First Time DUI Offenders in Fairfield County
When someone drives under the influence, they endanger themselves and everyone around them. However, a first-time DUI offender, while still behaving recklessly, is more likely to have simply made a mistake than to have engaged in any pattern of consciously reckless behavior, and may have no idea how to negotiate the legal process after being charged with a DUI. If you are in this situation, an experienced attorney can be of help in guiding you through.
Criminal and Administrative Consequences
Connecticut’s DUI law states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 (for most drivers; for juveniles, the limit is lower). Criminal charges and administrative processes both start at the time a person is charged with driving under the influence. In addition to whatever criminal charges the state decides to bring against a driver, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles also automatically starts proceedings that may wind up with your license suspended, or with an ignition interlock placed on your vehicle.
It can be confusing for first-time offenders, in particular, to understand that both criminal and administrative consequences can result from the same action. However, driving under the influence is seen as such a potentially serious offense that a mere license suspension, or a mere fine, is not considered sufficient punishment. The Connecticut legislature has balanced the two so as to be more certain that the punishment fits the crime.
Pretrial Diversion Programs
While DUI is taken very seriously by Connecticut law enforcement, the treatment of first offenders is nonetheless less punitive and more rehabilitative than the treatment for those who have driven under the influence two or three times. Many first offenders are eligible for pretrial diversion programs, which are essentially classes and reeducation that can give an offender a second chance.
For example, instead of being convicted of DUI, which can carry a six month jail sentence, fines of up to $1,000, and other consequences, first offenders may be sentenced to complete the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program, which is a pretrial diversion program designed to educate those who have driven under the influence about the potential consequences of their actions. If a person completes the requirements of the program, their charges will be dismissed or “nolle prossed” (placed on an inactive docket) until they are erased.
Call a Stamford DUI Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence for the first time, you no doubt have questions and concerns about what happens next. Calling a skilled Stamford DUI lawyer can be a big help in easing some of your fears. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has handled many of these cases and will work hard on yours. Contact our offices today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.