First Offense

What are you up against if you are facing a first-time Hartford DUI arrest? We go through the major points on this page, including the penalties that you might be exposed to, diversionary programs that might be available to you, how you can defend yourself, and more. For assistance fighting a 1st offense Hartford DUI, contact us.


A first offense DUI in Connecticut has the potential to greatly affect your livelihood, quality of life, and reputation. Luckily, however, a first offense is treated much less harshly than a subsequent DUI offense. The penalties for a 1st offense are as follows: 

  1. Either up to six months incarceration with a mandatory minimum of two days or up to six months suspended with probation and 100 hours of community service.
  2. A $500-1,000 fine.
  3. 45 days of license suspension, followed by one year of driving with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle. 

First Offense – Alcohol Education Program

Connecticut law provides for a program called the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program, which is offered to certain offenders who are charged with a DUI and meet the eligibility requirements. If this program is offered and completed, the DUI charges will be dismissed. The alcohol education or substance abuse treatment will take the place of the DUI case and a trial.

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An offender that proceeds with the alcohol education program must agree to tolling of the statute of limitations, waive the right to a speedy trial, complete 10-15 counseling sessions in the program or complete a substance abuse treatment program, start the program within 90 days from the court’s grant to participate, participate in further counseling if ordered by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and participate in a victim impact panel if ordered. 

The court will send the offender to a division of the court called Court Support Services as well as the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for an assessment and evaluation to determine if that person is eligible for the program and, if so, what program they will be recommended for. 

This program is not available for commercial driving license holders, nor is it available for offenders that have been convicted of certain crimes, including:

  • Manslaughter or assault in the 2nd degree with a motor vehicle or with a vessel while under the influence.
  • Operation or reckless operation of a vessel while under the influence.

Offenders under 21 years old that were charged with driving under the influence with a BAC of .02% or more are not eligible for this program. 

First Offense Under 21

First offenders that are 16 or 17 years old are given even harsher penalties after getting charged with a DUI, which is driving with a BAC of .02% or higher. The driver’s license will be taken for 48 hours by the police officer and the vehicle will be towed. The offender then, with a parent or guardian, must sign a release at the police department after the 48 hour hold period is over. A driver that is under the age of 18 who is charged with a DUI will face all the penalties of a first offender DUI and will not be eligible for youthful offender status under §54-76b. 

If charged with a Hartford DUI in Connecticut and this is your first offense, a DUI attorney will be able to highlight the strengths of your case at the DMV hearing as well as negotiate for the best result possible in the criminal case. If you are looking for representation with your DUI, call Lady DUI today. 

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