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DUI Defense Attorney: What Constitutes a DUI or DWI?

Unlike other criminal defense cases, many DUI cases are very different. More often than not, the people Attorney Bonanno represents with DUI charges are people who have never dealt with the criminal justice system before.

In Connecticut, as an adult 21 years or older, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. DUI charges are severe and can affect your entire way of living. It would be best to work with an experienced attorney who understands every touch point of your life that a DUI charge may impact. This does not excuse underage drinking and DUI. Connecticut has a zero-tolerance policy for underage DUI.

A person commits a DUI when;

  1. When such person is under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, OR when such person has an elevated blood/alcohol content AND
  2. Such person operates a motor vehicle.

What does all this legalese mean?

Under the law, a person can be charged with DUI if that person is under the “influence of an intoxicating liquor or any drug or both.” This can result from various factors and is not always as cut-and-dry as many believe. For instance, did you know you can be charged with DUI without consuming alcohol or illegal drugs? Check out our article on medications that can affect impairment and can affect a breathalyzer test.  

DUI arrests can be incredibly stressful, primarily if you’ve never dealt with the criminal justice system. It can leave you feeling scared, embarrassed, overwhelmed, and full of questions. Attorney Bonanno is an experienced Connecticut DUI Attorney who is fully prepared to answer all your questions, make sense of the charges, and work to get the best possible outcome. We have posed some common questions that your may have below.

FAQ's Regarding DUI Laws in Connecticut

If I am pulled over, do I have to take a breathalyzer if they ask?

No. You have a constitutional right not to incriminate yourself, so you do not need to submit to a breathalyzer test. That being said, if you do not submit to the breathalyzer test, you will likely face a longer suspension from DMV.

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence” and DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated”. They both stand for the same thing; however, in Connecticut, the offense is called DUI. This is because statutorily the offense states “driving under the influence of intoxicating drugs or alcohol”, which means that a person can be charged with a DUI even though they had no alcohol, but was under the influence of drugs, whether prescription or not.

Am I going to lose my license or have it suspended?

Your privilege to operate your motor vehicle will likely be suspended by virtue of the DUI arrest itself for 45 days. Additionally, pursuant to the statute you will need to install an ignition interlock device in order to fully restore your privilege to operate.

Does a DUI go on my permanent record?

It depends on whether or not, you are granted a diversionary program. If not, you will likely end up with a criminal record, which will remain for sometime. 

If I am pulled over, do I have to submit to a blood test if they ask?

No. You do not have to submit to any type of test, whether it is blood, breath, or urine because you have a constitutional right not to incriminate yourself.  Regarding providing a blood sample, the blood sample must be drawn by a nurse, doctor, or phlebotomist, which are typically NOT at a police department. That being said, if you do not submit to the requested test, you will likely face a longer suspension from DMV.

How are minors treated/charged with regards to DUI?

Minors that are charged with DUI are treated as adults at adult court.

Do I have to notify my employer?

You do not need to notify your employer if you were charged with a DUI unless you have the type of job that requires you to self report a DUI arrest.

Will I be sent to jail?

If there was no accident or injury to anyone, and it is your first criminal/DUI matter, the odds are that you will avoid jail. That being said, even a first conviction for DUI has the potential for up to six months of jail. 

DUI Defense: Been Charged With Drunken Driving?

If you or a family member has been arrested or charged with drunk driving or any other criminal traffic violation, contact the Law Office of Salvatore Bonanno to speak with an experienced Hartford DUI defense lawyer.

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