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Connecticut DUI attorney for chemical testsIn Connecticut, you may face charges of driving under the influence (DUI) if you operate a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol or if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher. If you are arrested for DUI, you will be asked to perform a chemical test to determine your BAC, and this may be either a blood, breath, or urine test. Though chemical breath tests are most commonly used to determine BAC, other methods may be more accurate, and it is not unheard of to be asked to provide a blood sample.

Requirements for Using Chemical Tests as Evidence

The point of collecting a sample of a suspect’s blood, breath or urine is to have hard evidence of the amount of alcohol or drugs in the person’s system at the time of the arrest. This evidence may be used to demonstrate that a driver was intoxicated, but in order for the evidence to be admissible in Connecticut courts, there are six requirements that must be met:

  1. The defendant consented to the chemical test and was permitted to call an attorney before the test was administered;
  2. The results of the test were given to the defendant within 24 hours after the results were known;
  3. The test was administered according to regulations set forth by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection;
  4. The device used for the test was checked to ensure its accuracy prior to the test;
  5. Another chemical test of the same type was conducted at least 30 minutes after the first test, or a chemical test of a different type was conducted at the direction of a police officer to check for a drug other than or in addition to alcohol; and
  6. Evidence shows that the test was started within two hours of the defendant’s operation of the vehicle.

Blood Test Requirements

In addition to specific requirements for any chemical test to be admissible, there are also certain rules and regulations that must be followed when performing a blood test to be used as evidence in court. Police officers are not permitted to draw blood from a defendant; for results to be admissible in court, blood must be drawn by a person who is licensed to practice medicine, a phlebotomist, a laboratory technician, an emergency medical technician, or a registered nurse. A sterile syringe and hypodermic needle must be used during the blood collection, and the defendant’s skin must not be cleaned using anything containing ethyl alcohol. The containers and equipment used for the collection must be able to preserve the integrity and suitability of the blood samples, and each container must be properly sealed and labeled immediately after collection.

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Hartford DUI defense attorney marijuana impairmentThe United States has a long and complicated history with cannabis. Back in colonial times, hemp -- which is a non-intoxicating strain of the cannabis plant -- was a very important crop for early settlers. Virginia even passed a law in 1619 requiring every farm in the colony to grow hemp. By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed and effectively banned the sale and use of marijuana, though the act was replaced by the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s.

Now that 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, the prevalence of marijuana-related DUI is of concern to lawmakers across the country. In the state of Connecticut, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational marijuana is not legal -- yet.

Current Connecticut Marijuana DUI Laws

Like most states, Connecticut’s laws concerning DUI mostly refer to alcohol, but they do mention drugs as well. According to Connecticut law, operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating drug is illegal. Penalties for a drug DUI can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case. For a basic DUI charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, a conviction can get you up to a six-month jail sentence, $500 to $1,000 in fines, and a 45-day driver’s license suspension, with the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed in the driver’s vehicle for one year after the conviction.

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police body camera, Connecticut DUI lawyersIn BaltimoreFerguson, MO and elsewhere, police shootings of civilians have attorneys and the general public calling for cops to be required to wear body cameras at all times. Body cameras should be implemented in order to record the actual events of confrontations with those they are bound to protect and serve. In Connecticut, there is a bill pending that would establish a body camera pilot program in three police departments of varying sizes.

This program is of particular interest to Connecticut DUI defense attorneys for several reasons. In virtually every DUI arrest, the accused is asked to submit to a series of “field sobriety tests,” that is, to do things the police have been taught are indicators of whether someone is or is not under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. In many cases, the officer testifies in court that the accused either failed the field sobriety tests or performed them in such a manner to give him probable cause to believe that he was intoxicated.

The body camera requirement would certainly shed a light on the truth about field sobriety tests: that passage or failure of these “standardized” field sobriety tests are subject to interpretation, misapplication, and misinterpretation. Body cameras would allow a judge or jury to see for themselves and make the determination on their own. This could help experienced DUI defense lawyers argue against probable cause for an arrest and help in the guilt phase of a jury trial.

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Posted by on in DUI

dui penalties in Connecticut, Hartford DUI defense lawyerIn an effort to crack down on drunk driving, many states have recently enacted statutes that mete out severe penalties and consequences for those convicted of DUI or a DUI-related offense. Even first-time offenders can easily find themselves facing serious criminal and administrative penalties. For example, the simple act of refusing to submit to a breath test can be punished. In these circumstances, an experienced Connecticut DUI defense attorney is needed to assure you receive the best possible outcome.

Penalties for DUI in Connecticut

Connecticut’s DUI penalties (like those in other states) are meant to deter individuals from driving under the influence. To accomplish this goal, a system of mandatory jail sentences and minimum fines, coupled with mandatory driver’s license suspension periods, is utilized.

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Posted by on in DUI

DUI field sobriety test, Connecticut criminal law lawyerDriving under the influence (DUI) is illegal throughout the United States. Due to the potential consequences of drunk driving, DUI penalties generally tend to be serious, even for first time offenders. DUI arrests and convictions also tend to be very expensive in an effort to deter drivers from driving drunk or buzzed. Penalties for DUI often include high fines, and if the driver loses his or her license, it may affect employment opportunities or interfere with existing work responsibilities. A DUI conviction could also lead to higher insurance premiums.

Connecticut Law on Drunk Driving

The Connecticut law on drunk driving prohibits drivers from driving after drinking beyond a certain level, taking drugs, or after having used a combination of both drugs and alcohol. In addition, a person can be arrested for DUI if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or 0.04 for commercial drivers. Police officers use chemical and standard field sobriety tests to confirm the presence of drugs or alcohol, and to determine a driver’s level of intoxication.

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