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If negotiations with the prosecutor breakdown, you reject the prosecutor’s plea bargain offer, and you go to trial and you’re convicted, you go to jail. You wind up with a conviction. If it’s a first conviction, you can go to jail up to 6 months, 48 hours of which is mandatory. There is probation plus a fine, fees, and costs. There are requirements with probation like having to take a victim impact panel given by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, undergoing alcohol treatment or counseling, repayment of any damages you caused. Often times this is left up to the Department of Adult Probation.

The Jail Sentences Escalate for Subsequent DUI Convictions

If you’re a second offender you can be sentenced for up to 2 years of jail, of which 120 days may not be suspended. If you are a third offender, you go to jail for 3 years of which 1 year may not be suspended. There have been some changes to the DUI Laws in the past 2 years regarding the minimum mandatory sentencing. However, there is legislation permitting the Department of Corrections to classify you when you go into jail and then determine whether you have to do all or a portion of the mandatory minimum sentence. This depends upon your prior history of alcohol and/or drug abuse, whether you can get into a program in the penal system, whether you complete that program successfully or if they think you’ve made strides and deserve to be released earlier. Actually, it is an early parole.

Multiple Offenses: Connecticut Will Factor in Conviction Received Out-of-state

Connecticut counts out-of-state convictions. If you have a conviction out of state, for example you have a conviction in the State of Texas and Connecticut finds out about it then you could be considered a second offender in the State of Connecticut if the Texas one was your first one. That puts you into a real serious predicament because second offense in Connecticut is a felony. If you get multiple convictions, for instance if you pick up a second conviction in Connecticut, that’s a felony also. Connecticut counts the number of convictions to determine the severity of the penalty and whether it is a felony.

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Litchfield. April 01, 2003 Not Reported in A.2dMV18020209137

The defendant, Kevin Maslak, is charged with driving while under the influence (DUI) in violation of C.G.S. Section 14 227a. The State has filed a Second Part of Information charging the…

…The only effect that a prior out– of– state conviction has is to enhance the penalty on the theory that the present DUI offense is made more serious by reason of its being a repetition of earlier DUI convictions….

…The court must decide if the elements of an out– of– state DUI statute are substantially the same as the elements of our DUI statute….

…These penalties had been in effect since enhancement provisions relating to the use of out-of state convictions were added to Section 14-227a by Public Act 99-255 which became effective on October 1, 1999….

…When the defendant was convicted in 1996 for DUI in New York, Section 14-227a did not contain provisions permitting the use of convictions from other states to enhance penalties….

First Offenders in Connecticut May Be Eligible for a Diversion Program

Moreover, unlike a lot of states, Connecticut has a diversionary program. If you never had a conviction for a DUI and the Connecticut charge for DUI is your first one ever, and you’ve never attended the alcohol education program within the past 10 years, then Connecticut allows you to a diversionary program. The program entails attending some classes and after you take the classes, you stay out of future trouble and then later your case is dismissed.

Supreme Court of Connecticut. June 03, 1986 200 Conn. 102 509 A.2d 1035 12736

Defendant was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, improper use of marker, registration or license, and operating a nonregistered motor vehicle. The Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury, Gaffney, J., granted defendant’s application to participate in an alcohol education program….

…[1] A person admitted to the pretrial alcohol education program remains under the jurisdiction of the court for control purposes until he has successfully completed the program and his charges are dismissed….

…The issue in this case is whether a person who is convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor in violation of General Statutes § 14–227a during the period such person is participating in a pretrial program of alcohol education and treatment may be found ineligible to continue participation in the pretrial alcohol education system provided in General Statutes § 54–56g….

…Defendant’s conviction for operating motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor while she was participating in pretrial program of alcohol education and treatment provided adequate basis for trial court to remove defendant from program. C.G.S.A. §§ 54–56g, 54–56g(a, b)….

…The Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury, Gaffney, J., granted defendant’s application to participate in an alcohol education program….

