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Bill requires those charged with DUI to install ignition locks

A bill, which could have far-reaching effects on those charged with drunk driving, is currently waiting to be signed by the Connecticut governor. Connecticut already requires those convicted of drunk driving to have ignition locks installed on their cars, but this bill would also require the locks for those charged.

First-time offenders in Connecticut are currently able to participate in a diversion program, without having to be convicted first, and in some cases, those who are convicted of drunk driving can have their records expunged once they have met certain conditions. This is a fairly common occurrence in other states as well.

Once the bill is signed, however, all first-time offenders will have to have an ignition interlock device on their cars that tests their blood-alcohol levels before allowing the car to be started. Those charged would also be responsible for the cost of installing the locks. The well-known group Mothers Against Drunk Driving claims that the ignition locks have a higher efficiency rate for preventing people from drinking and driving than simply revoking a person's driver's license.

Because this bill affects both those who are convicted of drunk driving and those who are only charged with a DUI offense, it is likely to have a significant impact on criminal defense strategies for those accused of drunk driving. Other factors, such as whether a person has prior convictions, also come into play, but it is important for defendants to understand all possible options, like the alcohol education programs, as they work through their cases.

Source: WWLP, "Connecticut new drunk driving bill" No author given, May. 25, 2014

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