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Yes, You Need a DUI Defense Lawyer for a First OffenseDriving under the influence laws in Connecticut have become harsher over the past few years as the state has recognized that penalties need to be stricter. Even if you are facing a first-time offense for DUI in Connecticut, it is a smart move to hire a DUI lawyer to defend you in court. DUI penalties, if convicted, are at the discretion of the judge presiding over your case based on a range outlined by the law.

First offense DUI penalties in Connecticut

The penalties for a first DUI conviction in Connecticut are as follows:

  • Up to six months in jail with a minimum of two days
  • Up to six months in jail suspended sentence with 100 hours of community service
  • Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000
  • Driver’s license suspension of 45 days
  • One year driving with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle

Is plea bargaining an option?

If there is any amount of doubt about your case, including the evidence against you, it might be time to consider a plea bargain. It is recommended that you do not represent yourself when fighting a DUI charge, even if it is your first offense. A plea bargain is when you agree to enter a guilty plea with the court in exchange for lower penalties.

The following are common defenses that can raise doubt about whether your arrest in a DUI case was warranted:

  • Your BAC was under 0.08
  • The results of the field sobriety tests were questionable
  • You were not read your Miranda rights
  • Whether or not your BAC test was accurate

An attorney can help obtain a reduced sentence

Again, representing yourself in a first offense DUI might not end in your favor. An experienced Manchester DUI attorney can help you obtain a reduced sentence without plea bargaining. Judges see so many DUI cases that they likely impose the same sentence for all first-time offenders without looking clearly at each case. Your attorney will likely know what legal factors go into convincing a judge to issue you a reduced sentence.

Aggravating factors in a DUI first offense case

Almost all first-time DUI offenses are charged as misdemeanors; however, there are aggravating factors that can turn a first-time DUI offense into a felony charge. Those factors include the following:

  • You were involved in an accident that led to injuries
  • You were under the influence while a child was in the vehicle with you

These are serious issues that could land you in jail for more than a year along with stiff fines. You could also lose your driver’s license for more than one year. This is a situation where an attorney would have a greater chance of lowering your sentence than if you represented yourself.

It is not impossible to represent yourself in court when negotiating a plea bargain or sentence, but your chances of succeeding improve when you are represented by an experienced lawyer. Call the office of Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC, at 860-649-4400 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. We represent clients facing DUI charges in Hartford, Manchester, and the surrounding areas.