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New Haven DUI Penalties

The consequences of a DUI arrest can be difficult for you, your family, your career, as well as your reputation. Even if you are only arrested for a DUI, it will likely cost you money to post your bond, hire a New Haven DUI attorney, and force you to lose time from work or even lose your job.

Any arrest for DUI involves two separate cases: the DMV case (also called the DMV per se hearing) and the Court Case. Each of these cases are separate and distinct from each other. The DMV does not know what is happening at court and the court does not know what is happening at the DMV. The same is true with the penalties. The penalties at court can involve jail, fines, probation, license suspensions and require an ignition interlock device (IID). The penalty at the DMV can result in the permanent suspension of your license.

As a result, it is important you take the necessary steps to build a defense for both by consulting with a New Haven DUI attorney. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest and develop the strongest possible defense for your case. To learn more or begin planning your defense, call today.

Criminal Penalties

The criminal penalties associated with a DUI depends on whether you have been convicted of a previous DUI and whether any conviction occurred within the last 10 years. Any conviction caries with it potential jail time, fines, a license suspension on top of the per se license suspension from the DMV Case, and a requirement that you install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car, which allows you to drive. For more information on the DMV per se license suspension and the IID, please see our DMV Case page.

For a first conviction you face a maximum penalty of six months in jail of which 48 hours cannot be suspended or 100 hours of community service. Whether the court imposes the mandatory 48 hours in jail or the 100 hours community service is in the discretion of the judge and often depends on the court house your case is being heard. In addition, there is minimum fine of $500 and maximum fine of $1,000. A first conviction carries a one-year license suspension, however, you are eligible for an IID after 45 days.

For a second conviction you face a maximum penalty of two years in jail of which 120 days cannot be suspended. In addition, there is minimum fine of $1,000 and maximum fine of $4,000.00. A second conviction carries a one-year license suspension, however, you are eligible for an IID after 45 days.

For a third or additional conviction you face a maximum penalty of three years in jail of which 1 year cannot be suspended. In addition, there is minimum fine of $2,000. and maximum fine of $8,000. A third conviction carries a permanent license suspension. However, after 6 years you may ask the DMV to reinstate your license. If the DMV did reinstate your license you would be required to install an IID on your car for 10 years.

For those cases involving jail sentences Home Confinement may be an option. More information about this possible option is available on our dedicated Home Confinement page.
*Please keep in mind that this suspension, which is caused as a result of the conviction, is in addition to that which is imposed in the DMV per se case. For more information on the DMV per se case and the suspension, please see our DMV Case page.

First Offense Penalties

For a first conviction you face a maximum penalty of six months in jail of which 48 hours cannot be suspended or 100 hours of community service. Whether the court imposes the mandatory 48 hours in jail or the 100 hours community service is in the discretion of the judge and often depends on which courthouse your case is being heard. In addition, there is minimum fine of $500.00 and maximum fine of $1,000. A first conviction carries a one-year license suspension, however, you are eligible for an IID after 45 days.

Second Offense Penalties

For a second conviction you face a maximum penalty of two years in jail of which 120 days cannot be suspended. In addition, there is minimum fine of $1,000. and maximum fine of $4,000.00. A second conviction carries a one-year license suspension, however, you are eligible for an IID after 45 days.

Third or Subsequent Offense Penalties

For a third or additional conviction you face a maximum penalty of three years in jail of which 1 year cannot be suspended. In addition, there is minimum fine of $2,000 and maximum fine of $8,000. A third conviction carries a permanent license suspension. However, after 6 years you may ask the DMV to reinstate your license. If the DMV did reinstate your license you would be required to install an IID on your car for 10 years.

For those cases involving jail sentences Home Confinement may be an option, which can limit the amount of time spent in jail.

