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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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Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut criminal attorneyAccidents do not always have to involve other vehicles. An accident can happen with an entirely stationary object, such as a street sign, mailbox or even a tree. Property damage happens for a variety of reasons. Most of the time, the property needs to be replaced or repaired by the person at fault, and any additional consequences are minimal. However, if the incident happened because the driver of the vehicle was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the repercussions are more severe.

When Cause Matters

DUI consequences are harsh, carrying a life-long impact. However, with the inclusion of property damages or personal injuries the penalties can double in severity. Additionally, the cause of the property damage carries variable outcomes. If the incident was avoidable if behavior had been different, the penalty is higher. Let us explore the variances of property damage.

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vehicular manslaughter, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyDetermining the most common causes of death in the world is a challenge, one that varies wildly depending on the reporting agency, year, and country. Yet vehicular manslaughter is one that consistently makes the lists year after year, even as other major health crises are addressed and subverted.

Vehicular manslaughter is defined as the unintentional murder of someone while behind the wheel of a car, usually caused by reckless driving or gross negligence. Driving over the speed limit may be considered gross negligence, and thus the vehicular manslaughter charge could be treated as a misdemeanor. Conversely, if the person behind the wheel was drunk at the time of accident in which someone was killed, the charge will likely be a felony because the circumstance in which the person was driving was illegal from the beginning.

In Connecticut, a vehicular manslaughter conviction automatically carries a one-year license suspension and a two-year period in which the person must use an ignition interlock device in his or her car. A large percentage of vehicular manslaughter cases are the result of drunk driving. In Connecticut, this is considered second degree manslaughter, and carries the punishment of a Class C felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 191 second degree manslaughter convictions of this nature in the state.

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Connecticut drunk driving laws, Connecticut DUI lawyer, Connecticut defense attorneyWhen most people fail a breathalyzer test, they admit defeat. Many ask, “What is the point of fighting DUI charges?” However, the truth is that these devices can produce false positives if they are not calibrated correctly. In fact, research has shown that breathalyzers have a 40 percent margin of error, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

There have been several cases of false positives. Last year in Connecticut, a DUI case was thrown out of court after DNA tests revealed that the defendant had a BAC of 0.0.

In addition to questioning the breathalyzer results, there are other potential defenses that could work in your favor. For example, your attorney could question whether the officer had probable cause to pull you over in the first place.

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DUI, myths, Stamford Criminal Defense AttorneyAs is common with many other areas of the law, alcohol-related driving offenses are susceptible to a number of popular myths. Many of these fabrications not only are false, but they also can land you in a lot of trouble if you believe them. All drivers should be aware of the laws of the road, and DUI laws are some of the most important. In order to protect yourself under the law, you should be aware of some of the most popular misconceptions regarding driving under the influence.

1. There Are Ways to Fool a Breathalyzer

Breathalyzers display an accurate measurement of a driver's blood-alcohol level by analyzing his or her breath. Since police began using these machines, urban myths about fooling them have continued to flourish. These have included everything from brushing your teeth to placing a battery or penny in your mouth. Some people have even suggested that being a smoker decreases the breathalyzer's ability to take a reading. According to Bactrack.com, these are all entirely untrue.

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driving under the influenceSome cars can park themselves, brake automatically, and keep the car from drifting across lanes on the highway. In addition to all the advances in automotive technology that have taken place over the last several years, it may be just a matter of time until a device in your car can tell if the driver is too drunk to safely operate the car.

In an effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with suppliers on the development of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). The system would automatically determine the driver’s blood alcohol content by either touch or breath. Ideally, the system would be passive, gathering the needed data without requiring the driver to blow into a breathalyzer. It is even possible that the system could then prevent the driver from operating the car if the driver’s blood alcohol level is above the legal limit.

If such a device or system can be implemented, it is possible that the NHTSA could require the technology to be implemented in all vehicles. However, the first step towards this technology would be to build a research vehicle while ironing out some of the challenges involved, including where to place the touch sensors and how to distinguish between the driver’s breath and that of passengers. The system would have to be very accurate, unobtrusive, and convenient to be suitable for widespread use.

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underage DUI, Connecticut DUI law, underage drinking, BAC, administrative per se, implied consentWe all know that it is both dangerous and illegal to drink and drive, and we educate our children about the potential consequences of doing so. Consuming alcohol before age 21 is considered underage drinking in the United States. However, there are statutes in Connecticut that apply specifically to those who are caught driving under the influence before their 21st birthday.

Unfortunately, mistakes and poor judgement are part of being young. Below are several facts about DUI law in Connecticut that you need to know if your child is charged with a DUI.

Connecticut has a three part law relating to DUIs.

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