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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

Interviewer: How well do you know the people in the court system, such as the judges and the prosecutors? Have you developed a pretty good relationship with most of them over the years?

Steven: Yes, I have a good relationship with them. Over time I have developed good working relationships with the judges and prosecutors. In Connecticut, there are a couple of courts that I’ve been going to for some time and that I’ve known the prosecutors there basically ever since they started, and the same with the court personnel. I’ve known them since they were much younger and started in the business. I have a familiarity with the people and how they work.

Interviewer: Do you feel like because they know you there’s a level of respect they have for you that benefits your client?

Steven: Who knows? I hope so. I find that most prosecutors are cut from the same mold. They are highly skeptical of the people they prosecute. I am representing a client and while it is not my intention get the prosecutor upset I am there to advocate for my client. I think they know how you handle your clients and their cases. I think the prosecutors know that if I’m representing this individual that they can expect that I’ll be respectful and my clients will be respectful. I find that a lot of prosecutors like you if you agree with them and not with your client or if you beat them at trials. Most everyone is in-between. I have no social relationships with any prosecutor or Judge.

Interviewer: In terms of DUI, in Connecticut is the charge called DUI or DWI? I know there are a number of acronyms.

Steven: I think it’s pretty interchangeable between DUI and DWI and OMVI.

Interviewer: I’m in New York. Here it’s DWI mostly. In some states, it’s OWI and OUI.

The Statute in Connecticut for Drunk Driving is Known as Operating Under the Influence and is Most Commonly Referred to as DUI

Steven: Actually, the statute’s operating under the influence, but most everybody refers to it by the acronyms, either DUI or DWI.

Here is a copy of the statute:

C.G.S.A. § 14-227a

  • 14-227a. Operation while under the influence of liquor or drug or while having an elevated blood alcohol content

Currentness

(a) Operation while under the influence or while having an elevated blood alcohol content. No person shall operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both. A person commits the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both if such person operates a motor vehicle (1) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, or (2) while such person has an elevated blood alcohol content. For the purposes of this section, “elevated blood alcohol content” means a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is eight-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, except that if such person is operating a commercial motor vehicle, “elevated blood alcohol content” means a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is four-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, and “motor vehicle” includes a snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle, as those terms are defined in section 14-379.

(b) Admissibility of chemical analysis. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, in any criminal prosecution for violation of subsection (a) of this section, evidence respecting the amount of alcohol or drug in the defendant’s blood or urine at the time of the alleged offense, as shown by a chemical analysis of the defendant’s breath, blood or urine shall be admissible and competent provided: (1) The defendant was afforded a reasonable opportunity to telephone an attorney prior to the performance of the test and consented to the taking of the test upon which such analysis is made; (2) a true copy of the report of the test result was mailed to or personally delivered to the defendant within twenty-four hours or by the end of the next regular business day, after such result was known, whichever is later; (3) the test was performed by or at the direction of a police officer according to methods and with equipment approved by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and was performed in accordance with the regulations adopted under subsection (d) of this section; (4) the device used for such test was checked for accuracy in accordance with the regulations adopted under subsection (d) of this section; (5) an additional chemical test of the same type was performed at least ten minutes after the initial test was performed or, if requested by the police officer for reasonable cause, an additional chemical test of a different type was performed to detect the presence of a drug or drugs other than or in addition to alcohol, provided the results of the initial test shall not be inadmissible under this subsection if reasonable efforts were made to have such additional test performed in accordance with the conditions set forth in this subsection and such additional test was not performed or was not performed within a reasonable time, or the results of such additional test are not admissible for failure to meet a condition set forth in this subsection; and (6) evidence is presented that the test was commenced within two hours of operation. In any prosecution under this section it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the results of such chemical analysis establish the ratio of alcohol in the blood of the defendant at the time of the alleged offense, except that if the results of the additional test indicate that the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such defendant is ten-hundredths of one per cent or less of alcohol, by weight, and is higher than the results of the first test, evidence shall be presented that demonstrates that the test results and the analysis thereof accurately indicate the blood alcohol content at the time of the alleged offense.

