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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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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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