Westport DUI Arrest Lawyer
As any of the top criminal lawyers and attorneys in Westport Connecticut appreciate, fighting a DUI / DWI / OUI arrest in Westport Connecticut requires a two-pronged attack: first, in the criminal courts and next, at the Connecticut DMV. Depending on your DWI arrest history, you will have to answer to misdemeanor or felony DUI / DWI charges in Connecticut Superior Court, where prosecutors may be looking to enforce mandatory minimum jails sentences if they consider you a repeat DUI / DWI offender. On top of that, the best Westport Connecticut criminal law firms will assist you in challenging a mandatory 45-day driver’s license suspension, which will be followed by a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) requirement for a 6 month to 1 year time period.
And as the top Westport DUI criminal lawyers frequently see, the Westport Police Department will also try to publicly shame you and deter future Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI offenders by releasing your name, contact information, and mug shot to the press, coupled with a false, one-sided and defamatory police report summary to the local online newspapers such as the Westport News, Westport Minuteman, and the Westport Patch. Between your criminal court appearances, DMV suspension hearing, and purging the online reports of your Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI drunk driving arrest, it can be too much to handle alone. So if you have been arrested for DUI / DWI in Westport Connecticut, be sure to contact a top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyer to take control of your case and attempt to get your Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI dismissed as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible.
What to do After a DUI Stop in Westport
This is a common question asked by Westport Connecticut drivers—what do I do if an officer asks me to take the field tests or take a breath test during a Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI traffic stop? Know your rights, for starters. Know that you have a choice; however, refusing to take these tests come with consequences. If you know that you are severely intoxicated, or if you have caused serious personal injury in a Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI car accident, then you should probably not take the field tests or breath tests until you’ve had a chance to speak with a top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney.
When making the decision to take the breath test, you should also consider whether you have been arrested in the past for a DUI / DWI in Connecticut (a repeat offender), or proceed cautiously if you’re under 21. If you are a Westport Connecticut driver who is under the age of 21, then you should remember that the legal BAC limit is under .02, not .08, basically a zero tolerance standard. And if you have prior DUI / DWI arrests, then the courts will consider you a repeat offender, and you will be facing much stiffer penalties such as mandatory minimum jails sentences between 120 days and 1 year. That’s why it’s recommended to use that “one phone call” to contact a top Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal defense attorney lawyer before deciding to take or refuse the breath test. All of the top Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal lawyers and attorneys regularly field calls at all hours of the night to make sure you make the most responsible decision for your case.
Westport Connecticut Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
The best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers understand that once you are pulled over for a suspected DUI / DWI, the Westport Connecticut police officers handling your traffic stop will ask you to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (the “SFSTs”) to help them determine whether they have probable cause to arrest you for Drunk Driving DWI / DUI in Westport Connecticut under CGS 14-227a. While Connecticut does have an implied consent statute, most drivers don’t realize that they can refuse to submit to a field test, which is a good idea if you are a repeat offender or have caused seriously physical injury to another motorist, car passenger, or pedestrian. Refusing to submit to a field sobriety test during a Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI police stop can actually benefit the driver, by limiting the amount of evidence the prosecution can use against you in court or in a Connecticut DMV suspension hearing. While it is important to be respectful to all of the Westport Connecticut police officers and to comply with their requests for information such as your name, number, license and registration, you still have the freedom to protect yourself with a refusal of the field tests and breath test if you feel it is in your best interest.
Penalties for Refusing a Breath Test during a Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI
In 2015, Connecticut lawmakers enacted a drastic change in Connecticut DUI / DWI law, requiring anyone who fails or refuses a breath test to install an “Ignition Interlock Device” (called an “IID”) in their vehicles after a 45-day suspension. As the best Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyers know, a refusal triggers a one-year IID requirement after the 45-day suspension. A failure of the breath, blood or urine test requires a 6 month IID requirement. You can, however, appeal your suspension with the assistance of any of the best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys. This appeal hearing takes place at the Connecticut DMV hearing rooms in Bridgeport or Waterbury and focuses on whether the Westport Police properly administered the breath or urines tests, or alternatively, whether their determination that you refused the breath test following your Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI was constitutionally and statutorily proper.