(c) Evidence of blood alcohol content. In any prosecution for a violation of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section, reliable evidence respecting the amount of alcohol in the defendant’s blood or urine at the time of the alleged offense, as shown by a chemical analysis of the defendant’s blood, breath or urine, otherwise admissible under subsection (b) of this section, shall be admissible only at the request of the defendant.

(d) Testing and analysis of blood, breath and urine. The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall ascertain the reliability of each method and type of device offered for chemical testing and analysis purposes of blood, of breath and of urine and certify those methods and types which said commissioner finds suitable for use in testing and analysis of blood, breath and urine, respectively, in this state. The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54,1governing the conduct of chemical tests, the operation and use of chemical test devices, the training and certification of operators of such devices and the drawing or obtaining of blood, breath or urine samples as said commissioner finds necessary to protect the health and safety of persons who submit to chemical tests and to insure reasonable accuracy in testing results. Such regulations shall not require recertification of a police officer solely because such officer terminates such officer’s employment with the law enforcement agency for which certification was originally issued and commences employment with another such agency.

(e) Evidence of refusal to submit to test. In any criminal prosecution for a violation of subsection (a) of this section, evidence that the defendant refused to submit to a blood, breath or urine test requested in accordance with section 14-227b shall be admissible provided the requirements of subsection (b) of said section have been satisfied. If a case involving a violation of subsection (a) of this section is tried to a jury, the court shall instruct the jury as to any inference that may or may not be drawn from the defendant’s refusal to submit to a blood, breath or urine test.

(f) Reduction, nolle or dismissal prohibited. If a person is charged with a violation of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the charge may not be reduced, nolled or dismissed unless the prosecuting authority states in open court such prosecutor’s reasons for the reduction, nolle or dismissal.

(g) Penalties for operation while under the influence. Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall: (1) For conviction of a first violation, (A) be fined not less than five hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars, and (B) be (i) imprisoned not more than six months, forty-eight consecutive hours of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner, or (ii) imprisoned not more than six months, with the execution of such sentence of imprisonment suspended entirely and a period of probation imposed requiring as a condition of such probation that such person perform one hundred hours of community service, as defined in section 14-227e, and (C) have such person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege suspended for forty-five days and, as a condition for the restoration of such license, be required to install an ignition interlock device on each motor vehicle owned or operated by such person and, upon such restoration, be prohibited for the one-year period following such restoration from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j; (2) for conviction of a second violation within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense, (A) be fined not less than one thousand dollars or more than four thousand dollars, (B) be imprisoned not more than two years, one hundred twenty consecutive days of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner, and sentenced to a period of probation requiring as a condition of such probation that such person: (i) Perform one hundred hours of community service, as defined in section 14-227e, (ii) submit to an assessment through the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch of the degree of such person’s alcohol or drug abuse, and (iii) undergo a treatment program if so ordered, and (C) have such person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege suspended for forty-five days and, as a condition for the restoration of such license, be required to install an ignition interlock device on each motor vehicle owned or operated by such person and, upon such restoration, be prohibited for the three-year period following such restoration from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, except that for the first year of such three-year period, such person’s operation of a motor vehicle shall be limited to such person’s transportation to or from work or school, an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, an ignition interlock device service center or an appointment with a probation officer; and (3) for conviction of a third and subsequent violation within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense, (A) be fined not less than two thousand dollars or more than eight thousand dollars, (B) be imprisoned not more than three years, one year of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner, and sentenced to a period of probation requiring as a condition of such probation that such person: (i) Perform one hundred hours of community service, as defined in section 14-227e, (ii) submit to an assessment through the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch of the degree of such person’s alcohol or drug abuse, and (iii) undergo a treatment program if so ordered, and (C) have such person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege permanently revoked upon such third offense, except that if such person’s revocation is reversed or reduced pursuant to subsection (i) of section 14-111, such person shall be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, for the time period prescribed in subdivision (2) of subsection (i) of section 14-111. For purposes of the imposition of penalties for a second or third and subsequent offense pursuant to this subsection, a conviction under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section in effect on October 1, 1981, or as amended thereafter, a conviction under the provisions of either subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this section, a conviction under the provisions of section 14-227m, a conviction under the provisions of subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n, a conviction under the provisions of section 53a-56b or 53a-60d or a conviction in any other state of any offense the essential elements of which are determined by the court to be substantially the same as subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this section, section 14-227m, subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n or section 53a-56b or 53a-60d, shall constitute a prior conviction for the same offense.

