Sometimes called “driving under the influence,” Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense that can lead to significant jail time, heavy fines, and a lengthy deprivation of your driving privileges. If you have been charged with this crime, it is critical to know what the law is and what options you may have in defending yourself. Dedicated criminal defense lawyer Walter Shalvoy has assisted numerous individuals facing prosecution for DWI in Connecticut and the surrounding area.
The DWI law in Connecticut is set out in two statutes. The first statute makes it illegal for any person to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with an elevated BAC (blood alcohol content). The second statute is the state’s implied consent law. This essentially provides that, if you hold a Connecticut drivers license, you automatically consent to a BAC test if pulled over for suspicion of DWI. Alternately, if you refuse the test, you are automatically subject to license suspension, whether or not you are legally intoxicated.
For drivers over 21, a BAC of over 0.08% automatically constitutes a violation of the DWI law. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%. For drivers under 21, the limit is 0.02%. BAC indicates the amount of alcohol per volume of blood, which can be measured by a breath test, blood test, or urine test.
These legal limits can be reached very quickly. For an individual weighing anywhere up to 160 pounds, one drink can put that person’s BAC at or over 0.02%. Two drinks will put that individual at or over 0.04%, and four drinks will put that person over 0.08%. Individuals who weigh more will require more alcohol to reach the legal limit, while those who weigh less will reach it with less alcohol.
Importantly, however, even if your BAC is found to be under the legal limit, you may still be cited for DWI if the arresting officer determines that your alcohol level has impaired your ability to drive safely.
In Connecticut, even a first offense will carry serious mandatory penalties upon a conviction. A first offender can expect jail time of up to six months, fines of up to $1,000, and license suspension for up to one year. A second offender will face even stiffer penalties, in addition to mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), which prevents a vehicle from starting until the driver passes a Breathalyzer test. A third offense constitutes a felony resulting in prison time from one to three years, fines from $2,000 to $8,000, and an indefinite license suspension.
In addition, the DMV can impose administrative penalties on someone cited for DWI, apart from any criminal proceedings. A DWI thus can gravely affect your finances and your life by imposing on you the cost of towing your vehicle, time in jail, fines, community service hours, the cost of posting bail or bail bonds, fees and time for a mandatory alcohol education program, lost time at work, and possibly even the loss of your job.
Tenacious DWI attorney Walter Shalvoy has been helping clients near Connecticut and other Connecticut communities for over a decade. He has the experience to maximize your chance of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case. There are many ways to successfully challenge a DWI charge, from finding fault in the arresting officer’s procedures to pointing out errors in how evidence was gathered, measured, or stored. Walter Shalvoy can help you from the very beginning of the process, acting as your advocate from the arrest stage all the way through to trial. You don’t have to face your DWI charges alone. Call us at 203-426-4409, or use our online form to set up your free initial consultation.