DMV Penalties

After an arrest for a DUI, the DMV will be notified of your arrest and a per se hearing will be scheduled. The primary penalty associated with the per se hearing is a license suspension. The suspension length will depend on whether you have prior DUI offenses, your BAC level, and whether you refused to take a chemical test.


In addition to the potential jail time, fines and license suspensions, a DUI conviction also means you have a criminal record. A first conviction is classified as a misdemeanor offense and a second, third or subsequent conviction is classified as a felony conviction. As with any criminal conviction, there are certain collateral consequences to a conviction, especially a felony conviction. For example, you insurance rates will significantly increase, you may loose your job, professional licenses, or firearms license, and, if its second or subsequent conviction (because those are felonies), your right to vote.

Home Confinement

In 2011 the Connecticut Legislature passed legislation that authorized the Department of Correction (“DOC”) to allow some individuals convicted of DUI to serve a portion of their sentence under home confinement (this is also called home arrest.) Home confinement requires the individual to remain at home during the period of their sentence unless he or she has received explicit permission to leave their home. It may be possible, however, to get permission to go to work or attend treatment. To assist in this monitoring, an individual may be required to where an electronic monitoring device which will track the persons location and monitor any consumption of alcohol. If any of the conditions of release are violated the release may be revoked. The home confinement will be monitored by a parole officer. Home confinement is also connected to the Ignition Interlock Device (IID.) For more information on the IID, please see our page that is dedicated to the IID.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for home confinement you must be sentenced to a period of incarceration for a violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-227a (DUI) or Conn. Gen. Stat.§ 14-215 (OUS). It does not appear that a person is eligible for home confinement if they are also serving a sentence for another criminal charge. Similarly, it does not appear as though a person serving a sentence for a violation of probation stemming from a DUI would be eligible for this program. This means that the structure of your sentence is extremely important and something that you must consider when assessing any possible outcome.

Importantly, eligibility does not depend on whether you plead guilty or go to trial. This is extremely important because whether you expect a plea bargain or go to trial you are eligible for this program and have the same opportunity to be released under home confinement.

The Process

The exact procedure for determining who will be released still continues to develop. However, there are a few things we know. After you are sentenced you will be transferred to DOC’s custody. The first step in the home confinement process is an initial assessment period. This initial assessment period takes a minimum of 10 calendar days. During this initial assessment DOC will collect certain information about your arrest, criminal history, and most importantly your amenability to alcohol treatment. In addition, DOC will conduct a mandatory alcohol abuse assessment. Ultimately, this material is used to determine your classification. There appear to be four classifications: Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4. Your classification determines how much of your sentence you will serve in jail.

How This Impacts Your Case

Obviously, this only impacts those people who are facing jail sentences as part of the outcome of the case. It is always our goal to avoid jail for our clients if it is at all possible. However, the reality of the situation is simply that in some cases (typically second and subsequent offenders) the prosecutor and the judge are going to be seeking jail. If that happens, we want to take steps from the very start of your case to position you to be released under home confinement as quickly as possible.

Diversionary Programs

In every case, we look for ways to fight the charges and get the charges “nolled” (this just means that the state won’t pursue the charges), reduced, or dismissed. When this result is unattainable, diversionary programs are an excellent option. These pre-trial diversionary programs are created by the Connecticut Legislature and are designed to provide individuals with the chance to prevent a criminal conviction. Although there are other programs, the Alcohol Education Program (AEP) is the most common program used in connection with a DUI.

If you are successful in completing the program, the charges will be dismissed. A dismissal is the best possible outcome in a criminal case because your criminal record remains “clean.” On the other hand, if the program is not granted to you or you do not satisfy the requirements, oftentimes you will face a criminal, or even felony, record which may potentially yield to jail time.

As a result, you cannot afford to take such risks with your case. Issues may arise concerning your eligibility for the program or the judge may determine that you should not be afforded the benefits of these programs for any number of reasons. These programs are not automatically granted to you. Instead, granting or denying you access to these programs rests entirely in the court’s discretion.