DUI / DWI
DUI / DWI; Drunk Driving – Operating under the influence; all mean the same thing under Connecticut Law. The exact statutory reference is Conn. Gen. Statues Section 14-227a – “Operation of Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Liquor or Drugs, or Both” A simple Google search will show you that Connecticut is ranked in the top 10 states for most severe DUI/DWI laws. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI you should contact a Stamford DWI/DUI defense lawyer immediately to protect your rights and take immediate action to defend your driver’s license.
The effects of intoxicating substances often lead otherwise good people to make lapses in judgement that result in a DWI/DUI arrest. We are not here to look backwards and criticize you for making a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Rather our goal is to fight hard and use our 25 years of experience as Stamford DWI/DUI lawyers to develop a plan to minimize the potential ramifications that you will face as a result of being charged with a DUI/DWI.
Very often those charged with DUI are also charged with additional offenses such as failure to maintain lane; operation under suspension; evading responsibility, operation without a license, reckless driving and others. Obviously, when you have additional charges it is going to make the resolution of your case more complicated. This is why a detailed confidential and free initial consultation and case evaluation with a Stamford DWI/DUI Attorney is essential to developing an effective strategy to work on your particular case.Why Choose the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman?
- DUI/DWI’s arrests don’t happen during business hours therefore we are available 24/7 – 365 days a year
- 25 years of experience defending DWI/DUI charges
- We fight for your rights and focus on results that work
- Free initial consultation case evaluation
- Reasonable rates / payment plans
- Our core value is “Clients come first” – we will take time to get to know your case and we will build you a strong defense
Local police agencies have special federal grants and programs which dedicate specific funding to send out officers specifically assigned to target drunk drivers on the weekends and during holidays. The DUI/DWI arrest can also come about as a result of an accident investigation, or a motor vehicle stop for something as simple as forgetting to have your headlights on or for crossing the double yellow line, tinted windows or for failure to signal a lane change. An essential element of the DWI/DUI stop is that the officer needs to have probable cause to pull you over. This means that you need to have committed some form of moving violation in his presence – or – someone must have called in a report of you driving in an erratic fashion to 911. A Police officer can’t pull you over merely because he suspects that you are intoxicated. The Officer needs to see some violation of the law to give him the probable cause to stop you. Upon pulling you over the Police officer is trained to begin to look for telltale signs of intoxication which would justify him to begin a DWI investigation.
If you are pulled over and feel that you have been drinking you should be aware that you have the right to remain silent and you do not have to answer any questions. Upon initial contact, the Police officer will usually attempt to find some evidence or indication that you are intoxicated - that they smelled the odor of alcohol – that you fumbled and had difficulty in providing your license and registration – that your speech was slurred, - even worse that he found you sleeping behind the wheel - etc. This is the trigger that allows the Officer to then ask you to step out of the car and ask you to perform field sobriety tests.
Most people who get pulled over do not realize at that point that they do not have to cooperate with the police investigation or answer any questions what so ever beyond supplying your name and address and license and registration. You do not have to answer “Have you been drinking this evening?” You have the absolute right to remain silent. You have the right to ask to call a Stamford DWI/DUI defense attorney before you answer any questions.The Road Side Field Sobriety Test
You do not have to engage in field sobriety tests. You can simply refuse to do so. You have the right to remain silent. Most people do not realize that the field sobriety test is a test which is stacked against you. It is a negatively scoring test. You are not given credit for things that you do properly. Also, no one is there to make sure that the officer is doing this test properly which is usually being done in the dark on the side of the road with flashing police strobe lights (hardly an ideal situation). The officer who is giving you the test may not be properly explaining to you how to do it and he is the same person grading your results. Many people are too old or sick to perform field sobriety tests even when totally sober. Of course the Police do not give you this information. If you are reading this article you have probably already received a summons to appear at a court date. Do not worry, there is a way out of your situation. It is not too late to resolve this situation, contact a DWI/DUI attorney serving Stamford today to schedule a free initial consultation to review your case.
