Court Denies Bail to Repeated DUI Offender

In a recent criminal law matter, a Superior Court of Connecticut considered a defendant’s motion to be released on bond pending the appeal of his conviction of three counts of operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence (OMVUI) of alcohol.

In this case, the defendant was a self-described victim of the disease of alcoholism, and was first convicted of OMVUI on December 15, 2008. Less than a month later, the defendant was involved in accidents where his blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded 0.23, and he was again charged and convicted of an additional two counts of DUI. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant was sentenced on all three counts, one as a first-time offender, and two as second-time. On January 20, 2009, the defendant filed a motion to vacate, arguing he should have been charged and sentenced as a first-time offender on all three counts, but this motion was denied. The defendant then filed a motion to be released on bond pending his appeal.

Under Connecticut law, there is no constitutional or statutory right to bail. It is subject to the broad discretion of the trial court, and is “rarely allowed when the crime is serious.” Our legislature has characterized OMVUI as a serious offense, as evidenced by increased penalties including mandatory minimum sentences and fines. In this case, the defendant repeatedly operated his car while under the influence with extremely high BACs. “To release the defendant on bail would place the general public at risk of harm from the defendant.” In addition, because the defendant failed to appear in court, custody was necessary to provide “reasonable assurance” that he would appear for his court date. Therefore, the defendant’s motion for release on bond was denied.

When faced with a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (a.k.a. driving under the influence), an individual is best served by consulting with an experienced criminal law practitioner. Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.