Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program for Connecticut DUIs

Staff Criminal Defense, News & Articles

Pursuant to Connecticut General Statute, Section 14-227a, “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both.  A person commits an offense under Section 14-227a, if such person operates a motor vehicle: (1) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both; or (2) while such person has an elevated blood alcohol content….”elevated blood alcohol content” means a ratio of alcohol in the blood of the individual that is eight-hundredths of one percent (0.08) or more of alcohol, by weight, except that if such person is operating a commercial motor vehicle, “elevated blood alcohol content” means a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is four-hundredths of one percent (0.04) or more of alcohol, by weight…”

If you have been stopped and arrested for driving under the influence, there is the possibility for significant criminal penalties as well as monetary costs.  The penalties for a conviction for driving under the influence can, and often times do, include jail time.  However, if you have been charged with a DUI there is some hope to avoid jail time and actually have your charges dismissed from your record.

If a driver is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), he or she is assigned a Court date at which he or she must appear.  At this hearing, an individual charged with a DUI would have the opportunity to meet with the State’s Attorney and review any evidence that the State’s Attorney has against them, including a copy of the arrest/incident report and any chemical testing that was performed.  Anything said to the State’s Attorney can be used against him or her at trial so an attorney is highly recommended.

Assuming arguendo that the stop of the individual by the police officer was proper, the driver may be eligible for Connecticut’s Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program.  If the driver has not been charged under a statute that has been excluded from coverage under this Program, the driver would submit to the Court an application for admission into the Alcohol Education Program.  Upon submitting this application, the applicant is asked a series of questions under oath regarding any past participation in the Program or any participation in other states in similar programs.  Assuming the driver has no past participation in the Program, the Court then provides a date upon which the driver must return to Court.

Following the initial court appearance and submission of the Alcohol Education Program Application, an appointment is made for the driver at a Court appointed location wherein he or she must take part in a self-assessment interview with one of the Program Directors or counselors.  During this interview, the driver must answer questions from the Director addressed at the driver’s past drinking habits as well as other addictive substances.  It is from this interview wherein the Director makes a recommendation to the Court as to the driver’s eligibility for the Program.

At the next scheduled Court date, the Court is informed as to the recommendation of the Alcohol Education Program Directors for eligibility, and to the number of classes to which the driver should be assigned.  Typically a driver is required to take either ten (10) classes, fifteen (15) classes, or is recommended to have a personally tailored plan at a local medical facility.  Once the Court is provided with the recommendation of the number of classes, the Court will either accept or reject such recommendation.

If the Court accepts the recommendation by the Director, a Program Fee payment in the amount of three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00), or five hundred dollars ($500.00) must be paid depending upon the number of classes that the Court orders.

Along with the required classes, a second requirement for the Alcohol Education Program is attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driver Victim’s Impact Panel, as well as possible community service and restitution if there was an accident resulting in property damage.  As a driver completes all of these requirements, he or she must provide certificates of completion and/or proof of community service to the Court.  Failure to do so could lead to the driver’s failure to complete the Program.

A final court appearance will also be scheduled for approximately twelve (12) months later.  Sometimes counsel can persuade the Court to schedule the date sooner than twelve months for good cause.  If all of the classes and requirements have been completed by the driver, and provided the driver has not been arrested again while taking part in the Program, the charges against the driver will be dismissed at this final court appearance.

Being charged with a DUI is a serious event but it does not have to follow you in the form of a criminal record for the rest of your life.  An experienced attorney may be able to either have the charges against you dropped, or obtain your entrance into the Alcohol Education Program which can eventually lead to the dismissal of your charges and leave you with no criminal record.  If you have been charged with a DUI in Connecticut, please call the experienced criminal counsel at Harlow, Adams & Friedman, P.C. today at 203-878-0661 for a free consultation.

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