How to Fight Your DUI / DWI Arrest
Any of the top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers understand that successfully defending a DUI / DWI arrest in Westport Connecticut under CGS 14-227a requires a sensitive balance between zealous advocacy and courtroom finesse. The best DUI / DWI criminal lawyers in Westport Connecticut know that their first legal consideration is whether to file motions with the Norwalk Court to preserve digital surveillance evidence of your traffic stop, field sobriety tests, and your booking process. Police dashcam, bodycam and police department video footage can quickly disappear, or be overwritten, if not ordered preserved by a Norwalk Superior Court judge. Once the critical evidence has been preserved, a top Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal lawyer attorney will review the video evidence, police reports and witness statements for constitutional errors, defects and omissions. Filing motions to suppress evidence in your Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI may also be necessary. After that, your top Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyer will then negotiate your case with the state’s attorney’s office, and if necessary, seek a supervised pre-trial with the presiding judge in Norwalk Court (recall that Westport does not have a criminal court). The goal of a top Westport Connecticut criminal law firm is to get your Westport DUI / DWI arrest dismissed, quickly and cost-effectively; however, you will need to allow your lawyer ample time to review the prosecutor’s case file before your attorney can provide you with an honest assessment of your case.
First Time Offender DUI / DWI Arrests in Westport Connecticut
A first time offender arrest in Westport Connecticut for CGS 14-227a DUI / DWI comes with a minimum 45-day license suspension from the DMV (click here for more info on these new laws) followed by Ignition Interlock Device requirements in every car you own that can last up to 1 year. When you are arrested as a first time offender for a DUI / DWI in Westport Connecticut, state prosecutors will be looking closely at 2 key factors in your case to determine if they are going to want a permanent and lifetime DUI / DWI conviction against you:
(1) whether you caused physical injury to any other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians; and
(2) how much higher your Blood Alcohol Content / BAC readings were over the legal limit of .08 (or .02 for Westport Connecticut Under 21 DUIs / DWIs) while you were allegedly drunk driving.
If either of these issues come into play in your Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest case, then prosecutors will strongly object to your application for a first time offenders DWI / DUI program which would result in the dismissal of your case. So make sure that any of the best Westport Connecticut criminal DUI / DWI attorneys or lawyers with whom you consult are aware of all of the facts and circumstances of your first time offender Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest. This way, you can plan the most honest and effective defense strategy for your case. And be sure to follow this link to read more on first time offender DUI / DWI arrests in Westport Connecticut.
Connecticut’s Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program for First Time Offenders
First-time offender arrests for DUI / DWI in Westport Connecticut per CGS 14-227a can get dismissed if the court grants your application for the Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program (called the “AEP”) and you successfully complete the AEP’s court-ordered conditions. This is a drunk driving education course composed of 10 to 15 mandatory, consecutive weekly group classes in Connecticut. As discussed above, getting into the program is a privilege—it’s not automatic, nor is it an entitlement, so you need to follow the advice of your top Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal attorney lawyer in preparing the strongest application package. This process can often take weeks or months, depending on the circumstances of your case. Applying for the AEP in certain serious Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI arrests can be seen as presumptuous and offensive to the court and any crash victims. Often counseling, AA meetings, apology letters, confirmation papers of insurance coverage, and specialized character reference letters need to be assembled, both strategically and thoughtfully, for the judge’s consideration.
Out-of-State DWI/DUI Weekend Program for Connecticut DUI
Possibly. If you work in New York City and typically commute to and from Westport, then you and your top Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyer need to discuss moving the Court for special permission to attend a one-time out-of-state weekend program in New Hampshire which will require you to stay overnight in New Hampshire, and will avoid you having to worry about fighting snarling Connecticut traffic and getting to your weekly Connecticut classes on time.
Fighting a Repeat Offender DUI / DWI Arrest in Westport Connecticut
As the best criminal lawyers and attorneys in Westport Connecticut know, second time offender, third time offender, or repeat offender arrests for a Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI under CGS 14-227a expose you to severe mandatory minimum jail sentences. Connecticut has essentially adopted a three-strike DUI / DWI law. Your third arrest—usually treated as a second time offender conviction—comes with a maximum 3 year jail sentence, 120 days of which are mandatory minimum and cannot be reduced or suspended. Repeat offender DUI / DWI arrest convictions in Westport Connecticut also come with lengthy and even permanent driver’s license suspensions, IID requirements and possible felony convictions.