If you fail the field sobriety test then the officer will have probable cause to arrest you for the charge of DWI /DUI and will place you under arrest and transport you to the Police station to administer a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content.The Breath/Chemical Test
You have the absolute right to contact a Stamford DUI/DWI defense lawyer before you make the decision to submit to this test. Under Connecticut law there is implied consent to a chemical test following an arrest for a DUI/DWI. This means that once you are placed under arrest you are under a legal obligation to submit to a chemical test or you will face a minimum 6 month license suspension from the DMV. The police officer is under a legal obligation to
- Read you your Constitutional rights;
- Give you an opportunity to contact an Attorney before making a decision on whether to take the test
- Inform you that a failed test or a refusal to take the test will result in a license suspension, and
- Tell you that a refusal can be used as evidence in Court against you.
You should 100% avail yourself of the opportunity to speak with an experienced Stamford DUI/DWI attorney before you decide what to do. In practice, most clients are under so much stress after being arrested and dragged into a Police station and placed in handcuffs that they are not in the best condition to be thinking clearly about what to do or who to call. Many people do not have a Stamford DWI/DUI Attorney’s phone number in their wallet. As stated above if you are reading this article you have probably already been charged with DUI so it is time to sit down with a Stamford DUI/DWI defense lawyer to review all the facts of your case for a free consultation and get some guidance on how to build the best defense strategy.A Two Part Battle – The Court and The DMV
You should also know when charged with a DUI in Connecticut you will be facing two separate actions against you. The first being the criminal charge of 14-227a in the Superior Court which carries criminal penalties and fines for which you may be eligible for the Alcohol Education Program if you are a first time offender. The second being an administrative action by the DMV to suspend your driver’s license depending on what transpired when you were stopped by the police. With so many complexities involved in defending a Connecticut DWI/DUI allegation you should seek legal counsel from an experienced Stamford DUI/DWI lawyer at your earliest opportunity.The Alcohol Education Program
14-227a or DUI is a misdemeanor crime. A conviction will leave you with a criminal record which you do not want. For first time offenders (or those who have not used the alcohol education program in the last ten years) there is a diversionary program called the Alcohol Education Program. A diversionary program is a program which suspends the criminal prosecution and places you into a program which can lead to a dismissal of the charges against you and you can avoid receiving any criminal record. First time offenders can apply for the program and if accepted the charges against them will be dismissed after one year if they successfully complete the program.
The alcohol education program itself is very straightforward. First you have to complete a series of either 10 or 15 educational classes on drunk driving. The issue of the 10 or 15 weeks is determined during an initial screening evaluation which is part of the eligibility determination phase.
Organizing a successful application for the alcohol education program takes a lot of experience and planning. You only get one chance to convince the Judge to grant you the opportunity to participate in the program. Participation in the program is a privilege not a right and as such if the Court denies your application you have no right to an appeal. It is really important to have an experienced Stamford DWI/DUI attorney to guide you to properly prepare a package of materials to support your application, help explain your lapse of judgment in finding yourself behind the wheel while intoxicated and put a human touch to the process. Careful preparation and organizing can make the difference between success and failure. In many cases the State’s Attorney’s will oppose these applications. Sometimes, victims will come to court to voice their objections as well.
I have successfully convinced Judges to grant my clients entry into the alcohol education program under the most difficult and challenging situations including accidents, high blood alcohol content readings and cases where clients have refused to cooperate with police when arrested. When you have one chance to get the alcohol education program granted, make the most of the opportunity. Have an experienced Stamford DWI/DUI defense attorney with over two decades of experience by your side assisting you from start to finish. Obtaining entry to the alcohol education program can mean the difference between having a criminal record and probation and also having additional periods of license suspension that come with a conviction of 14-227a DUI. If you are granted the alcohol education program and successfully complete the program all of the charges will be dismissed and you will have no criminal record.DMV Per Se License Suspension
This is the really confusing part about the DWI/DUI process for many of our clients. In most cases we are able to get clients into the Alcohol Education Program and have all the criminal charges dismissed. However, the DMV has its own separate set of penalties and sanctions which it imposes upon those motorists which hold Connecticut driver’s licenses. It is very important to note that the DMV sanctions and penalties are separate to and in addition to those imposed by the Court. The DMV per se suspension process has undergone a significant transformation in 2015 as the MADD lobbied the legislature to require that interlock devices be installed into the cars of Connecticut DWI/DUI offenders. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet on this subject as many lawyers have not updated their web pages to reflect the new regulations which took effect on July 1, 2015. An interlock device is a machine that requires you to blow into it every time you start your car to verify that you are not intoxicated and also at random intervals while you are driving.
