If you’ve been arrested for a Connecticut DWI for the first time, although you always have the right to force the state to prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt, you should consider Connecticut’s Alcohol Education Program.
The Alcohol Education Program, (AEP), is a privilege created by statute. It says that if you haven’t been convicted of DWI and you haven’t used the Alcohol Education Program within ten years before your current arrest, your prosecution can be stopped, or diverted. If you do everything that’s asked of you by the court, your case ultimately is dismissed.
Here’s how the AEP works.
The AEP application process requires at least two court appearances.
On the first court date during the AEP process, you apply for the privilege by completing an application and submitting it to a judge. You state in open court that you haven’t used the program in the previous ten years and that you haven’t been convicted of DWI or a serious motor vehicle offense in Connecticut or any other State.
You agree to pay the application and evaluation fees, which currently come to $200.00, and any program fee which currently is $350.00 for ten AEP classes and $500.00 for 15 AEP classes.
You agree to give the State more time to prosecute you, (sometimes referred to as waiving the statute of limitations), if you fail to complete the AEP program.
You pay your application fee in the clerk’s office.
You go to the Bail Commissioner’s office where they take some information about you, copy your police report and provide you with instructions about your evaluation that has to take place between your first court date and the court date when the judge decides whether to grant you the AEP.
You receive a letter from the evaluating agency informing you of your evaluation date and time.
You attend the evaluation and answer a series of questions about some of your habits, your routines, and your incident.
On the follow-up court appearance when you ask the judge to grant you the privilege of the AEP, the judge will consider the allegations in your case and decide whether to grant you the Application. More about this later on.
If you are granted the program, the judge will also require you to attend at least one Mothers Against Drunk Driving, (MADD), Victim Impact Panel.
‘The Connecticut AEP will be either 10 classes, 15 classes or what is called the “third tier”; that’s an intensive outpatient counseling program.
After being granted the AEP, you will return to the clerk’s office to pay your program fee. From there, you’ll return to the Bail Commissioner’s Office where you will receive instructions about where and when your program will be held.
What are some factors that will either hinder or help your application for the Alcohol Education Program?
Accidents with injuries will potentially affect whether you will receive the AEP privilege. The more serious the injuries, the more difficult it may be to be granted the AEP.
Also, other charges associated with your arrest will aggravate your ability to win an AEP. We often see drug possession, including prescription drugs out of their containers, weapons possession, which can be as seemingly harmless as tools used in construction or other trades, and charges related to having children in your car. Any of those additional charges may give a judge pause about whether to grant the AEP.
In order to improve your chances of receiving the AEP, or even receiving ten AEP classes rather than 15, you should enter into private counseling immediately. It is very important to demonstrate to the court that you are taking the incident seriously, as well as taking your health and the safety of others seriously. Counseling will not only help you but help your case.
If you do everything that is required of you for the AEP, one year from the date that the judge granted you the program, your case will be dismissed. That means that it will be erased.
If you’ve been arrested for a Connecticut first-time DWI, make sure that your law firm has real experience defending DWI’s and can advise you whether you have a case that you can potentially win at trial, or whether you should apply for the AEP. Make sure also that your Firm truly advocates for you and is able to master your story and background.
The Maddox Law Firm has defending Connecticut DWI cases for 28 years. We protect, advocate and defend. Call us today.