Connecticut Drunk Driving Defense Information from Experienced Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers.

What are the five basic points that I need to know if I am charged with drunk driving in Southeastern, Connecticut?

  1. What can I do to defend my drunk driving case in New London, Connecticut?

If you are charged with drunk driving in Connecticut then you are charged with a crime.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming that there is nothing you can do to improve your situation.  The way to defend yourself against a driving while intoxicated charge is to defend against each of the several elements that need to be proven against you in the case by the State of Connecticut, and the Department of Motor Vehicles.  You will probably need the help of a drunk driving defense lawyer.

  1. What is the presumption of innocence in a drunk driving case?

Under the Constitution, you are presumed to be innocent.  This means that you did not commit the crime of drunk driving unless and until the government proves otherwise beyond any reasonable doubt in a trial.  The presumption of innocence applies in a DUI case in Norwich, Connecticut, just like it applies in any other criminal case anywhere in the entire state of Connecticut.  It is your single most important right when you are charged with drunk driving.  Your lawyer's job is to defend that right.  In Southeastern, Connecticut, if your case goes to trial the trial will probably take place in New London on Broad Street, or in Norwich, on Court Street.

  1. What are the two prongs to defend against in a drunk driving case in Ledyard, Connecticut?

In a drunk driving case in Connecticut, there are actually two separate cases to defend against.  Your lawyer will normally handle both parts of the case, but you can elect to hire your drunk driving lawyer to handle only one part of the case.  The first part of any drunk driving case consists of the criminal charges brought by the State of Connecticut.  These charges are brought in criminal court.   The second part of any drunk driving case in Connecticut consists of the administrative charges brought by the State of Connecticut, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).   These charges are not brought in a Court although the DMV hearing office is a formal proceeding similar to a Court hearing.  For most cases arising out of towns in Southeastern, Connecticut like Groton, Stonington, North Stonington, Ledyard, Norwich, New London, East Lyme, Old Lyme, Montville, and Salem your Department of Motor Vehicle hearing will take place in the DMV office in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

The two prongs that you must defense against in the drunk driving case are (1) the Court charges, and (2) the Department of Motor Vehicle license suspension process.  Each process is a separate process that the State brings against you.   You can win one, both, or none.  They are two truly separate proceedings.  So, each drunk driving case is like two cases in one.

  1. In a drunk driving case arising our of Montville, Connecticut, what does the state have to prove in Court?

If you are charged with drunk driving in Connecticut, then the State has charged you with violating Connecticut General Statute § 14-227a.  This is a serious crime.  In order to found guilty of this law, the State must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that you violated each an every element of the drunk driving charge.   The elements or parts of a drunk driving charge are defined by General Statute § 14-227a.   The general drunk driving elements are that the state must prove that you were (1) operating a vehicle, (2) on a public road, (3) while you are under the influence of alcohol or a drug or both, or that your had a certain amount of alcohol in your blood.  As of this writing if you are over the age of 21, you are legally intoxicated if your BAC is .08 or higher.  If you are 21 or younger, you are legally intoxicated if your BAC is .02 or higher.

  1. What does the DMV have to prove to take away my license or my right to drive in Connecticut?

In a drunk driving case, the DMV has to prove the existence of four things in order to take away your drivers license or right to drive in Connecticut.  They must prove (1) operation; (2) that you were placed under arrest; (3) probable cause to arrest; (4) and that you failed the test or refused to take the test.

What are the consequences of a drunk driving charge and conviction?

Assume you are arrested for suspicion for drunk driving in East Lyme, Connecticut.  What are the bad things that can happen to you if you are charged with DUI in Connecticut?

Here are some common questions.

  1. Will I go to jail for a drunk driving conviction?

As of this writing, for a DUI first offense, there is jail time in Connecticut.  Don’t despair.  You should have a drunk driving lawyer defense you case.  For a properly handled case, the vast majority DUI first offenders do not do any jail time.

  1. Will my name be in the newspaper?

At this time several local news outlets regularly contact police departments to seeking arrest logs.  It is highly likely that your name with be in the police logs if you are arrested for drunk driving.

  1. What will happen to my car insurance rates when this whole thing is over?

If you are convicted for drunk driving, you can expect your insurance rates to go up for a few years, or your company might even drop you entirely.   You will have to file a form SR-22 with the DMV as proof that you have insurance before you drive again. 

  1. How long does it take to fully defend a drunk driving case with the help of an experienced drunk driving lawyer in Southeastern, Connecticut?

Three months or more depending on how much is disputed in the case.  The drunk driving case can go on for years if you are forced to have a trial, and an appeal.   Most cases are resolved in less than six months. 

  1. What are the penalties for driving drunk in Connecticut?

Assume you have a trial in New London, Connecticut and you are convicted.  There are several types of penalties for DUI.  They include jail time, loss of license, driving with an ignition lock device, monetary fines, community service, and attending a victim impact panel.

