DUI First Offense

Faqs » DUI First Offense

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Question: 
I’ve been arrested for DWI. It’s my first time, and I’m wondering if I really need an attorney. If I do hire a lawyer, what is it going to cost?
Answer: 

If you have no prior record of arrest for DWI, (anywhere), then you are eligible in Connecticut for what is known as the Alcohol Education Program, (AEP).  Generally, that program is going to cost you either $550 or $700 at the Courthouse. As long as there is no accident involved, and no one has been injured, you can go to court on your own, and the Prosecutor will point you in the right direction. You will EVENTUALLY be granted the AEP, and you can earn a dismissal of the charge by attending classes, going to a MADD Victim Impact Panel and staying out of any further trouble for a year. This does NOT however address the issue of your loss of license at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the issues involved in obtaining a work/education permit.  An experienced attorney will be able to not only get you through your appearances at the Courthouse in a much timely fashion,but will also be able to conduct a hearing at the DMV where you MAY be able to save your driving privileges, and avoid having an alcohol related suspension go against your license. Procedurally, you are NOT going to be able to handle the DMV hearing on your own. Most practicing lawyers don’t know what to look for in the police reports, and what evidence the various hearing officers will be willing to consider in arguing for a license restoration.  At Soulsby & Levin, we handle as many as fifty hearings a year before the Per Se Unit at the DMV.  While there are never any guaranties, we have one of the best records on license restoration of any firm in Connecticut.  Defense lawyers in today’s economy will charge anywhere between $500 and $2,500 to take on a first-time DWI.  To know whether you are spending your money wisely, ask your attorney about his or her experience before the Per Se Unit, and what their track record on license restoration has been.  At Soulsby & Levin, we generally charge $1,500 for this work.  This fee can change depending on the circumstances of your particular arrest, (accident, roadblock, etc.), but that is our standard fee for a true first offense.