(h) Suspension of operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege (1) Each court shall report each conviction under subsection (a) of this section to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, in accordance with the provisions of section 14-141. The commissioner shall suspend the motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege of the person reported as convicted for the period of time required by subsection (g) of this section. The commissioner shall determine the period of time required by subsection (g) of this section based on the number of convictions such person has had within the specified time period according to such person’s driving history record, notwithstanding the sentence imposed by the court for such conviction. (2) The motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege of a person found guilty under subsection (a) of this section who, at the time of the offense, was operating a motor vehicle in accordance with a special operator’s permit issued pursuant to section 14-37a shall be suspended by the commissioner for twice the period of time set forth in subsection (g) of this section. (3) If an appeal of any conviction under subsection (a) of this section is taken, the suspension of the motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege by the commissioner, in accordance with this subsection, shall be stayed during the pendency of such appeal.

(i) Ignition interlock device. (1) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall permit a person whose license has been suspended in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) or subparagraph (C) of subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section to operate a motor vehicle if (A) such person has served either the suspension required under said subparagraph (C) or the suspension required under subsection (i) of section 14-227b, and (B) such person has installed an approved ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle owned or to be operated by such person, and verifies to the commissioner, in such manner as the commissioner prescribes, that such device has been installed. For a period of one year after the installation of an ignition interlock device by a person who is subject to subparagraph (C) of subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section, such person’s operation of a motor vehicle shall be limited to such person’s transportation to or from work or school, an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, an ignition interlock device service center or an appointment with a probation officer. Except as provided in sections 53a-56b and 53a-60d, no person whose license is suspended by the commissioner for any other reason shall be eligible to operate a motor vehicle equipped with an approved ignition interlock device.

(2) All costs of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device shall be borne by the person required to install such device. No court sentencing a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section may waive any fees or costs associated with the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device.

(3) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this subsection. The regulations shall establish procedures for the approval of ignition interlock devices, for the proper calibration and maintenance of such devices and for the installation of such devices by any firm approved and authorized by the commissioner and shall specify acts by persons required to install and use such devices that constitute a failure to comply with the requirements for the installation and use of such devices, the conditions under which such noncompliance will result in an extension of the period during which such persons are restricted to the operation of motor vehicles equipped with such devices and the duration of any such extension. The commissioner shall ensure that such firm provide notice to both the commissioner and the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch whenever a person required to install such device commits a violation with respect to the installation, maintenance or use of such device.

(4) The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to authorize the continued operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device by any person whose operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege is withdrawn, suspended or revoked for any other reason.

(5) The provisions of this subsection shall apply to any person whose license has been suspended in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) or subparagraph (C) of subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section on or after January 1, 2012.

(6) Whenever a person is permitted by the commissioner under this subsection to operate a motor vehicle if such person has installed an approved ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle owned or to be operated by such person, the commissioner shall indicate in the electronic record maintained by the commissioner pertaining to such person’s operator’s license or driving history that such person is restricted to operating a motor vehicle that is equipped with an ignition interlock device and, if applicable, that such person’s operation of a motor vehicle is limited to such person’s transportation to or from work or school, an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, an ignition interlock device service center or an appointment with a probation officer, and the duration of such restriction or limitation, and shall ensure that such electronic record is accessible by law enforcement officers. Any such person shall pay the commissioner a fee of one hundred dollars prior to the installation of such device.

(7) There is established the ignition interlock administration account which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account in the General Fund. The commissioner shall deposit all fees paid pursuant to subdivision (6) of this subsection in the account. Funds in the account may be used by the commissioner for the administration of this subsection.