THE ALCOHOL EDUCATION STATUTE

 Effective: July 8, 2019

C.G.S.A. § 54-56g

  • § 54-56g. Pretrial alcohol education program

Currentness

(a) (1) There shall be a pretrial alcohol education program for persons charged with a violation of section 14-227a14-227g or 14-227m, subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n or section 15-133 or 15-140n. Upon application by any such person for participation in such program, the court shall, but only as to the public, order the court file sealed, and such person shall pay to the court an application fee of one hundred dollars and a nonrefundable evaluation fee of one hundred dollars, and such person shall state under oath, in open court or before any person designated by the clerk and duly authorized to administer oaths, under penalties of perjury that: (A) If such person is charged with a violation of section 14-227a14-227g or 14-227m, subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n, subsection (d) of section 15-133 or section 15-140n, such person has not had such program invoked in such person’s behalf within the preceding ten years for a violation of section 14-227a14-227g or 14-227m, subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n, subsection (d) of section 15-133 or section 15-140n, (B) such person has not been convicted of a violation of section 53a-56b or 53a-60d, a violation of subsection (a) of section 14-227a before, on or after October 1, 1981, a violation of subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227a on or after October 1, 1985, a violation of section 14-227g, a violation of section 14-227m or a violation of subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n, (C) such person has not been convicted of a violation of section 15-132a, subsection (d) of section 15-133section 15-140l or section 15-140n, (D) such person has not been convicted in any other state at any time of an offense the essential elements of which are substantially the same as section 53a-56b53a-60d15-132a15-140l or 15-140n, subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227asection 14-227m, subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n or subsection (d) of section 15-133, and (E) notice has been given by such person, by registered or certified mail on a form prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, to each victim who sustained a serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3, which was caused by such person’s alleged violation, that such person has applied to participate in the pretrial alcohol education program and that such victim has an opportunity to be heard by the court on the application.

(2) The court shall provide each such victim who sustained a serious physical injury an opportunity to be heard prior to granting an application under this section. Unless good cause is shown, a person shall be ineligible for participation in such pretrial alcohol education program if such person’s alleged violation of section 14-227a14-227g or 14-227m, subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n or subsection (d) of section 15-133 caused the serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3, of another person.

(3) The application fee imposed under this subsection shall be credited to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund established under section 54-215. The evaluation fee imposed under this subsection shall be credited to the pretrial account established under section 54-56k.

(b) The court, after consideration of the recommendation of the state’s attorney, assistant state’s attorney or deputy assistant state’s attorney in charge of the case, may, in its discretion, grant such application. If the court grants such application, the court shall refer such person to the Court Support Services Division for assessment and confirmation of the eligibility of the applicant and to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for evaluation. The Court Support Services Division, in making its assessment and confirmation, may rely on the representations made by the applicant under oath in open court with respect to convictions in other states of offenses specified in subsection (a) of this section. Upon confirmation of eligibility and receipt of the evaluation report, the defendant shall be referred to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services by the Court Support Services Division for placement in an appropriate alcohol intervention program for one year, or be placed in a state-licensed substance abuse treatment program. The alcohol intervention program shall include a ten-session intervention program and a fifteen-session intervention program. Any person who enters the pretrial alcohol education program shall agree: (1) To the tolling of the statute of limitations with respect to such crime, (2) to a waiver of such person’s right to a speedy trial, (3) to complete ten or fifteen counseling sessions in an alcohol intervention program or successfully complete a substance abuse treatment program of not less than twelve sessions pursuant to this section dependent upon the evaluation report and the court order, (4) to commence participation in an alcohol intervention program or substance abuse treatment program not later than ninety days after the date of entry of the court order unless granted a delayed entry into a program by the court, (5) upon completion of participation in the alcohol intervention program, to accept placement in a substance abuse treatment program upon the recommendation of a provider under contract with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services pursuant to subsection (f) of this section or placement in a state-licensed substance abuse treatment program which meets standards established by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, if the Court Support Services Division deems it appropriate, and (6) if ordered by the court, to participate in at least one victim impact panel. The suspension of the motor vehicle operator’s license of any such person pursuant to section 14-227b shall be effective during the period such person is participating in the pretrial alcohol education program, provided such person shall have the option of not commencing the participation in such program until the period of such suspension is completed. If the Court Support Services Division informs the court that the defendant is ineligible for such program and the court makes a determination of ineligibility or if the program provider certifies to the court that the defendant did not successfully complete the assigned program or is no longer amenable to treatment and such person does not request, or the court denies, program reinstatement under subsection (e) of this section, the court shall order the court file to be unsealed, enter a plea of not guilty for such defendant and immediately place the case on the trial list. If such defendant satisfactorily completes the assigned program, such defendant may apply for dismissal of the charges against such defendant and the court, on reviewing the record of the defendant’s participation in such program submitted by the Court Support Services Division and on finding such satisfactory completion, shall dismiss the charges. If the defendant does not apply for dismissal of the charges against such defendant after satisfactorily completing the assigned program the court, upon receipt of the record of the defendant’s participation in such program submitted by the Court Support Services Division, may on its own motion make a finding of such satisfactory completion and dismiss the charges. Upon motion of the defendant and a showing of good cause, the court may extend the one-year placement period for a reasonable period for the defendant to complete the assigned program. A record of participation in such program shall be retained by the Court Support Services Division for a period of ten years from the date the court grants the application for participation in such program. The Court Support Services Division shall transmit to the Department of Motor Vehicles a record of participation in such program for each person who satisfactorily completes such program. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall maintain for a period of ten years the record of a person’s participation in such program as part of such person’s driving record. The Court Support Services Division shall transmit to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection the record of participation of any person who satisfactorily completes such program who has been charged with a violation of the provisions of subsection (d) of section 15-133 or section 15-140n. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shall maintain for a period of ten years the record of a person’s participation in such program as a part of such person’s boater certification record.