  1. Will I lose my license to drive in Connecticut or another state?

If you are convicted, you will lose your license for a designated time period.

  1. Will I get sued in Civil Court after a drunk driving event?

If you unfortunately crashed into someone, and injured a person or property, then you should expect to be sued in a personal injury case.


For how long will my license be suspended after a convision for drunk driving in Connecticut?

There are many possibilities.  It depends on several factors:  Your age, the blood alcohol content (BAC), the offense number (first, second, third, etc), whether the suspension comes from the Court or the DMV, and finally, whether you failed the BAC test or whether you refused to take the test.    As of this writing there are over thirty different variations of license suspensions based on the several factors listed above.  Suspensions can range from 45 days to a lifetime suspension. 


Where do I have to go to have my drunk driving case completed in Eastern Connecticut?

There are several locations you need to know about in Eastern, Connecticut.  There are four geographic area “GA” criminal court houses for most drunk driving cases in Eastern Connecticut.  They are located in New London, Norwich, Rockville, and Danielson.   The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicle hearings are held in Old Saybrook.

  1. GA 10 in New London criminal Courthouse located at 110 Broad Street, New London, Connecticut.
  2. GA 21 in Norwich criminal Courthouse located at 1 Courthouse Square, Norwich, Connecticut.
  3. GA 19 in Rockville criminal Courthouse located a 20 Park Street, Rockville, Connecticut.
  4. GA 11 in Danielson criminal Courthouse located at 120 School Street, Danielson, Connecticut.
  5. DMV hearing office in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.


What are the important documents, reports, and pieces of evidence in your drunk driving case?

  1. What is the A44 report after an arrest in Stonington, Connecticut?

The A44 report is the report for a drunk driving arrest.  It is a report of the arrest itself, and all of the things that the Department of Motor Vehicles needs to know in order to determine whether they will take away your license.

  1. What is the arrest report for an arrest in New London, Connecticut?

The arrest report goes along with the A44 report, and is a narrative report of your arrest.  It contains the police officers narrative description of your arrest and other important facts related to your arrest.

  1. What is the accident report in there was an accident on Rt. 32 in Uncasville, Connecticut?

If you were involved in an accident, then in addition of the other two reports, there will also be an accident report.

  1. Can I see the report before I go to Court to defend the drunk driving case?

You don’t have the right to see all reports.  In a criminal case you have limited rights to discovery.  Generally, you will have access to documents early on in the process, but no necessarily before your first Court date.  Your drunk driving defense lawyer will get the documents for you.  There are just too many individual factors to state a general rule.

  1. Do I have the right to see the video of my drunk driving arrest if one was created?

                   Not all cases result in videos.  But if one is created your lawyer will normally have the right to view the video.



What are the important procedures or processes that take place in a drunk driving case in Southeastern, Connecticut.

1. Your first court appearance.

            There is really nothing special about the first court appearance as compared to other court appearance in your drunk driving case.  It is common to enter a not guilty plea. 

2. What is a pre-trial conference for your drunk driving case in Old Lyme, Connecticut?

            A pre-trial conference is a term used to describe a settlement conference.  It is essentially a meeting between the parties of case in which the parties discuss a possible final result of the case.

3. What is the XA docket in criminal court in New London, Connecticut?

            This is a term used to describe a settlement conference in which the judge is actively involved in the settlement conference, and makes every effort to help the parties resolve the drunk driving case.

4. What is a plea deal for a drunk driving case in Norwich, Connecticut?

            A plea deal is a final settlement of a criminal case in which the defendant agrees to plea guilty to some charge.  Many times, the plea of guilty is for a less serious charge, and it represents a settlement of a case. 


Will I have to speak in Court in a drunk driving case?

            Eventually, in most drunk driving cases you will have to say something in Court, but your lawyer will do 99% of the talking for you.    When it comes time for you to speak your drunk driving defense awyer will have prepared you for the question, and the answer.


What Court or other events must I attend?

  1. Do I have to go to Court?

Yes, you do have to go to Court.  There is no way to avoid at least one Court appearance. 

  1. Do I have to attend a DMV per se hearing?

No, you do not have to attend.  In some cases, if your testimony is necessary to your defense, then you will have to attend the DMV hearing. 


What is the DMV per se hearing for a drunk driving case?

  1. What is a paper hearing?

A DMV per se hearing is often called a “paper” hearing.  This means the judge can decide the drunk driving case based on the A44 report.  The A44 report is a piece (or several pieces) of paper that contains most of the evidence against you.  It is called paper hearing because the witnesses (the arresting officer) do not have to attend the hearing to testify against you.  The rules allow the hearing administrative law judge to read the A44 report into the record, and base his or her decision on the information in the A44 report.

  1. What is a DMV per se license suspension?

A DMV per se license suspension occurs when the DMV takes away your driving privileges.

