Connecticut Alcohol Education Program for First-Time DUI
If you are accused of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in Connecticut and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than 0.08, you may have many questions. You may question your future, the punishments, and the impacts. Although Connecticut legislature has harsh penalties for those convicted of first-time DUI, there is a second chance option that may be available given the right circumstances. The program is not a right, and therefore no one is guaranteed admittance, however the chances of being accepted increase with the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney to help you through the application process.
Pretrial Diversion Program
If it is your first time with a DUI, or you have not had one in more than 10 years, you may be eligible to apply for this program before your case goes to trial. Consider AEP, a Connecticut “second chance” for those who made a mistake. The Alcohol Education Program meets weekly for one-hour classes for up to 15 weeks. The length of time is dependent on the results of an alcohol evaluation test done before the program begins. There are no exams or testing, nor are there any alcohol or drug tests. Simply arrive on time, every week, and stay for the entire class. After successful completion of the program and attending the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel, your case may be dismissed and erased from your record.
Not everyone is guaranteed a spot in the program. You must first attend an application hearing, then satisfactorily complete a screening process, and finally, attend an adversarial hearing with a Supreme Court Judge. Only certain charges qualify, including:
- Operation of a vehicle while under the influence (C.G.S. § 14-227a),
- DUI/DWI under the age of 21 (C.G.S. § 14-227g), and
- Boating while intoxicated (C.G.S. § 15-133).
What to Expect during the Process
The very first step is your application hearing. The judge will ask you two questions, neither of which pertain to the arrest itself. These are:
- Have you ever used the AEP program?
- Have you ever been convicted of a DUI?
These answers must truthfully be “no” to qualify. To lie or mistakenly answer falsely will result in severe punishments. Once this portion is complete, a $200.00 application fee is due, and the screening step is scheduled. The selection process is a 20-30 minute interview where the determination of whether the 10 or 15-week program is appropriate. The final step is when you, accompanied by your attorney, stand before the judge with the State’s Attorney’s prosecutor and argue your case. The judge determines based on a broad range of factors the best appropriate action.
If you face accusations of DUI in Connecticut, it is advisable to find an aggressive and skilled attorney to fight for your freedom. Without assistance, you risk a loss of license, vehicle impoundment, fines and interlock systems. If you are interested in discussing your options with a proven Fairfield County, CT DUI defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today at 203-348-5846 to arrange your complimentary initial consultation. It is a step in the right direction for protecting your freedom.