As you can see, a repeat offender DUI / DWI arrest in Westport Connecticut is high stakes, even if you think your prior DUI / DWI arrest was reduced to a less serious offense such as a New York State 1192.1 Driving While Ability Impaired charge (called a “DWAI”). So before making any decisions with respect to a Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI repeat offender DUI / DWI arrest—including even your decision to take the breath, blood or urine test at the police station—you should contact a top Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal law firm to make sure you make the best decision under the particular circumstances of your case. And click here for more on Connecticut DWI / DUI repeat offender arrests and defense strategies.
Westport Prescription Drug DUI
Absolutely. You don’t need to be impaired by alcohol to get arrested in Westport Connecticut for a DUI / DWI under CGS § 14-227a. Connecticut law actually prohibits driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana or illegal drugs. Thus, many Westport residents are surprised to learn that just because your doctor prescribed you a medicine or drug, or just because you have a legal Connecticut medical marijuana license, this does not mean that you can legally take that drug, operate your motor vehicle and avoid an arrest in Westport for DUI / DWI. As the best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers know, many prescription drugs, including marijuana, impair your motor skills and ability to operate a vehicle, making you drowsy, hyperactive, dizzy with double-vision, or foggy-headed. Prescription drugs and marijuana affect everyone differently and hiring a certified forensic toxicologist as an expert in your case can meaningfully contribute to your defense. Usually pill bottles have warning labels, advising you not to operate heavy machinery or drive a car after use. But know this—it doesn’t matter if your doctor told you that it’s okay to drive and take certain prescription drugs, and it doesn’t matter if your pill bottle did NOT have a warning label. These are not defenses to an arrest for a Prescription Drug OUI / DWI / DUI or a Marijuana DUI / DWI in Westport Connecticut. So if you have been arrested in Westport for driving under the influence of a prescription drug or a marijuana DUI, read more here about Connecticut arrests for Prescription Drug DUIs / DWIs, and then contact any of the best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers as soon as possible.
Getting Your Westport DUI Arrest Off the Internet and Off Google
In recent years, local online news outlets and blogs are raking in big ad revenues by publishing arrest reports and police blotters. The problem is that because of these profits, websites are refusing to take down arrest reports of dismissed and expunged Connecticut criminal cases, causing devastating damage to personal and professional reputations. We regularly receive phone calls from people who have had their charges dropped or dismissed but are having trouble finding a job or getting into college or graduate school because of an online Connecticut arrest report. Westport is no different, where the police blotters of the Westport Minuteman, Westport News, and Westport Patch online websites are regularly visited. But there’s hope…the Mark Sherman Law Firm has developed a unique statewide practice in assisting its clients in removing their damaging DUI / DWI arrest reports off the internet and off search engines like Google and Yahoo. While this can be a long and demanding legal process, the result of scrubbing the internet of your Westport Connecticut dismissed and erased arrest, while not guaranteed, is certainly worth your time and resources. Click here to learn more about the Mark Sherman Law Firm’s internet scrubbing practice.
Contact a Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI Attorney at Mark Sherman Law Today
As discussed above, getting arrested for a DUI / DWI in Westport Connecticut involves many moving parts, including DVM license suspensions, evidentiary hearings, evidence preservation considerations and internet scrubbing. And without the assistance of an experienced Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal law firm, you may find yourself facing the harshest penalties for your DUI / DWI, including jail time, fines, and probation. The team of criminal attorneys at Mark Sherman Law are available 24/7 to speak with you regarding your Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest. We know the steps that need to be taken quickly to ensure a vigorous and comprehensive defense strategy. Each DUI / DWI attorney at Mark Sherman Law will guide you to the finish line with the sole goal of getting you the best possible result for your case, and, if possible, getting your arrest records removed off the internet and off Google. So contact us today at (203) 358-4700.