible resolution.
Contact a Shelton Attorney for Felony DUIs
Felony drunk driving charges are not more difficult to defend than misdemeanor cases, and the jury does not know that it is a second or third offense until after the verdict. The only difference is the potential impact on your life upon conviction. A felony on your record can affect your voting rights, housing options, and employment opportunities. When the stakes are this high, you need a Shelton felony DUI lawyer on your side.
At Ruane Attorneys, we have the legal and scientific knowledge to defend your case successfully. Give us a call today to learn how we can help.