(8) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes to the contrary, upon request of any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section whose operator’s license is under suspension on January 1, 2012, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may reduce the term of suspension prescribed in subsection (g) of this section and place a restriction on the operator’s license of such person that restricts the holder of such license to the operation of a motor vehicle that is equipped with an approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, for the remainder of such prescribed period of suspension.

(9) Any person required to install an ignition interlock device under this section shall be supervised by personnel of the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch while such person is subject to probation supervision, or by personnel of the Department of Motor Vehicles if such person is not subject to probation supervision, and such person shall be subject to any other terms and conditions as the commissioner may prescribe and any provision of the general statutes or the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection not inconsistent herewith.

(10) Notwithstanding the periods prescribed in subsection (g) of this section and subdivision (2) of subsection (i) of section 14-111 during which a person is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, such periods may be extended in accordance with the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection.

(j) Participation in alcohol education and treatment program. In addition to any fine or sentence imposed pursuant to the provisions of subsection (g) of this section, the court may order such person to participate in an alcohol education and treatment program.

(k) Seizure and admissibility of medical records of injured operator. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, evidence respecting the amount of alcohol or drug in the blood or urine of an operator of a motor vehicle involved in an accident who has suffered or allegedly suffered physical injury in such accident, which evidence is derived from a chemical analysis of a blood sample taken from or a urine sample provided by such person after such accident at the scene of the accident, while en route to a hospital or at a hospital, shall be competent evidence to establish probable cause for the arrest by warrant of such person for a violation of subsection (a) of this section and shall be admissible and competent in any subsequent prosecution thereof if: (1) The blood sample was taken or the urine sample was provided for the diagnosis and treatment of such injury; (2) if a blood sample was taken, the blood sample was taken in accordance with the regulations adopted under subsection (d) of this section; (3) a police officer has demonstrated to the satisfaction of a judge of the Superior Court that such officer has reason to believe that such person was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drug or both and that the chemical analysis of such blood or urine sample constitutes evidence of the commission of the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drug or both in violation of subsection (a) of this section; and (4) such judge has issued a search warrant in accordance with section 54-33a authorizing the seizure of the chemical analysis of such blood or urine sample. Such search warrant may also authorize the seizure of the medical records prepared by the hospital in connection with the diagnosis or treatment of such injury.

(lParticipation in victim impact panel program. If the court sentences a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section to a period of probation, the court may require as a condition of such probation that such person participate in a victim impact panel program approved by the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch. Such victim impact panel program shall provide a nonconfrontational forum for the victims of alcohol-related or drug-related offenses and offenders to share experiences on the impact of alcohol-related or drug-related incidents in their lives. Such victim impact panel program shall be conducted by a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of victims of accidents caused by persons who operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both. Such organization may assess a participation fee of not more than seventy-five dollars on any person required by the court to participate in such program.

