Many people that are arrested for their first DUI offense have never been arrested or charged with a crime before. Despite the common occurrence of DUI arrests, many people accused of driving under the influence are decent, law-abiding citizens and productive members of society.
First Offense DUI Penalties
Unfortunately, DUIs can greatly affect a person’s livelihood, quality of life, and reputation. Luckily, however, a first offense is treated much less harshly than subsequent DUI arrests, and many times, the court will offer lesser consequences. The penalties for a 1st offense are as follows:
- Either up to six months incarceration with a mandatory minimum sentence of two days or up to six months suspended with probation and 100 hours of community service.
- A $500-1,000 fine.
- 45 days of license suspension, followed by one year of driving with an ignition interlock device installed in the defendant’s vehicle.
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Connecticut offers diversionary programs which are offered to specific offenders that are charged with a DUI and also meet the eligibility requirements. If this program is offered and successfully completed, the DUI charge could be dismissed. The alcohol education or substance abuse treatment is used to take the place of the DUI case and trial.
Before the defendant can participate in the program, the court will send him or her 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 whether the defendant meets the eligibility requirements for the program and if so, what program will best suit that person and be recommended for.
16 and 17-year-olds that are charged with first offense DUIs, which is driving with a BAC of .02% or higher, will face the possibility of harsher penalties from the court. The offender’s driver’s license will be taken and suspended for a period of 48 hours by the arresting agency, and their vehicle will automatically be towed.
The offender will then, accompanied by a parent or guardian, have to sign a release form with the arresting police department after the 48-hour time period to get their license back. Any driver under the age of 18 that is charged with a DUI will face the same penalties as a first offender DUI but will not be eligible for a diversionary program, nor will they be eligible for youthful offender status under §54-76b.
If you have been charged with a first offense DUI in Waterbury, a DUI attorney will be able to highlight the strengths of the case and advocate for you at the DMV hearing, as well as negotiate for the best possible outcome in the criminal case. Facing a DUI can be a very intimidating and stressful process, so do not do it all alone.