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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

DUIs are almost always unexpected, as are their potential repercussions. No one ever leaves their house—or the bar, or a restaurant, or a party—with the intention of getting a DUI. In truth, most people who get DUIs would probably tell you that it wasn’t even their intention to drive drunk. It is deceptively easy to miscalculate the amount of alcohol that might show up on a breathalyzer at any given time, and your blood alcohol content may not match how intoxicated you feel.

However, a DUI doesn’t have to be intentional or expected to do real damage in a person’s life. DUI horror stories are unfortunately common. If defendants are not properly represented, the DUI sentencing can be quite harsh. Moreover, a DUI conviction can have effects that ripple throughout a person’s life in many different ways, from employment issues to government program eligibility to custody disadvantages to social stigma.

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As such, getting a DUI can be incredibly overwhelming. This is especially true for those who are going through the DUI process for the first time. While dealing with your own fear, anxiety, and trepidation about the potential consequences of a DUI conviction, you might also be trying to make sense of the process without knowing what to expect.

If you’re facing DUI charges for the first time, here are some things it’s important to keep in mind.

  • Potential Penalties are Steep: The State of Connecticut takes DUIs very seriously. As such, the potential penalties for DUIs are also very serious. First-time DUIs do have lower sentencing stipulations than multiple offense DUIs. However, they are still rather steep in their own right. Potential legal sentences for a first-time DUI include:

 

  1. Fines of $500 to $1,000
  2. Imprisonment of up to 6 months
  3. Driver’s license suspension of up to 45 days
  4. One year with an ignition interlock device
  5. Participation in a MADD victim impact panel
  6. Completion of a DMV-approved substance abuse treatment program
  • There are Two Hearings: When you are charged with a DUI in Connecticut, two separate processes are kicked into gear.

The first deals with the criminal charges that come with a DUI. This process consists of a hearing before a judge, represented by an attorney. It will determine what you are convicted or not convicted of criminally. It will also determine what sentence you will receive if you are convicted.

The second deals with the administrative charges that come with a DUI. This process is facilitated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When you get charged with a DUI, the DMV is notified, and sends you an official Notice telling you they plan on suspending your license. You may then attend an administrative hearing regarding your license suspension. In the hearing, four issues will be addressed:

  1. Did the police have probable cause to arrest someone for driving under the influence in a way that impaired their ability to operate the vehicle?
  2. Were you arrested?
  3. Did you allow or refuse a drug/alcohol test? And if you allowed it, did it come back positive, and was it conducted within 2 hours of you operating the vehicle?
  4. Were you personally driving the car?

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DMV administrative DUI hearings have a much lower burden of proof than criminal DUI hearings. A criminal case theoretically starts with the presumption of your innocence (until proven otherwise).  The prosecutor must prove within a reasonable doubt, by an abundance of evidence, that you are guilty. An administrative DMV hearing starts with the foregone decision to suspend your license, which you have the burden of refuting by proving that the decision is erroneous based on the record of events.

If you decide not to fight the DMV’s decision, you will automatically have your license suspended for the statutory time period. If you do decide to fight—especially with the help of a well-versed, knowledgeable attorney—you have a chance of changing that outcome.

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  • You Should Consult with an Attorney: Considering the seriousness of DUI charges in Connecticut, it is seriously advised that you consult with and/or hire an attorney to represent you. An experienced DUI attorney can make all the difference when it comes to conviction and sentencing, and may even be able to get your charges dropped or sentence amended to a non-criminal deferment program. Many DUI attorneys will represent you both in your criminal proceedings and in your DMV hearing, which is just as important if you, like most people in Connecticut, depend on being able to drive to function in your everyday life. Even if you are hesitant about hiring an attorney right away, you should at the very least consult with an attorney about your unique case to figure out what your prospects are and to strategize about the best way to move forward.

Are you looking to beat your DUI charges and get on with your life? Are you in Ashford, CT? Don’t wait. Call Steven Tomeo and Associates at (860) 764-2744 for a free consultation.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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