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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

Interviewer: What are the top misconceptions clients have about the whole DUI process when they come to see you that you have to explain to them?

People Are Commonly Mistaken About the Penalties for Multiple DUI Charges

Steven: I think that when people come in to see a lawyer, there can be a few factors about the charge that they are confused or either misinformed about. Many times, one of the misconceptions is when you hear, “I work with a man, and he had five DUIs, and he never saw a day in jail. Here, this is only my second DUI, and you’re saying the prosecutor wants me to go to jail.”

People Misinterpret the Written Statute

Or they go on the Internet and they read the statute, and they come back and tell you what the law is. You say to yourself, “What did they do? Just change it or something like that? I’m not aware of that.” They misinterpret what the statute actually specifies. Or, if they are just an out-and-out alcoholic, even though they are functional, and you got to deal with the ancillary issues. Truthfully, that’s probably the worst thing to have to deal with. “I wasn’t’ drunk. I only had six or seven beers and I drank over a seven-hour period.”

Your DUI Case Is Not the Same as Your Acquaintance’s or Your Co-Worker’s

The biggest misconception is they always have an acquaintance that’s had six or seven DUIs that’s never been in jail. I say to them, “Not in this day and age, but I have had clients that have had six or seven DUIs and have not gone to jail.” It wasn’t through any expertise of me as a lawyer, it was, the year they had them, where they had them and other contributing factors. The DUIs that they had maybe were out of state, and their record didn’t follow them to Connecticut, so that when the prosecutor ran their record, nothing turned up.

Are Financial Issues the Major Obstacle in Hiring an Attorney to Defend Your DUI Case?

Interviewer: What have you encountered through your practice that makes people afraid or hesitant to even get legal help, to hire a lawyer when they have a DUI arrest?

Steven: I think money is an issue. I think most people want to have representation, but money is a major issue. Then I think a growing part of not having a lawyer represent you or review things for you is that, when they go in to see the prosecutors now if this is their first offense, the prosecutor tells them about the Alcohol Education Program. So, instead of consulting with an attorney, they take the Alcohol Education Program option.


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