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Aggravated DUI Charges

Aggravated DUI Charges in Connecticut

Understanding the Consequences and Defense Strategies for Aggravated DUI Offenses

You don’t need to hear that Driving under the influence is a serious offense, you already know that it is. You also know that it can have severe consequences for you. What you may not know is that in Connecticut, certain factors can elevate a DUI charge to an aggravated offense, resulting in even harsher penalties and putting you in a tougher spot to get out of. You may be panicking or stressing about your charges, as a dui defense attorney and former prosecutor, I know all too well what you’re facing on the other side. I am here to help you.

This Is Not A Test: Aggravated DUI charges in Connecticut need aggressive defense from day one

So What Are Aggravating Factors In A DUI?

Not every DUI will end in an aggravated charge. To be charged with aggravated DUI in Connecticut, certain factors must be present. These factors elevate a standard DUI charge to a more severe offense. Some common aggravating factors include:

  • High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): In Connecticut, having a BAC of .08 or higher is considered intoxicated, resulting in an OUI (Operating Under the Influence) arrest.
  • OUI Accident: If an OUI arrest occurs after an accident that causes bodily injury or property damage, any third party with an interest in the case has the right to intervene in the criminal proceedings.
  • Multiple OUI Offenses: Defendants convicted of a second or subsequent OUI offense face higher penalties.

Understanding these aggravating factors and the details of your unique circumstances will help with your defense strategy.

What Are The Consequences of Aggravated DUI Convictions?

Aggravated DUI convictions in Connecticut carry severe penalties and may even affect you well into the future. These consequences can include:

  • Incarceration: While first-time DUI offenders with no prior convictions are unlikely to face jail time, subsequent offenses can result in imprisonment.
  • Felony Conviction: A second DUI conviction within 10 years of a previous conviction is considered a felony-level offense.
  • License Suspension: Aggravated DUI convictions often lead to the suspension or revocation of driving privileges.
  • Fines and Fees: Convicted individuals may face substantial fines and fees.
  • Ignition Interlock Program: Connecticut has implemented an all-offender interlock program, requiring individuals convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles.

Building a Strong Defense Strategy

Let’s be honest, mistakes happen, and a DUI can happen to anyone regardless of your race, religion, background or status. In the other side of that coin is that you have options on how to approach your defense strategy. Are you going to choose to work with  a court-appointed lawyer? Or, understanding that you may not get individualized attention, are you opting for a private criminal defense lawyer? When facing aggravated DUI charges in Connecticut, you need to build the strongest defense possible. Here’s what that can look like:

Step 1: Hiring an Experienced DUI Attorney

An experienced DUI attorney should know your name, not just your case number. In cases like yours, Llinas Law is your copilot through this rough patch. You will have an attorney that knows the system from the unique perspective of having been on the prosecution end. You won’t need google to translate the legalese, you’ll have a criminal attorney that actually fight for your rights, and strategize the best course of action.

Step 2: Collecting Evidence and Evaluating the Prosecution’s Case

The prosecution may already be thinking that your case is slam dunk. At Llinas Law, we become your detective, we dig into your police reports, witness accounts and even breathalyzer results. Every detail of your charges matter. We look for inconsistencies. We evaluate prosecutions case to identify weaknesses that can be used in your defense.

Step 3: Exploring Potential Defenses and Legal Loopholes

Traffic stop? Breathalyzer? We’ll dissect the prosecution’s case. Were your rights violated? As your attorney Llinas Defense will be Sherlock Holmes on your side, uncovering technicalities in the stop, questioning the breathalyzer’s infallibility, and scrutinizing witness testimonies. Every detail can be a loophole.

Step 4: Negotiating Plea Bargains or Pursuing Alternative Sentencing Options

Negotiating Plea Bargains:

  • Reduced Charges: Unlike some states, Connecticut prosecutors have limitations on directly reducing a DUI charge (CGS § 14-227a). They can’t simply offer a switch to reckless driving. However, an attorney can negotiate for alternative charges depending on the specifics of your case. This might involve:
    • Wet Reckless: If your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) was borderline or there were mitigating circumstances, your lawyer might argue for a “wet reckless” charge, which acknowledges alcohol involvement but carries less severe penalties.
  • Reduced Penalties: Even if the charge remains a DUI, your attorney can negotiate for:
    • Shorter License Suspension: Connecticut mandates license suspension for DUIs, but the duration can vary. A skilled lawyer can leverage weaknesses in the prosecution’s case or highlight your clean driving record to argue for a shorter suspension.
    • Lower Fines: DUI fines can be hefty. Your lawyer can negotiate for a reduced fine based on your financial hardship or lack of prior offenses.
    • Avoiding Jail Time: First-time DUI offenders might be eligible for probation instead of jail time. Your attorney can present evidence of remorse, enrollment in alcohol programs, or a stable job to convince the judge probation is a better option.

Important Note: Connecticut takes DUIs seriously, so plea bargains for reduced charges or avoiding jail time are not guaranteed.

Alternative Sentencing Options:

  • Alcohol Education Programs: Connecticut courts often favor enrolling first-time offenders in alcohol education programs. Completing these programs can demonstrate your commitment to addressing the issue and potentially lead to reduced charges or leniency in sentencing.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): An IID requires blowing into a breathalyzer before starting your car. Completing an IID program might help you regain driving privileges sooner or demonstrate responsibility, potentially influencing the judge’s sentencing decision.

Finding the Relevant Laws:

The Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) outline DUI laws and sentencing guidelines. Here are some relevant sections to explore (but remember, it’s always best to consult with a lawyer for specific legal advice):

  • CGS § 14-227a: Defines DUI offenses and penalties.
  • CGS § 14-227b: Addresses license suspension for DUIs.
  • CGS § 53a-57: Discusses alcohol education programs.

Remember: This information is for general knowledge only and doesn’t constitute legal advice. If you’re facing a DUI charge in Connecticut, contacting a qualified DUI attorney is crucial to navigate the legal process and explore the best options for your case.

Step 5: Preparing for Trial, if Necessary

If the prosecution’s offer isn’t in your best interest, an experienced criminal attorney will switch gears and  prepare for trial. This means gathering evidence beyond what the police presented, prepping strong witness testimonies, and crafting a courtroom strategy that exposes the weaknesses in their case. At Llinas Law, we won’t back down from a fight!

Seeking Rehabilitation and Support

Regardless of the outcome of your case, it is essential to seek rehabilitation and support for any alcohol-related issues. Connecticut often mandates attendance in alcohol education programs or rehabilitation as part of the sentencing process. Taking proactive steps towards recovery can help mitigate the long-term effects of an aggravated DUI conviction.

Remember, if you find yourself facing aggravated DUI charges in Connecticut, it is not the end, call Llinas Law for a strong defense.

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