Possible Penalties for a First-Offense DWI in the State of Connecticut
Interviewer: For a first-time DWI offense that is not aggravated or enhanced, what are the possible penalties that you could face?
After Successful Completion of an Alcohol Education Program, First Offenders May Have the Charges Dismissed
Jack O’Donnell: Individuals would be looking at, as a first offender, being eligible for the alcohol education program which, if after you successfully complete the program the charges are dismissed.
You Will Be Charged a Fee to Attend the Alcohol Education Classes
You might have to attend 10 classes or you might have to attend 15 classes. 10 classes would cost you $350, 15 classes would cost you $500, and then at the end of a year, if you haven’t picked up a new DWI, the charges will be dismissed.
You Can Still Face a Loss of Driving Privileges through the Department of Motor Vehicle Action
You still can lose your license through the Department of Motor Vehicles but the alcohol education program is something that you try to get for most first-time DWI offenders.
Is Self-Representation a Viable Option to Defend Your DWI Charge in Connecticut?
Interviewer: Are the alcohol education classes difficult to get into?
Jack O’Donnell: As defense attorneys, we do try to inform our clients that the outcome is never guaranteed, plus being represented by an attorney can get you in and out of court a lot faster than if you are not being represented by legal counsel.
Considering Self-Representation? It Is Difficult to Navigate the Judicial System but Online Information Is Available
As a layperson, it is very difficult to navigate the judicial system. However, people will research online and learn that it’s probably an easy thing for them to do themselves.
Considering the Consequences of a DWI Conviction or a Denial into the Alcohol Education Program, Is Self-Representation Really the Best Option?
Interviewer: But it is safe to say it would be a lot easier and the outcome would be more certain if you had an attorney at your side instead of representing yourself.
Jack O’Donnell: That’s right. This is because no two judges are the same as far as granting admittance into these programs. This is why it’s just prudent to have an experienced attorney who can advise you on all aspects of the program and evaluate whether or not you should even be applying for the program.
Does Your DWI Case Have Valid Defensible Issues? It Is Possible That the Alcohol Education Program Isn’t the Best Option
For example, maybe there are some defensible issues in this particular case and you make the prosecutor take a long, hard look at it. Then, the alcohol program would be a fallback position as opposed to your go-to option.
Interviewer: If the alcohol education program is not an option, what are the possible penalties someone will face for a first time DUI?
First-Time DWI Offenders May Face a Six Month Jail Sentence; More Likely the Penalties Will Comprise Fines, Probation and a License Suspension
Jack O’Donnell: The possible penalty is six months in jail. However, you are not likely to be sentenced six months in jail unless something really egregious transpired. Your license will be suspended and then you’d be placed on probation for 18 months. There’d be a $500 fine, probation costs of $200 and court costs would get you up to almost $795.
First-Time Offenders May Be Eligible for a Permit to Drive to and from Their Place of Employment
Connecticut still may issue a work permit that enables driving to and from work. However, that’s only for our first-timer offenders who are subject to the 90-day license suspension. The work permit serves as a partial driving privilege restoration for those 90 days.
Driver’s with License Suspensions for Twelve Months Will Be Required to Install an Ignition Interlock Device in Order to Drive within That Year
If you lost your license for 120 days, you can get the work permit for 120 days, but if you lost it for a year, you had no ability to go to work. They now order the installation of an ignition interlock device, which is now available to people after 45 days. However, in that case, you are still without a license for 45 days.
The ignition interlock device is a small breathalyzer hooked up to your car’s ignition system. You can’t turn the car on until you blow in and it registers 0.00.