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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

When you get a second conviction charge, then there is an enhancement statute that comes into effect. It says that if you have had a prior conviction, you can be found guilty of a second offense and get the enhanced penalty, which is a minimum mandatory of 120 days and a maximum of two years jail. For a third conviction and beyond, you could receive the minimum mandatory of one year or the maximum of 3 years.

One aggravating factor to any Operating Under the Influence charge is if you are engaged in an accident. The statute governing this is CGSA Sec. 53a-60d. Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle: Class D felony, which reads as follows:

(a) A person is guilty of assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, he causes serious physical injury to another person as a consequence of the effect of such liquor or drug.

(b) Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle is a class D felony and the court shall suspend the motor vehicle operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege of any person found guilty under this section for one year. The court shall also order such person not to operate any motor vehicle that is not equipped with an approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, for a period of two years after such person’s operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege is restored by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

So, the big issue is if you have had an accident, and there is serious bodily injury to another person. Then they can file the DUI charge against you, but they can also file a charge of assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle. An assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle is a felony. It has no mandatory minimum but has a maximum period of incarceration of five years. Most cases of assault in the second-degree convictions are punished with jail time. A person might also be charged with manslaughter with a motor vehicle or death with a motor vehicle, which also carry enhanced penalties.

Once an offender reaches the third conviction, the offender faces a lifetime license suspension followed by permanent revocation of his/her license. This means the offender can no longer drive under any circumstances. After two years has passed, the offender is eligible to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles to request a hearing for reconsideration. There will then be a background check and then the hearing. At the hearing, officers will tell whether you have had any more convictions since the DUI. They might also want to hear if the offender has been attending counseling or going to AA meetings. They might also want to hear from family, friends, employers, etc.

How Often Do You Find That When Someone Is Facing A DUI Charge in Connecticut That They Just Go In With There’s No Point In Fighting The Charges Or Even Trying To Mitigate The Sentence, “I’m Just Going To Plead Guilty And Get This Over With, This Is Just How It Is”?

It is very typical that people facing a DUI charge in Connecticut go in with the “no point in fighting it” attitude. It could be that the person does not want to deal with working with or paying for a lawyer. They might decide that they can apply for the alcohol education program on their own. Many times a friend or relative tells them why pay for a lawyer they will not be able to help. If everyone gave up on a problem instead of trying to solve it then where would we be today? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You take a test and get a bad grade in school you cannot just drop the class. So, you pay attention in class and study harder. Life is full of difficulties. You want a conviction on your record. Fine. I do not. I want to try and get out from under it. When I feel that I did not do anything wrong then I want to fight the accusation against me. I want to defend myself. There are no guarantees in life and certainly with the law in a criminal case. Lawyers are not magicians. But, we can help. You pay for what you get.

Fifty years ago, I was practicing in a small midwestern town. I was talking with an older attorney who had been practicing since the late 1930s. He was very well known throughout the State, was bright, articulate, and full of that home spun philosophy that you read about in books. Anyway, he was a “two-fisted” drinker, liked to have a fun time and could argue with the best of them. He was at a Bar one evening and a man befriended him asking for advice on a legal issue. Both had been drinking liquor for many, many hours and both were drunk. My friend, the attorney, gives the man his advice. The man thanks him, walks away and does not even offer to buy him a drink for the advice. Several weeks later in a public gathering this same man comes up to the lawyer reading him the riot act and complaining that he took his advice and things did not work out. My friend asked, “How much did you pay for the advice I gave you?” The man said, “nothing.” The attorney replied, “that is just what you got then—nothing!”

The same lesson applies here if you do not try something then you do not get anything. We do not win most of the time but in most instances we are able to help the client.

We have mentioned the DMV Administrative Per Se Suspension Hearing Process. This hearing shall be limited to a determination of 4 issues: (1) Did the police officer have probable cause to arrest the person for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both; (2) was such person placed under arrest; (3) did such person refuse to submit to such test or analysis or did such person submit to such test or analysis, commended within two hours of the time of operation, and the results of such test or analysis indicated that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content; and (4) was such person operating the motor vehicle.

If after the hearing, the commissioner finds on any one of the said issues in the negative, the commissioner shall reinstate such license or operating privilege.

I had a case in which the client was told not to hire an attorney. He came to the consultation with his father. The father said I do not want him to hire you. They left but a week later the client came back and hired me. He was not comfortable with his father’s advice. We went to the DMV hearing and there was the issue with the breath test. The evidence that the hearing officer has are the arrest report and the breath test printouts with the time and results of the two tests. The breath test evidence printouts are signed by the police officer administering the test. They were not in the file. The hearing officer contacted the DMV office, and they did not have the evidence. The police officer was called, and he did not have it or a copy. The hearing officer found in favor of my client because of a lack of evidence. Sometimes, things just go your way.

Many times, a person tries to do his own research, goes online, and talks with friends. They often get it wrong because they are not familiar with the cases that interpret these laws. I you have a plumbing problem you call a plumber. If you have a medical problem you have a doctor take care of you. It is an easy decision that if you have a legal problem especially where jail is a possibility along with the loss of your license then hire an attorney.

It is advisable that if you can afford the price of legal fees, that you should hire an attorney to make sure that your constitutional rights are protected. It is in your best interest to have an expert at your side to argue for you at the DMV hearing, and in Court.

For more information on DUI Sentencing In Connecticut, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (860) 764-2744 today.

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STEVEN TOMEO, ESQ.

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