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CT defense attorneyWhen 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.

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CT defense lawyerTraffic violations - like driving under the influence (DUI), speeding, and reckless driving - have consequences, including the possibility of temporarily losing your driver’s license. Reasons that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) might suspend your driver’s license include:

  • Accumulating more than 10 points during a two-year period. For example, driving while impaired is worth three points, passing a stopped school bus is worth four points, and not obeying a stop sign is worth two points.
  • Driving while drunk or refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test.
  • Failing to appear in court after receiving a traffic summons for violating a traffic law.
  • Committing vehicular manslaughter, homicide or another serious crime.

These are only some of the reasons you might lose your driving privileges. (There are also additional reasons for suspending a teen driver’s license.) Do not delay in reaching out to an experienced attorney after receiving a traffic citation. We can help fight to keep your driving privileges intact.

Suspension Notice

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CT DUI attorneyDrunk driving is a serious problem in Connecticut’s Fairfield County. According to a 2017 study conducted by 24/7 Wall St., more than one in five adults drinks excessively in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area. Such drinking habits likely contribute to the fact that more than one-third of the area’s roadway fatalities involve alcohol, which is higher than both the state and national average.

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Connecticut with an elevated blood alcohol content. The limit is 0.08%, except for commercial truck drivers, whose limit is 0.04%. A DUI conviction carries the following types of penalties:

  1. Jail time. First offenders may spend up to six months in jail. Offenders convicted for a second time within a 10-year period face jail time up to two years. A third or subsequent offense means up to three years in prison.

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Connecticut DUI attorneyIn the month of December, with holiday celebrations either already underway or imminently approaching, there is the risk of a Connecticut DUI charge. One such occasion in which this risk is encountered is the holiday office party. When alcoholic beverages are served as employees let off steam, vent about stress, and celebrate the close of the corporate year, consumption can lead to a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) elevated beyond the legal limit for drivers in the state.

If you commute to work via subway, bus, train, carpool, or by foot, this scenario will not result in a DUI charge. However, if you drive to work and are unable to utilize public transportation, Uber, or Lyft after consuming holiday office party alcoholic beverages, you run the risk of being stopped and arrested for DUI if your BAC is over the legal limit. If holiday office partying has resulted in a Connecticut DUI charge, you need a Fairfield County DUI defense attorney.

Conviction for DUI in Connecticut Can Affect Your Ability to Commute to Work

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Connecticut DUI lawyerLast week was Halloween. The holiday is in resurgence with the popularity of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, and, because it falls on a Tuesday, kids and adults alike spent the weekend before celebrating with parties and events.

With Halloween fun, as we all know too well from childhood and teenage years, comes mischief. Toilet paper rolls will be strewn across treetops, already shriveling pumpkins smashed in the streets, and, at some gatherings, a veritable witches’ brew of alcohol consumed. While toilet paper confetti and pumpkin punishment can get you in trouble, it is the alcohol-related offenses that can truly turn a fun night into a nightmare in the blink of a bleary eye. If your Halloween ended in a DUI or DWI, you will need an experienced Fairfield County DUI/DWI attorney.

Jail, Fines and Penalties, License Suspension, and IID Installation Are Among the DUI Penalties in Connecticut

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Connecticut DU lawyerMany universities recently celebrated homecoming. Homecoming is a time of year when current university students celebrate the joys of campus life in autumn, that fairest of seasons, and when alumni return to their alma mater to relive glory days, reconnect with friends and former classmates, don school colors, and root for the home team. Tailgating for fall Saturday football games is already a rowdy affair, with revelers often grilling food and enjoying alcoholic beverages before noon. When combined with homecoming celebrations, tailgating can become downright raucous, with alumni consuming alcohol at increased rates.

It’s one thing if you’re a current student and can walk back from the stadium to your dorm or apartment. When you’re no longer a resident of the college town in which you’re celebrating Homecoming, post-tailgating travel involving a vehicle can be problematic. It’s no surprise that a DUI or DWI charge can result during or after Homecoming festivities. If your homecoming return has been soured with a DUI or DWI charge, an experienced Stamford DUI defense attorney will work to protect your legal rights.

Legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Connecticut

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Connecticut DUI lawyer, Connecticut defense attorneyDriving under the influence of any intoxicating substance is against the law in Connecticut. A drugged driving charge will likely include any punishment applicable in the case of a normal DUI penalties — drivers will be charged with driving under the influence. Any prior conviction of DUI, whether the prior charge was for drugs or alcohol, will be considered as a previous offense of DUI and the driver will likely face more severe punishments as such.

While DUI laws pertaining to alcohol prohibit any person from driving if he or she has a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more, there is no threshold standard for the amount of drugs that a person must have in his or her body to be charged with drugged driving. Any amount of drugs in the person’s system means that he or she is eligible to be charged with DUI. Prosecutors need only prove that the driver’s physical or mental processes were at the time affected by the substance and affecting his or her ability to control and operate a vehicle.

Although Connecticut does not have blood tests that it administers in the event of suspected drugged driving, the laws circumscribing the offense are the same as those involving alcohol. Any time a person gets behind the wheel in Connecticut, he or she is operating under the law of implied consent. This means that he or she submits to any required testing if requested by law enforcement. If the person refuses, the officer can immediately revoke and take possession of a person’s driver’s license — even before the case goes to court. A person is legally allowed the opportunity to call an attorney, however, before he or she submits to testing. This is particularly important. If you are pulled over and asked to take a blood, breath, or urine test for suspected drugged driving, it is a good idea to first contact an attorney. The earlier you involve a professional in the situation, the more likely it is that the incident will be resolved without long-lasting implications.

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Stamford DUI defense attorneyOne of the most prevalent questions drivers arrested for the suspicion of operating under the influence tend to have is whether or not they are permitted to refuse the breathalyzer test upon arrest. The answer to this question is generally straightforward. According to the law in the state of Connecticut, you are within your rights to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test if you are pulled over for the suspicion of drinking and driving. However, there are consequences you need to be aware of should you decide to refuse the test.

1. Your Driver’s License Is Automatically Suspended

One of the first consequences you will face when you are found to be operating under the influence is the suspension of your license. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the authority to suspend your driving privileges if you fail or refuse a breathalyzer test or other form of chemical testing. As a first time offender, you will lose your license for six months for failing a test if you are over the age of 21, or for 12 months if you are between the ages of 18 and 20. Younger first time offenders who are 16 or 17 years of age will lose their license for 18 months.

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Fairfield County criminal defense attorneyWith or without any direct evidence of a person's BAC (blood alcohol concentration), Connecticut police have the right to prosecute when a driver is found to be impaired by drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle. The state of Connecticut considers this a criminal offense and takes the prosecution of such offenses very seriously, beginning with the automatic suspension of one’s driver’s license. 

The moment you are arrested for OUI, you are escorted to the police station and your vehicle must be towed at your expense. There are two ways you can lose your license following an OUI arrest in the state of Connecticut: by failing or refusing a chemical alcohol test or through court conviction.

What Happens to My Driving Privileges Under Connecticut Law?

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OUI, DUI, Connecticut DUI defense lawyerChances are you have heard about the alarming OUI (operating under the influence) statistics across the state and the nation, and you might even know someone personally who has been involved with a DUI crime at one point or another. The statistics and the stories you hear at work, in your neighborhood, and around your community are plentiful for a reason: driving under the influence is, sadly, a common crime. The fact that it is so common does not make it acceptable, though; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious criminal offense and is treated as such by Connecticut State law.

How the Offense Is Determined

The state of Connecticut considers driving to be a privilege that one must earn and keep. The state’s Implied Consent Law says that any driver who operates a vehicle is considered to automatically give their consent for alcohol testing the moment they get behind the wheel. In short, if you drive, you are technically--by law--agreeing to be tested for alcohol consumption, should you be pulled over. The state retains its right to prosecute with or without direct evidence of your BAC level. This prosecution is determined by your ability to drive. If you are found to be impaired and your driving ability is affected, the state has the right to prosecute.

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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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holiday, DUI, Connecticut DUI defense attorneyThe holiday season is a busy time, with families getting together, going out to dinner after a long day of shopping, and spending time with friends at the local pub, restaurant, or bar. Police officers are busier, too, stopping drivers they believe may be intoxicated. In fact, it appears they are putting some extra manpower into catching more DUI drivers this holiday season.

