Connecticut’s Alcohol Education Program
Interviewer: Let’s talk about the AEP program right? AEP is an acronym for the Alcohol Education Program? You mentioned this program is becoming more difficult to qualify for. Are most people under the assumption that they can just apply for it and be admitted with little difficulty?
Steve Tomeo: The vast majority of people are admitted but what about if you’re not that person? A typical example is being that Connecticut is so close to New York, in New York if you are picked up for drunk driving; many times the charge is reduced to driving while impaired.
Prior Offenses, Even Out-of-State, Can Discount Your Chance for Entry into the Alcohol Education Program
Connecticut doesn’t consider that driving impaired a conviction for DUI. If you have a driving while impaired in New York and you get picked up in Connecticut for driving under the influence and that shows up on your record search, the judge may think, “Why should I give him the Alcohol Education Program when he’s already been caught once before and now he’s been caught again?”
Issues like that you have to resolve before your client is disqualified for the program, so sometimes, while the vast majority of people are placed into the Alcohol Education Program it’s not an absolute guarantee.
Organizations Such as MADD Scrutinize the Judges and Prosecutors on Their DUI Sentencing Records
Judges and prosecutors are monitored on how many defendants they place in the program. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers routinely send their advocates into court to monitor prosecutors and judges as to how they’re ruling on these issues. They make notes of it and sometimes they file memos when the judges and those prosecutors come up for reinstatement or renewal.