(c) At the time the court grants the application for participation in the pretrial alcohol education program, such person shall also pay to the court a nonrefundable program fee of three hundred fifty dollars if such person is ordered to participate in the ten-session intervention program and a nonrefundable program fee of five hundred dollars if such person is ordered to participate in the fifteen-session intervention program. If the court grants the application for participation in the pretrial alcohol education program and such person is ordered to participate in a substance abuse treatment program, such person shall be responsible for the costs associated with participation in such program. No person may be excluded from either program for inability to pay such fee or cost, provided (1) such person files with the court an affidavit of indigency or inability to pay, (2) such indigency or inability to pay is confirmed by the Court Support Services Division, and (3) the court enters a finding thereof. If the court finds that a person is indigent or unable to pay for a treatment program, the costs of such program shall be paid from the pretrial account established under section 54-56k. If the court finds that a person is indigent or unable to pay for an intervention program, the court may waive all or any portion of the fee for such intervention program. If the court denies the application, such person shall not be required to pay the program fee. If the court grants the application and such person is later determined to be ineligible for participation in such pretrial alcohol education program or fails to complete the assigned program, the program fee shall not be refunded. All program fees shall be credited to the pretrial account established under section 54-56k.

(d) If a person returns to court with certification from a program provider that such person did not successfully complete the assigned program or is no longer amenable to treatment, the provider, to the extent practicable, shall include a recommendation to the court as to whether a ten-session intervention program, a fifteen-session intervention program or placement in a state-licensed substance abuse treatment program would best serve such person’s needs. The provider shall also indicate whether the current program referral was an initial referral or a reinstatement to the program.

(e) When a person subsequently requests reinstatement into an alcohol intervention program or a substance abuse treatment program and the Court Support Services Division verifies that such person is eligible for reinstatement into such program and thereafter the court favorably acts on such request, such person shall pay a nonrefundable program fee of one hundred seventy-five dollars if ordered to complete a ten-session intervention program or two hundred fifty dollars if ordered to complete a fifteen-session intervention program, as the case may be. Unless good cause is shown, such fees shall not be waived. If the court grants a person’s request to be reinstated into a treatment program, such person shall be responsible for the costs, if any, associated with being reinstated into the treatment program. All program fees collected in connection with a reinstatement to an intervention program shall be credited to the pretrial account established under section 54-56k. No person shall be permitted more than two program reinstatements pursuant to this subsection.

(f) The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services shall contract with service providers, develop standards and oversee appropriate alcohol programs to meet the requirements of this section. Said department shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54,1 to establish standards for such alcohol programs. Any person ordered to participate in a treatment program shall do so at a state-licensed treatment program which meets the standards established by said department. Any defendant whose employment or residence makes it unreasonable to attend an alcohol intervention program or a substance abuse treatment program in this state may attend a program in another state which has standards substantially similar to, or higher than, those of this state, subject to the approval of the court and payment of the application, evaluation and program fees and treatment costs, as appropriate, as provided in this section.

(g) The court may, as a condition of granting such application, require that such person participate in a victim impact panel program approved by the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department. 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, provided such organization shall offer a hardship waiver when it has determined that the imposition of a fee would pose an economic hardship for such person.

(h) The provisions of this section shall not be applicable in the case of any person charged with a violation of section 14-227a or 14-227m or subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n (1) while operating a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, or (2) who holds a commercial driver’s license or commercial driver’s instruction permit at the time of the violation.