  1. What happens at a DMV hearing?

The administrative law judge will ask you if you stipulate to any of the issues in the case.  Then the judge will ask you if you have any objections to the A44 report.  Then the evidence will be admitted or read into the record.   The judge might issue a decision on the spot.  But normally, the judge will mail you the results of his or her decision in a few days. 

  1. What does the DMV have to prove at a hearing?

The DMV must prove four issues:  (1) that you were operating your vehicle on a public road, (2) that you failed the test or refused to take the test, (3) that there was probable cause for your arrest, and finally (4) you were arrested for DUI. 

Can I get a permit to drive to work or school?

            In Connecticut, if your license is suspended for DUI you can apply to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a permit to drive to and from work or school.  The DMV is not required to give you the permit to drive to work or school.  They require you to fill out a form that includes the reasons why you need the permit, efforts you have made to find a ride, and details about your travel plans.  If you have a reasonably good record, and absent unusual circumstances eligible persons should expect to get the permit.  It is very important to fill out the paperwork correctly with attention to detail to increase your chances to get the permit in the first place, and to get it as soon as possible.


How to Get Help.

What will happen if I do nothing?

            You will have a DUI on your record.  You will lose your license, and you might end up in jail. 

Is their value in hiring a drunk driving  lawyer for my DUI case in Connecticut?

No one is required to have a lawyer.   Everyone has the right to handle his or her own case, even a murder case.  But why would anyone do that?  Why would anyone handle his or her own DUI case?  The only logical reason is they have no money whatsoever to hire a lawyer.  Unfortunately, that is the world we live in today. 

For most people, however, there is great value in hiring a lawyer for their DUI case.  There is great value in it or several reasons

First, there is a lot at stake in a drunk driving case. If there is any way to “beat” the charge, then that is certainly an option that should be considered.  Even a small chance to “beat” the drunk driving charge, has great value.  Can you (without the help of a drunk driving defense lawyer) evaluate whether you can win your case?  Do you know what evidence to seek out?  If you know or if you can figure it out, can you do it promptly so you can use that evidence to your advantage in your case? Do you know that particular factual scenarios typically result in dismissals?  Do you know how to change the date or your Court appearance, if necessary?  The bottom line is that you will need to help of a lawyer if you expect to do any better then the worst possible scenario.

Second, most people don’t truly assess all of the bad things that can happen in the future, and the value of planning for these possible scenarios.  First, jail time, in on the table even for a first time offender.  Also, most people do not even consider the long-term increased costs for their car insurance.  Also, most people don’t consider the value of winning a case now, and avoiding the possibility of being considered a multiple offender in the future.  Next, there is great value in promptly obtaining a work permit to drive to and from work, and in knowing how realistic your chances of getting the permit actually are.  There is great value in avoiding the worst-case scenario, and increasing the changes of getting a better than average or even great result. 

Third, when you are handling your case on your own all of your statements in Court, and otherwise can be used against you in your case. 

Fourth, there is a lot of work that will be done by your lawyer on your DUI case.  The work will include meeting with you as necessary, evaluating the evidence, obtaining evidence, court appearances, DMV hearing appearances, obtaining work or school permits, filling out the necessary paperwork for the Court and DMV.   Someone must do all of this work.   For many people the fact that they don’t have to worry about getting it all accomplished is of great value.  


How expensive is it to hire a lawyer for a DUI case?

            It is probably more affordable then you expect.  At our office our rates are reasonable, and we will take your financial situation into account.   Most clients hire us on a time/work basis, which means we charge an hourly fee for our services.  We require a reasonable retainer, which is simply an up-front payment to cover the expected near term charges.  We also offer alternative fees arrangements if that is your preference such as a flat fee.  In Connecticut (as in most states, if not all) a contingency fee in a criminal case is not permitted.


How do I choose a lawyer for a DUI case?

            As with any important purchase you should do some investigating, and research to determine whether you and your prospective lawyer are a good fit. 

            While there is no single factor that you should look for when you hire a lawyer for your DUI case here some questions you can ask a prospective lawyer.


  1. What criminal law experience do you have?
  2. What DUI experience do you have?
  3. Are you involved with any relevant practice area organizations such as the Connecticut criminal defense lawyers association, or the Connecticut trial lawyers association?
  4. Do you regularly practice in the Court where my case is being handled?
  5. Are you able to take my case to trial if necessary?
  6. How much do you charge for your services?


How do I hire a lawyer for a DUI case?

            The first step is to call the potential lawyer to schedule an initial telephone consultation or office consultation.  For most cases you should expect to meet your lawyer in their office before they commit to represent you.  However, that is not always required particularly if you are out of state or otherwise have to travel a long distance. 

Where to get help.

For help defending your drunk driving case contact the drunk driving defense lawyers at The Bartinik Law Firm, P.C., 100 Fort Hill Road, Groton, Connecticut at 860-445-8521 or toll free at 888-717-4211.


Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
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Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut