Ridgefield DUI Lawyer
Many of the best Ridgefield Connecticut DUI/DWI criminal lawyers understand that a DUI/DWI arrest under C.G.S. § 14-227a involves a 2-front battle: fighting your charge at Danbury Superior Court, as well as fighting a license suspension at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. Depending on whether you are a first time DUI / DWI offender in Ridgefield or a repeat DUI / DWI offender, you will be facing either misdemeanor or felony charges that carry mandatory jail time and hefty fines. So if you have been arrested in Ridgefield Connecticut for a DUI / DWI, then you should contact a top Ridgefield Connecticut criminal lawyer immediately.
Understanding the Field Sobriety Tests During a Ridgefield DUI / DWI Arrest
If a Ridgefield Connecticut police officer pulls you over for suspicion of drunk driving, then they will order you out of your car to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (often called the “SFSTs”). These tests are designed to gauge whether or not you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and include the “Walk and Turn Test,” the “One-Legged Stand Test,” and the “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test.”
If you decide to take the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, then you should immediately inform the Ridgefield police officer if you have any medical conditions or vision issues that could affect your ability to accurately perform the tests, including if you have recently had knee surgery, suffer from dizziness or vertigo, or arthritis. And if you do inform the Ridgefield police officer of these medical issues, make sure that they note your disclosure in their police reports – don’t let them conveniently leave out any of this information!
Should You Take the Breathalyzer Test?
One of the most common questions that a top Ridgefield DUI / DWI criminal defense attorney gets from their clients is whether they should take the breathalyzer test during a DUI / DWI arrest. Once you are arrested, standard protocol is for the police to take you to the station and give you the option of taking a breathalyzer test. This decision is extremely important.
You should know that as of July 1, 2015, anyone arrested in Connecticut for a DUI / DWI who fails a breath test – whether it is for a first DUI arrest or a repeat DUI arrest – is required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) in their car. These IID laws (you can find out more about them here) require anyone who has failed a breath, blood, or urine test in Connecticut to have their license suspended for 45 days, followed by a 6 month IID installation. If you refuse to take the breath/ blood/ or urine test, then the IID laws require that you have an IID installed for a 1-year period for first time DUI / DWI arrests.
Getting a Work Permit to Drive Following a Ridgefield Connecticut DUI Arrest
In certain cases, you may be eligible for a work or school permit to allow you to drive during a driving suspension resulting from a Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest. Be sure to contact a top Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal lawyer attorney to learn more on how to qualify for a work permit for your DUI / DWI arrest.
Contact a Top Ridgefield Criminal Defense Attorney before Submitting to a Breathalyzer Test
The decision to take or refuse a breathalyzer test should not be taken lightly, and it really depends on your individual circumstances. Any of the best Ridgefield Connecticut criminal law firms will consider the following factors before advising you on whether to take the breathalyzer test: your prior DUI / DWI arrest and conviction history, the severity of any injuries or property damage involved in your Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI, and the level of intoxication (i.e. an extraordinarily high BAC).
Insist on Speaking with a Lawyer
Connecticut law also allows you to speak privately with your lawyer, so if you are stopped for a DUI / DWI arrest in Ridgefield, be sure to contact a Ridgefield lawyer with experience in DUI / DWI arrests, not a real estate or divorce lawyer who just dabbles in criminal law. Remember, you are allowed a reasonable amount of time to contact a top criminal law firm – so if you don’t get through to an attorney the first time – be sure to insist on your right to call another attorney during your Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest. Usually it’s late at night when you’re arrested, so you will need to make a few phone calls before you’re able to connect with any of the best Ridgefield Connecticut criminal attorneys.
Your First Court Date for a DUI / DWI Arrest in Ridgefield, Connecticut
The best criminal lawyers in Ridgefield Connecticut know that all Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrests report to Danbury Superior Court, which is located at 146 White Street, in Danbury, Connecticut. All of these arrests report to Danbury Superior Court because Ridgefield doesn’t house any criminal courts of its own.
What to Expect at Danbury Criminal Court
The first court date for a Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest is called the “arraignment.” The arraignment is your first appearance before a Superior Court Judge who has the authority to order additional conditions of release, which are tailored to the individual circumstances of your Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrest. These additional conditions may include mandatory AA meetings, mandatory AIC compliance (click here to learn what AIC is), installation of an interlock ignition device (an “IID”) in your car, drug and alcohol counseling, random urine testing, curfew, or random breath testing. Fortunately, your attorney has the right to push back and argue against the imposition of these conditions to the Danbury court judge. So make sure you have a top Ridgefield Connecticut criminal lawyer by your side at your first court date so that the Danbury prosecutor or bail commissioner does not pile on onerous and unnecessary conditions of release.
Beating Your First Time DUI / DWI Offender Arrest in Ridgefield, Connecticut
Many of the best criminal law firms in Ridgefield Connecticut appreciate that there are usually 3 paths to resolving a first time offender Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest: (1) fight your Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrest and take it to trial; (2) plead guilty to the DUI / DWI charge, lose your Connecticut driver’s license, and face possible jail time and fines; or (3) maneuver around the district attorney / prosecutor and file a motion with the court, asking the Judge to suspend your prosecution and dismiss your case. If your motion for suspension of prosecution is granted, then Option 3 will result in your admission into a Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program, which, if successfully completed, will result in the complete dismissal of your case and the expungement of your Ridgefield criminal arrest record.
What Is the Best Defense Strategy for You?
Each defense strategy has its own pros and cons when it comes to fighting your first-time Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrest. After you consider factors such as your job, family, and financial resources, you may lean toward picking Option 3 and electing to apply for Connecticut’s Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program (which you may have heard referred to as “AEP” in court). The AEP is a one-year program, which requires you to attend 10 to 15 weekly alcohol education classes, or in certain cases, an intensive outpatient program. Any of the top Danbury Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys know that you can make a special motion to the court to attend all of these classes in one weekend at a special out of state program. Regardless of where you do your classes, if you successfully complete the program, and if you don’t get any new arrests during the one-year period, then your Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrest will be officially dismissed and expunged from your record.
Are You Guaranteed to Get into the Alcohol Education Program for a Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI?
No. Unfortunately, admission into the Alcohol Education Program is not an automatic guarantee. Danbury Connecticut prosecutors have the right to object to your admission into the program and they may oppose your application aggressively, especially if you had a high BAC reading, caused serious physical injuries or property damage, displayed an aggressive or bad attitude during your arrest, had a previous out-of-state DUI, or a previous New York DUI / DWI arrest that was reduced to a DWAI violation charge. You can only apply one time during a 10-year period, so make sure that you and your top Danbury / Ridgefield criminal lawyer prepare the strongest and most comprehensive AEP applicaiton package for Danbury court’s consideration (click here for more info on first time Ridgefield DUI / DWI strategies).
What Are the Risks for Second & Repeat Offenders in Ridgefield, Connecticut?
Many of the best Ridgefield Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys understand that a second offender or repeat offender arrest for a DUI / DWI in Ridgefield, Connecticut is extremely serious. Connecticut has adopted a 3 strike law for repeat DUI / DWI offenders. After your second DUI / DWI arrest in Ridgefield Connecticut, you will face a misdemeanor conviction, a 1 year Connecticut driver’s license suspension, and mandatory jail time and probation. After your third DUI / DWI arrest in Ridgefield, the penalties escalate to 2 years jail, with 120 days of mandatory jail time, along with a 3 year suspension of your Connecticut driver’s license. A fourth arrest exposes you to 1 year of mandatory jail time.
There’s hope, however. Sometimes Danbury Court prosecutors—after being persuaded by compelling mitigation arguments offered by your Ridgefield criminal lawyer—are able to exercise their discretion to reduce a second or third time offender case to a first time offender case, helping you avoid a felony conviction and mandatory jail time.
How Do I Remove My Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI Arrest Off the Internet & Google Searches?
The Ridgefield Police Department goes to great lengths to release your Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrest report and mug shot (this includes your name and address) to local online news websites. The online publication of your Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI and your mug shot can cause irreparable damage to both your personal and professional reputations.
Why do they publish your arrest reports? You see, a majority of these websites’ online ad revenues come from their police blotter/ arrest report pages. The police blotter web pages are the most frequently visited. And each time these pages are clicked, your article climbs to the top of a Google search result for your name, making it easier for anyone to find a record of your Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrest on the internet.
The Mark Sherman Law Firm offers one of the State’s leading internet scrubbing legal practices, helping many of their clients get their arrest report pages off the internet and off Google searches. The Firm has fought a 5-year-battle against online news websites, and have been able to assist scores of clients in cleaning the internet of their Ridgefield Connecticut dismissed cases.
Marijuana & Prescription Drug DUI / DWI Arrests in Ridgefield, Connecticut
With Connecticut’s decriminalization of marijuana, Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrests for marijuana and prescription drugs are becoming more prevalent. So if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI / DWI and you tell Ridgefield Police Officers that you had recently taken prescription drugs (even if it is a legally prescribed drug) or that you had recently smoked or ingested marijuana, you can still be arrested for a DUI / DWI under C.G.S. 14-227a.
What if My Doctor Said I Could Drive on the Medication?
This is not a defense. Having your doctor’s permission to drive on prescription medicine is not a defense to a Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest. Whether you are driving under the influence of a prescribed medication or narcotic and should be arrested rests in the sole discretion of the Ridgefield Police. These officers will first administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) – and if they believe that there is probable cause to arrest you at that point, then they will arrest you, bring you to the station, and ask you to take a breathalyzer or urine test. Remember, you have the right to refuse these tests and remain silent – so do not admit to the police that you have prescription drugs or marijuana in your body. To learn more about hiring a top Ridgefield Connecticut criminal defense attorney to fight your Marijuana DUI / DWI arrest, click here.
Contact a Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI Attorney Today
Fighting your Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest takes skill, experience, and a deep understanding of the Connecticut criminal court process and procedure. You should never hire an attorney who doesn’t specialize in criminal law – like a family law attorney or a real estate attorney – to defend your Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest. Instead, be sure to contact a top Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal attorney who will be able to guide you every step of the way. Any aggressive and experienced Danbury and Ridgefield Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal attorney will know how to analyze your police reports, witness statements, and toxicology reports, as well as be able to file motions to preserve evidence so that the police don’t destroy any potentially exculpatory evidence.
The team of experienced lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark Sherman, LLC can provide you with an honest and thorough assessment of your Ridgefield DUI / DWI arrest. We are prepared to help you through the court process, and fight for the best possible outcome for you. Check out our online Avvo-certified reviews — and then call a Ridgefield DUI / DWI lawyer at The Law Offices of Mark Sherman, LLC today. We are available 24/7 at (203) 358-4700.