All refusals of a chemical test and every failure of a chemical test now carry a 45 day license suspension from the DMV. In most cases the effective date of the suspension will begin 30 days after the Connecticut DWI/DUI arrest date. Some important points. 1. Your address on your driver’s license needs to be current and match your present address. Otherwise you will not receive your suspension notice in a timely fashion. 2. You will be receiving a very important letter from DMV within approximately 10 days that will allow you only 7 (SEVEN) days to request a hearing contesting your license suspension. Given the very short window of time within which you have to request a hearing it is very important to retain a Stamford DWI/DUI attorney right away so that your case can be reviewed to determine if there is a basis for an appeal.
Generally, the protocols and procedures which the Police must follow when administering the chemical breath tests are all set in stone. If the Police made any mistakes in following the proper procedures in the administration of the test there may be a basis upon which to contest your license suspension. Also, in many cases the Police may not have had probable cause to pull you over in the first place. That is another basis upon which to contest the suspension. Whenever possible it is best to overturn a license suspension for a DWI/DUI for several reasons.
- Your insurance rates will increase dramatically if your license is suspended for a DWI/DUI.
- You will be prohibited from seeking employment in many areas of service for many years as a result of this kind of suspension.
- You will be required to have an interlock device in your car for a period of up to 3 years depending on the circumstances of your case which is not only a significant monthly expense that you have to pay for but also a huge embarrassment when you have to drive someone in your car.
For all these reasons it is highly recommended that you contact us as soon as you are arrested for a Connecticut DWI/DUI so that we can review the facts of your case and start to determine if there are any grounds upon which to appeal the DMV suspension of your license. As soon as you are arrested contact a Stamford DUI/DWI defense lawyer for a free initial case consultation to review the facts of your case and determine if your license can be saved.Work & School Permits
In the event that your license is going to be suspended for the 45 day period and there is no bona fide basis for an appeal, there is a possibility that you may be eligible for a special permit that will allow you to drive back and forth to work and school. My advice is to send in your application for the permit as soon as you are arrested as it takes some time to process the application. This was you may receive your work or school permit shortly after your suspension goes into effect. At the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman, we assist our clients with the application process for DMV work and school permits so if you have any questions about how the process works feel free to give us a call.Defending DWI/DUI Cases in Court
DUI/DWI cases are very fact dependent and no two cases are the same. There are at a lot of variables in play. Was there an accident? What was the level of intoxication? Any other moving violations? Did you cooperate with the Police? These are just some of the many factors that come into consideration when evaluating a strategy for defending a DWI case. With 25 years of experience in handling DWI/DUI matters at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman we have seen it all when it comes to DUI/DWI defense.
There are various legal defenses which can be raised to defend a DWI/DUI charge. Did the Police officer have probable cause to pull you over in the first place? If not a motion to suppress all the evidence may succeed in getting the entire case dismissed. Where there medical or other reasons, such as sleep deprivation or allergic reactions, to explain the observations of the Police upon which they drew the inference that you were intoxicated? Did the Police follow the proper procedures in administering the chemical tests? Are there grounds to exclude those test results based upon Police misconduct or errors? Contact an experienced Stamford DWI/DUI attorney today if you would like to review the facts of your case to determine if you have a valid defense to your DWI/DUI case.
