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Building a Defense

How can you defend yourself against a second Connecticut DUI charge? On this page, we discuss some of the most common errors in DUI arrests and elements that can be challenged in court. For assistance building the right defense for your situation, contact us. We are happy to help.

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A 2nd DUI offense is treated much more harshly under Connecticut law than a first offense, so you need to build a solid defense. This is because prosecutors and judges are less forgiving and less likely to see the offense as a one-time mistake. Additionally, 2nd DUI offenders are no longer eligible for a pretrial diversionary program in exchange for a dismissal and will receive much harsher penalties after a plea deal or a conviction. You can learn more about the 2nd DUI charge and how to build a defense here.

Second DUI Penalties

The penalties for a second DUI are: 

  • Up to two years incarceration, with a mandatory minimum of 120 consecutive days and probation and 100 hours of community service.
  • A $1,000-4,000 fine.
  • A 45-day license suspension or until the person reaches the age of 21, whichever is longer. This is followed by three years of driving only with a vehicle with an ignition interlock device, including the first year of driving only to work, school, or an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program, or ignition interlock service center. 

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Second DUI Defenses

Because the penalties for a second DUI offense are so severe, building defenses is even more important. A DUI attorney will be able to identify the issues in each individual case and use those issues to build defenses to the charge. Some of the common issues that are used to build a defense in a DUI case are: 

  1. Inaccurate or inconsistent breathalyzer results. When blowing into a breathalyzer, the device is able to detect blood alcohol content because after exhaling, wastes like fractions of alcohol in the blood are released with carbon dioxide in the breath. To get a useable sample of breath for the device to calculate blood alcohol content, a person must blow into the device hard enough, which is difficult if not impossible for someone with a condition like asthma. Digestive issues like acid reflux could also result in an inaccurate BAC test. These potential issues should be explored by your attorney as possible defenses. 
  2. Illegal stop of the vehicle. A police officer must have a reasonable reason for stopping a vehicle that must be articulated in a police report. Law enforcement cannot just stop someone for pulling out of a bar late at night, for example. This reasonable and articulable reason cannot be based on a gut feeling. Rather, an objective reason for why a traffic stop needed to be made. 
  3. Inaccurate or improper field sobriety tests (SFSTs). SFSTs are a series of three tests that are used by police officers to determine whether a person is intoxicated. These three tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which tests a person’s eye-tracking movement, the one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. Different medical issues and also environmental factors can greatly affect the reliability and accuracy of these tests. There is a variety of medical issues that can cause nystagmus in the eyes, independently from just intoxication. Further, medical issues like injuries and brain injuries can affect the accuracy of all three tests. Environmental factors like uneven ground and no lighting can cause inaccurate walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests. 

The issues mentioned above are only some of the many issues that can help build a defense to a 2nd DUI offense. A DUI lawyer will be able to find these issues, if they exist, within the case and use these issues to defend against the DUI charge. If you have been arrested for a second DUI offense in Connecticut, call Lady DUI to speak with a lawyer who understands how to look for these issues and build a defense. 

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