Getting arrested for DWI in Fairfield can be a scary and overwhelming experience. As a Fairfield resident, you probably have a ton of questions about what happens next. Will I lose my license? Do I need a lawyer? What kinds of penalties could I face?
This article will walk you through the basics of Fairfield DWI cases—from arrest to sentencing—and provide tips on finding the right DWI lawyer in Fairfield to represent you.
What Happens After a DWI Arrest in Fairfield?
If you are arrested for DWI in Fairfield, here are the typical next steps:
- You’ll be transported to the police station and asked to undergo a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine) to check your blood alcohol content (BAC). This test is mandatory under Connecticut’s implied consent law.
- If you refuse the chemical test, your license will be automatically suspended for 6 months (for a first offense).
- If you take the test and fail with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, your license will also be suspended, typically for 45 days.
- You’ll be fingerprinted, photographed, and held until sober enough for release.
- Within 10 days, you must appear at Connecticut DMV headquarters for a hearing on your license suspension. This hearing gives you a chance to contest the suspension.
- You’ll be given a date to appear in Fairfield Superior Court to face criminal DWI charges.
- Your car will also be impounded for a minimum of 12 hours if you failed a chemical test.
As you can see, a DWI arrest initiates both DMV administrative processes as well as criminal court procedures. Let’s take a closer look at what happens in criminal court next.
Potential Penalties for a Fairfield DWI Conviction
Connecticut has strict mandatory minimum penalties for DWI convictions. Here is an overview of potential fines and sentences:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- $500-1000 fine plus surcharges
- License suspension for 45 days
- Alcohol education program
- Ignition interlock device required
- Up to 2 years in jail
- $1000-4000 fine plus surcharges
- License suspension for 3 years
- Alcohol treatment program
- Permanent ignition interlock requirement
- Up to 3 years in jail
- $2000-8000 fine plus surcharges
- Indefinite license suspension (minimum 3 years)
- Alcohol dependency treatment
- Vehicle forfeiture
As you can see, penalties escalate sharply for repeat offenders. There are also enhanced penalties if your BAC was extremely high or if there was a minor in the vehicle.
Because the stakes are so high, it’s critical to have an experienced DWI lawyer on your side to negotiate the best possible outcome. Let’s look at how to find the right one.
Choosing the Right Fairfield DWI Lawyer for Your Case
A skilled DWI attorney can make all the difference in how your case plays out. Here are tips on finding the best lawyer for your situation:
- Look for attorneys who specialize in DWI defense, not general practitioners. Handling these complex cases takes particular knowledge and experience.
- Make sure they have experience specifically defending DWIs in Fairfield. Local knowledge is invaluable.
- Ask about their process for defending DWI cases. Do they take an aggressive or conservative approach? What kinds of plea deals do they typically negotiate?
- Look for lawyers with a proven track record of getting charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial. This saves you stress and money.
- Understand the lawyer’s fees upfront. Some charge flat rates while others bill hourly. Get fee estimates in writing.
- Consider lawyers who offer free consultations, so you can get professional advice at no risk.
- Read online reviews to see what past clients say about the attorney’s responsiveness, communication style and results.
The Fairfield DWI lawyers at Smith, Jones & Associates check all these boxes. Led by veteran DWI defense attorney Jane Smith, they specialize in these complex cases and take an aggressive approach to protecting clients’ rights. Schedule a free case evaluation today to discuss your options.
Alternatives to Jail Time for Fairfield DWIs
For first or second time offenders, alternatives to jail may be possible, such as:
- Pretrial diversion programs like Alcohol Education Program (AEP), which involves classes and suspension of license instead of jail.
- Probation with strict conditions like alcohol counseling and ignition interlock device.
- Community service hours.
- Work release programs so you can still commute to your job.
Jail alternatives allow first time offenders to avoid the stigma of incarceration and get back on the right track. An attorney can advise if you qualify.
The Bottom Line
Being charged with a DWI in Fairfield is scary, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. With an experienced DWI lawyer guiding you through the complex legal processes, handling negotiations, and advocating aggressively in court, you have the best chance of a favorable outcome. Don’t leave your fate to chance—schedule a consultation today to learn about your defense options.