Upon being retained to represent you in your DWI/DUI case we spend hours going over every detail in the police reports and all associated arrest documents to search for any errors, oversights or omissions on the part of the Police. Any contradictions, misstatements, errors or mistakes can be very significant towards building a great defense. After our careful review of all of the documentation we will have a follow up consultation with you to review our findings and discuss your options and advise you concerning the best course of action to obtain the most favorable result.Stress of the DWI/DUI Process
It is not uncommon for people charged with a DWI/DUI to experience a great deal of stress over the arrest experience and court process. After all most of our DWI/DUI clients have never had a previous encounter with the criminal justice system. Suddenly, their name and picture are posted on the internet. Another factor that causes additional stress is the slow pace at which the criminal justice system works. Most clients would like to have the case over with yesterday. Regrettably, the Court’s docket is overloaded and cuts in the State’s budget mean less staff to move those cases along. While we do everything in our power to process each case as quickly as possible it is more important to make sure that we are putting in the hard work to achieve the best result possible. We can’t do anything to take away all the stress you are feeling about having been arrested, but we can be available to counsel you, to welcome your input, and give you advice on what is the best course of action to take to achieve the best possible result. We will stay in close contact with you throughout your case and keep you up to date on every development. If you have any questions about the DWI/DUI process you should speak with a DWI/DUI attorney serving Stamford as soon as possible.Second Time and Third Time DWI Offenders
If you have a previous conviction for a DWI within the last 10 years of a prior conviction and you are charged with another DUI/DWI it is a very serious charge. You should contact a Stamford DWI/DUI lawyer immediately. Not only is it a felony, but the charge as a second time offender carries with it a mandatory minimum 120 days in jail. For a third offense within 10 years of a prior conviction, the penalties increase to a mandatory minimum 1 year in jail. Along with these severe mandatory minimum jail sentences come some seriously hefty fines and lengthy periods of probation. Also, the felony record is a significant mark on your future and has huge implications for future employment opportunities.
There is some good news for those who find themselves in the difficult circumstance of being charged as a multiple DWI/DUI offender in Connecticut. In March of 2012 the State of Connecticut started the Driving Under the Influence Home Confinement Program (DUI HC Program). This program allows those who were previously facing stiff mandatory minimum jail sentences the opportunity to be released to home confinement with an ankle bracelet in lieu of being in jail. The reason for the change was that MADD statistics demonstrated that locking up DWI offenders in jail had minimal effect on recidivism rates. On the other hand alcohol treatment therapy was shown to have a much greater impact on reducing recidivism rates. For this reason MADD convinced the legislature to modify the law to encourage treatment over incarceration.
The difficult part is understanding how to navigate the bureaucratic log jam at the Department of Corrections so that you will get into the DUI HC Program as quickly as possible and out of jail and back to your home. If you are facing a repeat DWI charge it is imperative that you have a Stamford DWI/DUI lawyer on your side to guide you through the process. At the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman since 2012 we have a track record of 100% success since 2012 in getting every multiple offender DWI client into the DUI HC Program and released to home confinement. (Note* Past case success does not guarantee future results). We have spent a lot of time working with the people at the Department of Corrections from day one to understand what they are looking for when they are designating “levels of intervention.” The most important aspect of this program is to be designated as a “First Level” inmate. With this level of intervention you would be eligible for release to home confinement after completion of a 15 session alcohol education program. In order to maximize the chances of early release it is crucial that the client be enrolled in some form of alcohol treatment prior to the time of sentencing. If you are interested in learning more about the DUI HC Program and being released on an ankle bracelet then you should contact the Allan F. Friedman Law DWI/DUI lawyers to discuss how we can maximize your opportunities for entry into this wonderful program.Contact a DWI/DUI Attorney at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman Today
If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI , you should speak with a Stamford DWI/DUI lawyer as soon as possible to go over the details of your arrest. With 25 year of experience in the defense of DUI/DWI charges in Stamford, Attorney Allan F. Friedman can give you sound legal advice. Was your arrest lawful? Have your constitutional rights been violated? Our objective is to use every means possible to have the charges dismissed or thrown out, or significantly reduce the charges.
We work on a flat fee basis and our rates are very reasonable. Call Attorney Friedman at 203.515.4110 to schedule your free initial consultation and case evaluation – we are available 24/7 - 365 days a year. Or you can contact them online for a prompt response.