Credits

(1963, P.A. 616, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1964; 1965, Feb.Sp.Sess., P.A. 219; 1967, P.A. 612, § 1, eff. June 21, 1967; 1969, P.A. 450, § 4, eff. June 16, 1969; 1971, P.A. 318; 1971, P.A. 741; 1973, P.A. 73-253, § 4; 1975, P.A. 75-308, § 1; 1976, P.A. 76-6, § 1, eff. March 26, 1976; 1977, P.A. 77-340, § 8; 1977, P.A. 77-614, § 323, eff. Jan. 1, 1979; 1980, P.A. 80-438, §§ 2, 3; 1981, P.A. 81-144, § 1, eff. May 19, 1981; 1981, P.A. 81-446, § 2; 1982, P.A. 82-408, § 2; 1983, P.A. 83-63, §§ 1, 2, eff. May 9, 1983; 1983, P.A. 83-534, § 1; 1983, P.A. 83-571, § 4; 1984, P.A. 84-198, § 3, eff. May 23, 1984; 1984, P.A. 84-429, § 40; 1984, P.A. 84-546, § 43, eff. June 14, 1984; 1985, P.A. 85-387, § 1; 1985, P.A. 85-596, § 1; 1986, P.A. 86-345; 1988, P.A. 88-85; 1988, P.A. 88-302; 1989, P.A. 89-110, § 4; 1989, P.A. 89-314, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 19901990, P.A. 90-230, § 21, eff. June 8, 19901991, P.A. 91-407, § 9, eff. July 2, 19911993, P.A. 93-271, § 2, eff. June 29, 19931993, P.A. 93-302, §§ 1 to 3; 1993, P.A. 93-371, §§ 2, 4, eff. July 1, 19931993, P.A. 93-381, § 9, eff. July 1, 19931994, P.A. 94-60; 1994, May 25 Sp.Sess., P.A. 94-1, § 18, eff. July 1, 19941995, P.A. 95-257, §§ 12, 21, eff. July 1, 19951995, P.A. 95-314, § 1; 1999, P.A. 99-218, §§ 3, 4, eff. July 1, 19991999, P.A. 99-255, § 1; 2000, P.A. 00-196, §§ 49, 50; 2001, P.A. 01-201, § 1; 2002, P.A. 02-70, § 69, eff. July 1, 20022002, May 9 Sp.Sess., P.A. 02-1, § 108, eff. July 1, 20022003, P.A. 03-278, § 47, eff. July 9, 20032003, P.A. 03-265, § 1; 2004, P.A. 04-257, § 101, eff. June 14, 20042004, P.A. 04-199, § 31, eff. July 1, 20042005, P.A. 05-218, § 28; 2005, June Sp.Sess., P.A. 05-3, § 111; 2006, P.A. 06-147, § 1; 2009, P.A. 09-187, §§ 42, 62, 66; 2010, P.A. 10-110, § 6, eff. July 1, 20102010, P.A. 10-110, §§ 45, 46; 2011, P.A. 11-51, § 134(a), eff. July 1, 20112011, P.A. 11-48, §§ 51, 52, eff. Jan. 1, 20122011, P.A. 11-51, §§ 216, 217, eff. Jan. 1, 20122012, P.A. 12-178, §§ 2, 3, 6, eff. July 1, 20122013, P.A. 13-271, §§ 51 to 53, eff. July 1, 20132014, P.A. 14-228, § 5, eff. July 1, 20152016, P.A. 16-126, § 3.)

Is There a Segment of the Population That Are Prone to DUI Charges?

Interviewer: Is there a typical type of person that is usually arrested for DUI that you have encountered? Steven: I have not performed a statistical or sociological analysis of this. However, I can tell you that in my practice I have often thought that the vast majority of my clients are out driving between the hours of 9 pm and 3 am.

Are You on the Roadways After Midnight? Attorney Tomeo Believes That the Time of Day of the Police Stop is the Most Common Factor Among People Arrested for DUI

With arrests generated by the state police in our area, stops are often initiated as a result of a moving motor vehicle offense or infraction, such as seeing the motorist cross the center line, speeding or crossing the fog line. Even non-moving violations trigger a stop like a broken tail light or persons driving with their lights out for a short distance.

DUI Charges Do Not Discriminate: Any Driver is Subject to a DUI Charge

I do think that the time, the hour of the day, is important. No matter who you are, no matter what your background is, there’s a high risk of being pulled over if you’re driving erratically.

Interviewer: Is there anything about DUI that you have seen change over the years? Are people today different? Is the law very different?

Society has changed. There are organizations like MADD that lobby for changes in the law. There is anecdotal evidence that they sit in Courts and grade prosecutor and Judges with regard to DUI cases. Many people and organizations including breweries and distiller promote safe drinking and responsible drinking, which in many cases means less drinking. Restaurants and bars are more inclined to “shut off” a drinker. On the other hand there is Uber who can drive you home so you can drink and not have to worry about driving. Society is more sensitive to drinking and driving because of the devastating impact and affects drunk driving accidents and injuries have on families and society overall. Think about it. There really is no defenseable argument to drunk driving or drinking and impaired driving.

STEVEN TOMEO, ESQ.

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