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stamford dui lawyerThe use of marijuana has become more and more widespread in recent years, especially as multiple states have legalized the drug for both recreational and medicinal use. Because of this, many people may drive after using this drug. However, drivers should understand that they could potentially face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) due to their use of marijuana. Those who have been arrested and charged with intoxicated driving will need to make sure they have legal representation by a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in these types of cases.

Legal Issues in Marijuana DUI Cases

Under the laws in Connecticut, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating drug. However, unlike in DUI cases involving alcohol, Connecticut law does not specify a legal limit to determine when a person is intoxicated by marijuana. If a police officer pulls a driver over based on the suspicion that they are intoxicated, they may make an arrest based on the results of field sobriety tests or other observations that indicate that a person has been using marijuana. These may include the smell of marijuana in the vehicle or physical symptoms of marijuana intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, drowsiness, or delayed responses to questions.

Connecticut’s implied consent laws require a driver to submit to chemical testing if they are arrested for DUI. These tests typically involve the use of a breathalyzer to measure the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). However, a breath test will not measure the level of intoxication by marijuana, so a driver may be asked to provide a urine sample, which may detect any marijuana in the driver’s system. While a driver who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol will face an administrative suspension of their driver’s license if they refuse to submit to chemical testing, this administrative suspension will not apply to drivers who are charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

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Stamford CT DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence of alcohol can lead to criminal consequences and administrative penalties in Connecticut. If you are arrested for DUI, you could be sentenced to jail time or community service and probation. You may also be fined up to $1000 or more. Your license may be temporarily suspended, and you may have to get an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to regain your driving privileges. Second or subsequent DUI offenses are penalized even more harshly. When defending against DUI charges, Connecticut DUI defense attorneys may argue that the charges should be dismissed entirely.

You May Be Able to Avoid a DUI Conviction

A skilled defense lawyer will know Connecticut DUI laws and how to defend against DUI charges. In some cases, DUI charges are dropped. Some of the most common reasons that DUI cases are dismissed include:

  • Illegal police stop – The police cannot pull someone over for no reason. They must have a “reasonable suspicion” that unlawful activity is occurring. Speeding, erratic lane changes, or running a red light may all justify a police officer’s stop. However, if there were no grounds for the police to pull you over, the evidence obtained during the stop, including breathalyzer results, may be inadmissible in court.

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Fairfield CT DUI defense attorneyIn Connecticut, when a law enforcement officer pulls a driver over with reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), they will often ask the driver to take a chemical alcohol test such as a breathalyzer. If the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or more (or 0.02 percent or more for an underage driver) he or she will be arrested and charged with DUI. If you or a loved one was recently arrested under these circumstances, you may wonder if it is possible that the breathalyzer results were inaccurate.

How Does a Breath Alcohol Test Work?

If you have ever been in a crowded bar, you have probably noticed that the smell of alcohol can linger on a person’s breath. Breath alcohol tests like breathalyzers test the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath and use this to determine the person’s blood alcohol content. The two types of breath alcohol testing devices used by police are preliminary alcohol screening devices and evidential breath test devices. A preliminary alcohol screening device or portable breath test is typically used during a traffic stop. These handheld devices are smaller and more convenient for roadside BAC testing than evidential breath test devices; however, they can also be less accurate than evidential breath test devices.

Breath Alcohol Testing Errors

Breathalyzers are carefully designed and calibrated to be as accurate as possible. However, it is possible for a preliminary alcohol screening device or evidential breath test device to display an inaccurate BAC. Errors may be caused by:

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Norwalk CT underage DUI defense lawyerAs it is in every state, it is illegal to drive in Connecticut while impaired by alcohol. For adults, the standard often used to determine if a motorist is impaired according to the law is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. However, the same rules do not apply to drivers under 21 years of age. For underage drivers, it is unlawful to drive with a BAC greater than 0.02. Even just a single drink may elevate a young person’s BAC to a level that makes it illegal to drive. If your child has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), it is important to educate yourself about the consequences he or she faces as well as the rights of underage criminal defendants in Connecticut.

Criminal and Administrative Proceedings for Underage DUI in Connecticut

There are two categories of penalties DUI offenders face in Connecticut. Administrative penalties include an immediate 6-month driver’s license suspension. If the underage offender has previously been arrested and charged with DUI, the license suspension period is increased to one year. If the driver is under 18 years old, the police may seize the driver’s license upon arrest and have their car towed.

A first-time underage DUI offender faces criminal penalties including a jail sentence of up to six months, up to $1,000 in fines, and probation. The offender may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle he or she plans to drive after the suspension period is up.

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Connecticut DUI defense attorneyIf you have recently been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, your mind may be racing with questions. You may wonder, “Will I lose my license?” or “Will I go to jail?” You may also worry about how a DUI conviction could affect your employment or educational opportunities. If you have been charged with DUI, the first thing you should do is educate yourself about your rights as a criminal defendant. One of the most important rights you have is the right to consult with a qualified attorney. Your attorney can help you build a strong defense against the charges, help you qualify for a diversion program, and represent your best interests through the proceedings.

Charges Do Not Mean Conviction

If you were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, you may still have the opportunity to avoid conviction. If the arresting officers did not have probable cause to conduct a traffic stop, the breathalyzer or other blood alcohol content (BAC) tests were inaccurate, or there were other problems with the DUI arrest, you may avoid conviction. You may also be able to participate in a pretrial diversion program. Typically, these programs require participants to participate in drug or alcohol treatment or counseling of some kind. If you complete the program, you could have your charges dismissed entirely.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction

If you are convicted of DUI for the first time, you face up to $1,000 in fines, up to 6 months in jail, a maximum of 100 hours of community service, and suspension of your driver’s license. To regain your ability to drive, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on each of your vehicles. This device requires you to blow into the mouthpiece to start your car. If any alcohol is detected on your breath, your vehicle will not start.

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