Thanksgiving Marked Beginning of Efforts

For officers, the arrests begin Thanksgiving Day and continue on through the New Year; this year was no exception. According to a press release from the State Police, they made nine DUI arrests, as well as another 393 for speeding on the very first day of the effort. They also issued 56 tickets for seatbelt violations and another 894 tickets for moving violations that included unsafe lane changes, following too closely, using cell phone while driving, texting, and failure to signal.

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Connecticut drunk driving attorney, Connecticut defense attoney, Connecticut criminal lawyer,Drunk driving in Connecticut is not worth the cost, or the risk. Sadly, the percentage of Connecticut drivers who admit to driving after drinking too much is still higher than the national average. Even more concerning is that an alarming number of parents get behind the wheel, drunk, with their children in the car. Whether they are aware of it or not, this could lead to additional charges, regardless of there not being an official law covering driving under the influence with minor passengers.

Even at First Offense, DUI Laws Are Costly

Connecticut has cracked down on drunk driving over the years; now, even on a first DUI offense, your license can be suspended and you may spend anywhere from six months to a year with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle. Each additional offense increases the level of consequences, and if you are charged enough, you could face serious criminal charges.

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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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ignition interlock, DUI, Connecticut DUI defense lawyerBeginning on July 1, 2015, a stricter ignition interlock requirement will be implemented for drivers convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). Under the new law, the Department of Motor Vehicles is authorized to require ignition interlock devices to be installed in the vehicles of first-time DUI offenders.

An ignition interlock device is a small device that measures blood alcohol which is wired into the ignition of a vehicle. The driver must blow into the device before the vehicle may be started, and the vehicle will not start if the driver has a measurable blood alcohol level. Ignition interlock devices are shown to decrease the number of repeat DUI offenses by as much as 67 percent.

The new law impacts penalties imposed for a DUI conviction or for administrative violations of Connecticut’s drunk driving laws. In addition to requiring interlock ignition devices for DUI first offenders, the new law also:

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Common traffic violations, traffic offenses, Connecticut traffic violations attorneyAlthough every driver is responsible for following traffic laws, it is easy to make a careless mistake and wind up with a ticket. Being inattentive for even a second can cause a person to speed or miss a stop sign.

In most cases, facing a traffic violation is not the end of the world. However, they can come with steep fines, and in some cases, a driver may even lose his or her license. In the most serious cases, offenders may also face jail time. This is why it is so important for drivers to take proactive steps to avoid the most common traffic violations.

Here is a breakdown of the three of most common traffic violations in Connecticut:

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drivers license suspension, Stamford criminal attorneyIn Connecticut, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver’s license for a number of offenses. These can include offenses that are not even related to the operation of a vehicle. Your problems can quickly be compounded if you drive your vehicle while your license is suspended, because you could face criminal misdemeanor charges.

A driver’s license may be suspended for offenses that include, but are not limited to:

  • DUI, including refusal to submit to a blood, breath or urine test;
  • Unpaid tickets;
  • Accumulation of DMV points;
  • Failing to maintain car insurance; and
  • Failing to make court-ordered child support payments by more than 90 days.

The length of time a license is suspended depends on the reason for the suspension, and can be anywhere from 30 days to a period of years. After the suspension period is over, you must reinstate your license before you can legally drive.

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lack of DUI evidence, Stamford CT criminal lawyerFacing DUI charges is an extremely frightening experience. Defendants may lose their license, pay steep fines, and even face prison sentences. In cases that involve a fatal car accident, the outcome can affect the rest of a person’s life.

In these instances, it is especially important to consult an experienced criminal attorney who understands how to use the law to a client’s favor. In many cases, charges can be reduced or even dropped. Although no lawyer can guarantee an outcome, professional legal guidance can help a person avoid costly mistakes that may reduce the likelihood of a positive case outcome.

When there is a lack of evidence in a case, or if law enforcement did not follow certain regulations, the prosecution may offer a plea deal. A recently settled case that took place in Stamford exemplifies this fact.

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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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