Meriden First-Offense DUI Charges 

In Connecticut, driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a criminal offense. If convicted, the driver can be incarcerated, fined, or both, even for the first offense.

If you are facing Meriden first-offense DUI charges, retain the services of an experienced first-offense DUI lawyer to ensure that your rights and freedoms are protected.

How Blood Alcohol Content is Used

Blood alcohol content is used to determine whether a driver is under the influence. A driver whose blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher is considered impaired; however, that is the standard when the driver is legally permitted to drink alcohol and does not possess a commercial driver’s license.

When the driver is under the age of 21, a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or higher constitutes impairment. A driver that has a commercial driver’s license is intoxicated when their blood alcohol content is .04 percent or higher because they are held to a higher standard since driving is their profession.

Criminal Penalties

In Meriden and throughout Connecticut, the penalties for driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence get progressively worse with each subsequent conviction. After the first conviction, there is a 10-year period during which the court can look back if a driver is later convicted of the same charge to increase the penalties. While the penalties associated with the first offense are typically less harsh than for later offenses, they are still significant.

When a driver on a Connecticut road is convicted of driving or operating a vehicle under the influence as a first offense, they can be punished with incarceration from two days to six months and/or fines between $500 and $1,000. Additionally, a person’s driver’s license can be suspended for 12 months and the driver may be subject to up to 100 hours of community service.

Administrative Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties for Meriden first-offense DUI charges, the arrest report for a driver that is cited for impaired or intoxicated driving is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Immediately after receiving the report, the DMV may suspend the driver’s license, if they refused to submit to the breath, blood, or urine test or failed one of the tests. This suspension is not dependent on the outcome of the criminal case; rather, the results of the test or refusal to take the test alone is sufficient.

Notice of the driver’s license suspension is mailed to the driver and they have seven days to request a hearing. Failing to make the request within seven days will result in the suspension becoming effective.

Requesting a hearing allows the driver to have an administrative hearing, during which they can present any evidence in support of the driver’s license not being suspended. The hearing officer will consider the presented evidence in determining whether the driver’s license should be suspended. Once the individual’s license is reinstated, they will have to use an ignition interlock device.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

If the driver’s license is suspended, following reinstatement, the driver is obligated to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in their registered vehicle. An IID is an in-vehicle breathalyzer that has an installed camera.

To turn on the vehicle, the driver must blow into the breathalyzer and if the driver is under the influence, the vehicle will not start. Having another person blow into the IID can result in criminal charges for both parties. The driver is also responsible for the costs of installation and monthly calibration of the IID, which can be expensive.

Speak with a Meriden First-Offense DUI Attorney Today

Although judges tend to be lenient with Meriden first-offense DUI charges, that is no reason to not take these charges seriously. A subsequent charge/repeat DUI offense could lead to an elevation in charges. The elevation of charges can result in severe penalties. Make sure to contact a Meriden first-offense DUI lawyer who can examine all the aspects of your case and advise you of your best legal options going forward.