Legal Guide

Alcohol Education Program in Connecticut Replaced by IDIP

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense throughout the United States, and for good reason; it kills approximately 32 people daily. Like most states, Connecticut has a 0.08 percent BAC level limit for drivers above 21 and 0.01 percent BAC for younger drivers. 

After a DUI conviction in Connecticut, an offender may be looking at a few days to several months in jail, hefty fines, and loss of driving privileges. But the Connecticut justice system, like in other states, recognizes that everyone can make a mistake, so it is a little lenient with first-time offenders by offering a diversionary program. 

Historically, the Alcohol Education Program was the diversionary program applied to first-time offenders, but it has since been replaced by Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP). This program allows arrestees to avoid getting a criminal record by taking the alternative route of drunk driving classes offered by the state. 

While you do not get a criminal record on the public database, law enforcement will look at your acceptance of the program as an admission of guilt. So before accepting the program, it is important to understand how it will impact consecutive arrests. 

Who Is Eligible?

This program applies to all first-time DUIs - including when having a minor in a car or driving a school bus - and DUIs for offenders under 21 years old. The diversionary justice also applies to first-time offenders for boating while intoxicated and reckless boating while intoxicated. 

“People with prior DUI or vehicular manslaughter convictions or who have a record of using the program or its predecessor, the AEP, within the last ten years may not be eligible for this program. CDL license holders or people that cause grievous harm due to intoxication are also ineligible, unless they can show good cause for justifying an exception,” says Attorney Mark Sherman of The Law Offices of Mark Sherman, LLC.  

Applying for IDIP

Getting into IDIP is voluntary, with the offender initiating the process by filling out Form JD-CR-189. The applicant then submits the form to the court, which schedules a hearing where the applicant appears before a judge to demonstrate why they should be accepted into the program. 

If the applicant's actions harmed other parties, they will be notified of the application and allowed to raise their objection. If the application is accepted, the applicant pays a $250 application fee and is assigned a Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services employee to direct them in the program, which involves taking several classes. 

Fulfilling the Terms of IDIP

A typical IDIP program consists of 12 lessons spread across 12 months, meaning applicants must spend one year in the program. To complete the program, the participants must attend all twelve sessions and meet all the conditions set by the court when granting their application. 

Typical conditions set by the court may include paying restitution to persons that suffered harm because of their actions, community service, payment of additional fees where applicable, and participating in counseling. When a participant completes the program successfully, the initial DUI charge is dropped, and the offense is struck off their record. 

On the other hand, failure to complete the program results in reopening the case, where the offender gets criminal penalties that align with the circumstances surrounding their arrest. Your lawyer can help you reapply for the program since it has a two time limit, but the court may not look at a second application kindly unless there are understandable reasons to justify failing the first time.

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