Waterbury, CT DUI Defense Lawyer
Need a DUI Lawyer in Connecticut?
Driving while Under the Influence (DUI). This is perhaps one of the most complicated, stress-inducing legal ordeals to undertake, and one you should never take alone.
The legal process regarding DUI’s is precarious at best. So many elements of this particular circumstance, from whether to take a breathalyzer test to understanding the penalties or potential for jail time, you need to make sure you have the best highly-credentialed defense possible.
We here at Moynahan Law have decades of experience working for cases exactly like yours. If you’ve found yourself in the middle of a DUI deliberation, you need to know you are not alone.
It’s always best to start at square one with the right DUI lawyer. Yet, as true believers in empowering everybody who comes in contact with the justice system, we’ve brought together the most important concepts to understand when it comes to facing a DUI charge in Connecticut.
Based out of Waterbury, CT., our DUI lawyers are ready and waiting to help. If you have any questions about any of the material on this page or find yourself facing a DUI, give us a call immediately at (203) 597-6364 so we can get to work fighting for you.
The Basics – BAC, Intoxication Test, and more
Given the complication of the DUI process in Connecticut, it is incredibly important to have a few pieces of information completely solid in your mind. These concept below, though basics of the process, are often topics of debate. As a firm who believes in making sure the justice system works for everyone, we want every client to have as much information as possible as we take on their case.
In the state of Connecticut, there is a legal and illegal level of intoxication from alcohol. An intoxication test—whether through blood, urine, or breath—will determine your blood alcohol level (BAC), or how much alcohol is contained in a single unit of blood, considered 100 milliliters (mL).
The legal limit of intoxication in most states, including Connecticut, is .08. This means you can have 80 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, and that legally you are not allowed to drive with this much alcohol in your system. If you are found with a higher BAC than .08, you are considered by the state to be too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle and in violation of Connecticut drunk driving laws.
Police officers on patrol have several methods to determine the BAC of a driver they suspect of driving under the influence.
- Breathalyzer – This mechanism measures your BAC by analyzing the results of your breath. An incredibly important point to understand is that alcohol in the breath is just as detectable with a fresh mouth and just after a drink. This test is most often refuted, especially given recent research finding Breathalyzer results can be inaccurate.
- Urine Test – Officers have the right to request this type of test to determine how much alcohol is in a driver’s system if they believe it will be more effective in determining your BAC, or for a host of other reasons. This particular test is given back at the Police Station as opposed to on-site. This test is considered by many to be more accurate than the Breathalyzer test. Yet, urine can be easily diluted so the validity of these tests is sometimes shaky at best.
- Blood Test – This is a test that is often used if an officer is unsure whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and is also administered back at the Police Station. A very important aspect of this test is that, because of the 4th Amendment—protection against unreasonable searches and seizures—you cannot be penalized for refusing a blood test.
NOTE: Only a breathalyzer test is administered at the site of the arrest. Blood and urine tests are administered at the police station, and require laboratory analysis.
Intoxication Tests: Refuse or Accept?
Often at the time of arrest, it’s extremely difficult to know whether or not you can—or should—refuse an intoxication test.
The crucial point to understand is you are legally allowed to refuse any intoxication test. But, this doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
- If you refuse an intoxication test, whether for blood, urine, or breath, the officer has the right to revoke your driving privileges immediately for a period of 45 days
- You can request a hearing to fight the revocation at what is called a “Per Se” hearing. This is done in front of a hearing officer
- If you lose the hearing, an interlock ignition device (IIG) is installed in your car automatically, for a period of time related to how many DUI offenses you have on your record
- If you refuse an intoxication test, another officer must serve as a witness and sign off on this in the police report—make note whether there is another officer present to act as a witness
- A refusal to take an intoxication test can be used against you in court, namely as proof you were aware of being intoxicated over the legal limit
Potential Penalties for A Guilty Charge
In Connecticut, there is a sliding scale of penalties for being found guilty of a DUI charge. According to Connecticut DUI law, it is based on how many offenses you have on your record:
First Offense DUI Charge: Jail time of two days to six months, fines of $500-$1000, and license suspension for one year
Second Offense DUI Charge: Jail time of 120 days to two years, fines of $1000-$4000, license suspension for one year, and a requirement to have an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) installed in your car
Third Offense DUI Charge: Jail time of one to three years, fines of $2000-$8000, permanent license suspension, and a requirement to have an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) installed in your car
It’s also extremely important to make sure you are obliging and unthreatening to the officer. When pulling over a suspect, police officers are always on alert, so the potential for misconstruing your actions or overreacting are higher. Make sure to follow their instructions completely and maintain a calm demeanor.
Suspensions, Work Permits, and the Alcohol Education Program (AEP)
Very often a DUI in Connecticut will result in some kind of suspension of your license. You can bet that without an experienced DUI lawyer familiar with Connecticut DUI laws you will definitely have your license suspended.
During a suspension, you can receive extremely strict penalties if you are caught driving, including but not limited to a longer suspension, fines, and jail time.
There is a process to obtain a permit to drive during a suspension for the purposes of traveling to work. That process is expensive and arduous, but it could be the difference between being able to provide for yourself or your family. Having an experienced DUI lawyer could increase your chances of attaining this work driving permit.
The application fee to apply for a driving work permit is $200 in Connecticut, and is contingent on several different factors—only first-time offenders are eligible for work driving permits.
The Alcohol Education Program is one way you can have charges dropped for a DUI offense in Connecticut. There is either a 10-week or 15-week course, at a cost of $350 and $500 respectively. Upon successful completion of the court, you will be able to have your charges completely dropped from your record.
Get a DUI Lawyer
It’s not often that DUI charges in Connecticut are dropped. One can expect that some form of penalty will be assessed, but with an experienced DUI lawyer that understands your case can lessen penalties or, in some cases, avoid penalties altogether.
For instance, you could find yourself paying more in fines if you decide to pursue the case yourself, or with an inexperienced attorney. The advantage of having a DUI lawyer who knows what is needed to present the strongest case possible, understand the ins and outs of the DUI arrest and prosecution process, and the sentencing process can save you thousands of dollars and your livelihood.