Credits

(1981, P.A. 81-446, § 1; 1982, P.A. 82-408, § 1; 1982, P.A. 82-472, § 166, eff. June 14, 1982; 1983, P.A. 83-508, § 1, eff. July 1, 1983; 1983, P.A. 83-571, § 1; 1985, P.A. 85-350, § 3; 1985, P.A. 85-417; 1985, P.A. 85-529, § 1, eff. July 1, 1985; 1985, P.A. 85-596, § 3; 1986, P.A. 86-403, § 91, eff. June 11, 1986; 1989, P.A. 89-110, §§ 1 to 3; 1989, P.A. 89-219, § 8, eff. July 1, 19891989, P.A. 89-314, § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 19901991, P.A. 91-24, § 7, eff. Sept. 1, 19911991, P.A. 91-243; 1992, May Sp.Sess., P.A. 92-6, § 81, eff. July 1, 19921993, P.A. 93-381, § 9, eff. July 1, 19931994, P.A. 94-135, § 8; 1995, P.A. 95-257, § 5, eff. July 1, 19951996, P.A. 96-180, § 129, eff. June 3, 19961997, P.A. 97-309, § 14, eff. July 1, 19971997, June 18 Sp.Sess., P.A. 97-8, § 32, eff. July 1, 19971998, P.A. 98-81, § 11; 1999, P.A. 99-255, § 3; 2001, P.A. 01-201, §§ 2, 3; 2001, June Sp.Sess., P.A. 01-8, § 9, eff. July 1, 20012002, May 9 Sp.Sess., P.A. 02-1, § 117, eff. July 1, 20022002, P.A. 02-132, § 35; 2003, P.A. 03-244, §§ 11, 13; 2003, June 30 Sp.Sess., P.A. 03-6, § 177; 2004, P.A. 04-250, § 2; 2004, P.A. 04-217, § 19, eff. Jan. 1, 20052006, P.A. 06-130, § 21, eff. July 1, 20062007, P.A. 07-167, § 42, eff. July 1, 20072007, June Sp.Sess., P.A. 07-4, § 20; 2009, P.A. 09-140, § 14, eff. July 1, 20092009, Sept.Sp.Sess., P.A. 09-3, § 54, eff. Jan. 1, 20102010, P.A. 10-30, § 1, eff. July 1, 20102010, P.A. 10-18, § 24; 2011, P.A. 11-80, § 1, eff. July 1, 20112013, P.A. 13-271, § 44, eff. Jan. 1, 20142014, P.A. 14-110, § 1; 2015, P.A. 15-85, § 20; 2015, P.A. 15-211, § 11; 2016, P.A. 16-126, § 4, 5; 2019, P.A. 19-151, § 4, eff. July 8, 2019.)

Pretrial Alcohol Education Program (PAEP) – Connecticut

What is the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program?

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) offers the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program (PAEP), a pretrial diversion program, for first-time “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI)/ “Operating Under the Influence” (OUI) offenders in Connecticut. PAEP is also an option for current offenders who have not used the program or had a DUI/OUI conviction within the last ten years. The program is for DUI/OUI offenders who were operating a motor vehicle, a boat, a snowmobile, or an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). DUI/OUI in Connecticut is based on a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08 for people ages 21 and over, and a BAC of 0.02 for anyone under age 21. For Connecticut Legislation on DUI Laws, see OLR Research Report 2012-R-0279: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/rpt/2012-R-0279.htm

 Program Components

  • The first component is an evaluation by a DMHAS contracted agency. The offender will have to pay an application and an evaluation fee. If the court determines that the offender is indigent, the fees will be paid by DMHAS. A report on the evaluation will be sent back to Court Support Services Division and the court. Based on the evaluation report, the offender will be placed in either the second component (intervention) or the third component (treatment).
  • The second component is an intervention which may be either a Level One intervention class (ten weeks of 1.5 hours per class) or a Level Two intervention class (fifteen weeks of 1.5 hour classes). Participants are required to attend all classes for the entire 1½ hours, attend class free from any non-prescribed mood altering or attention altering substances (including alcohol), participate in class and complete all out-of-class assignments, and refrain from all disruptive or threatening speech or behavior.
  • The third component is treatment, which is the alternative to intervention classes. Commonly recommended levels of treatment are standard outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospital, residential, and inpatient detoxification. The minimum number of sessions is twelve, and there is no statutory maximum.

Payment

People referred for PAEP are expected to pay the fees either out-of-pocket or through their health insurance coverage. However, if an offender is found indigent by the court, the costs will be paid by DMHAS.

Final Disposition

The court is the final authority in these cases, which includes determining which program component the offender will be assigned to. A person who successfully completes the program they were assigned to, any additional treatment ordered, and has no further legal difficulties may have the original charges dismissed after one year. If the offender does not successfully complete the assigned programming, they may have their prosecution on the original charges resumed.

Offenders Arrested Out-of State

DMHAS Office of Pretrial Interventions can provide referrals to Impaired Driver Programs for people who were arrested for drunk driving outside of Connecticut, and mandated by a court in another state to attend an education program. NOTE: Individuals arrested outside of Connecticut and given permission by that state to use Connecticut’s program to meet that state’s requirements MUST contact the DMHAS Office of Pretrial Interventions for appropriate referral.

To Find Providers in Connecticut’s Community Resources Database:

Search by service name:

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SOURCE: Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Forensic Services Division
PREPARED BY: 211/kq
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: December 2019

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STEVEN TOMEO, ESQ.

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