Unlike other criminal cases, many DUI cases are very different. More often than not, the people I represent in need of a DWI in drunk driving arrests are people who have never dealt with the criminal justice system.
People charged with driving under the influence suffer consequences far beyond just a court case. For example, many arrested for DUI find themselves scrambling to keep their job as there’s an immediate impact on their ability to commute back and forth to work, not to mention those people who drive during the workday, such as salespeople that cover a particular territory or region.
They tell me, “I’m going to lose my job,” or “ I have a kid in college, and will not be able to keep my job” and “How will I pay the bills?” Under the current law, there’s an immediate suspension of one’s driver’s license followed by a period when they need to maintain an ignition interlock device at a monthly cost. These procedures are tedious and need to be followed properly in order to optimize one’s chances to get back on the road.
Additionally, those arrested for driving under the influence are also confronted with the Department of Motor Vehicle’s Administrative Per Se suspension and hearing process. As a result, in addition to criminal court, this is another venue (DMV) where they need to appear. This results in higher legal costs, more stress and another layer of bureaucracy.
Drunk driving affects everyone:
- Blue-collar workers
- Students, etc.
Imagine how life would change if one is not able to drive for 6 months or a year. It would affect all that one does.
For those that live outside the city, and need to commute to work or school, or just need to go grocery shopping, average everyday tasks become virtually impossible. Being able to drive is like breathing because we don’t notice that we’re breathing until someone takes away the oxygen; then we panic! Once we can’t drive, everyday life becomes a nightmare.
Driving under suspension is NOT an option because if someone was arrested for driving while under suspension for drunk driving, they would be charged with a new and separate criminal offense of driving under suspension. That particular charge requires a mandatory 30-day jail sentence, above and beyond any punishment for the drunk driving case.
I have represented many people who have arrested for driving with an elevated blood alcohol level. I work to try and bring some order back into their lives.
A charge of driving under the influence may end up costing much more than you can imagine. It may lead to a permanent criminal record. You can lose your license permanently, or potentially, have it suspended. Make the right decision and contact an experienced DWI defense attorney.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can give you the right advice from the start of your case. He can help you answer critical questions. For example, if the police pulled you over, would you know when to refuse to take a breath alcohol test? What if you were involved in an accident and there are injured people? Did you use anything other than alcohol before getting behind the wheel?
If you need answers to those questions or any others because you may be facing a drunk driving charge, contact the Law Office of Salvatore Bonanno to speak to a knowledgeable Hartford DUI defense lawyer today.
What Constitutes a DUI?
Elements of a 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, (3) 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”; therefore, if someone is on prescription medication that has the tendency to affect their ability to drive a motor vehicle, then that person could be charged for a DUI, even if that person had no alcohol or illegal drugs in their system.
Also, in Connecticut, the court has ruled that “operation” of a motor vehicle includes sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine off, but with the keys in the ignition. So if someone pulls over and tries to “sleep it off”, but leaves the keys in the ignition, they have satisfied the element of “operation.”
“Operation” can also be found from circumstantial evidenced. For example, if someone pulls over to the side of the road to sleep it off, then shuts off their car and removes the keys from the ignition, then operation can still be inferred from such things as a warm engine, or engine hood, among other things.
Similarly, there are multiple ways for an officer to determine whether or not a person is under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or any drug or both. The officer’s observations at the scene when interacting with the driver often create probable cause for a DUI; for example, the officer may notice that the driver was slurring their speech, or that their breath smelled of alcohol, or that their eyes were bloodshot. Additionally, what the officer observes from how the driver performed the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is often sufficient for probable cause for a DUI.
What this means, for example, is that a person who is asleep in their car, with no keys in the ignition, can be found to have operated their motor vehicle simply from the officer’s objective observations. Additionally, if the driver smelled of alcohol, or did poorly on the SFST, they would likely be arrested for DUI.
Hartford DWI Defense Attorney
If you are able to avoid a first conviction for driving under the influence because a judge threw out the charges, an experienced DUI defense lawyer may be able to remove all information about you from the public record, including your booking photo.
Attorney Salvatore Bonanno has extensive experience defending individuals against drunk driving charges, as well as other criminal traffic violations such as assault with a motor vehicle.
If you have had your Connecticut license suspended because of a drunk driving (DWI/DUI) charge, Attorney Bonanno can represent you at the appropriate hearings with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
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 at 860-527-6500 to speak with an experienced Hartford County DUI defense lawyer.