West Hartford DUI Lawyers Protecting Client Rights
A firm that explains Connecticut’s harsh DUI laws
Flaherty Legal Group is a West Hartford-based law firm representing individuals and Connecticut residents accused of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. The firm’s attorneys have decades of combined experience advocating for clients in court and work hard to protect clients from the lasting effects of a DUI conviction.
A drunk driving charge can be easy to receive
An arrest and conviction for DUI-related charges can have serious consequences someone and leave them entangled in the justice system. There are several Connecticut statutes that apply to a person stopped with alcohol in their system:
- Connecticut General Statute §§ 14-227a — Under this law, anyone who operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be arrested and charged with a crime. The legal limit for the state is .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC), unless the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle, in which case, the legal limit is reduced to .04 percent BAC. The law applies to automobiles, snowmobiles and even all-terrain vehicles.
- Connecticut General Statute §§ 14-227b — Connecticut is what is sometimes called an “implied consent” state. This means that everyone driving on the state’s roads impliedly consents to having their blood, breath or urine tested for alcohol or drugs if a police officer has reason to suspect they are intoxicated. A minor’s parents also impliedly give consent for their children to be tested if stopped while driving.
- Connecticut General Statute §§ 14-227g — Connecticut has a heightened DUI standard for underage drinkers. Individuals under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI for a BAC of only .02 percent. However, the fact that a driver appears to be between 16 and 21 is not, by itself, sufficient to justify a police officer stopping a vehicle.
Those arrested for DUI can potentially have their vehicle impounded for 48 hours, after which time they are liable for the costs of towing and storage.
A DUI arrest can have major penalties in Connecticut
The fines and potential jail time for a DUI charge can be significant. A conviction can remain on one’s arrest record and interfere with the ability to get a job. Connecticut raises the penalties for every subsequent offense, as follows:
- First conviction — An arrest and conviction for DUI can result in a sentence of up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and a suspended license for one year.
- Second conviction — A second conviction within 10 years of the first conviction results in a potential sentence of up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, a suspended license for one year and an ignition interlock device for two years.
- Third conviction — A third conviction within 10 years of the first conviction results in a potential prison sentence of up to three years, a fine of up to $8,000 and permanent revocation of the person’s driver’s license.
It is possible to have a sentence reduced to probation or community service. An experienced Connecticut DUI attorney helps clients avoid potential penalties.
What to do when you are pulled over
There are several steps that a driver should follow when pulled over:
- Turn off the car engine and keep hands on the wheel —Furtive movements might make police officers suspicious. By remaining still, one is less likely to make the officer feel threatened.
- Do not speak unless spoken to by the officer — Once pulled over, one should not attempt to talk one’s way out of a ticket. It increases the likelihood of admitting to something one should not and may be perceived as suspicious.
- Do not resist a search — A person who is pulled over does not have to consent to a vehicle search. However, a cop may elect to search the vehicle anyway. Even if the search is unwarranted based on the circumstances, attempting to interfere can lead to arrest and more charges.
- Do not refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer — Under Connecticut law, one consents to a Breathalyzer or other test simply by driving on the state’s roads. Refusing the test can lead to the same penalties as a DUI.
Someone who has been arrested after a traffic stop should remain silent other than to request an attorney immediately.
Contact an experienced Connecticut DUI attorney
Flaherty Legal Group, LLC in West Hartford represents individuals charged with DUI in Connecticut. Call the firm at (860) 904-2034 or contact the attorneys online to schedule an appointment.