The Loophole in DUI Laws in the State of CT

I know I said I wasn’t going to post anymore about the DUI driver who completely totaled our car last week to the tune of over $7500. Our insurance adjuster actually told us what he could actually see that needed to be fixed on the car was actually $7800, but the value of the car was only $7500. The speed limit on my street is 25 miles per hour. There is a stop sign that he had to have blown through just one house up from our house to hit the car, push it up on the curb and do over $8000 worth of damage to the car. He set off his own airbags which you have to be going at speeds of at least 35 mph. He had to be well exceeding that. And that’s part of what has me so mad.

This isn’t his first arrest for DUI though. Three years ago when he was just 18 he was arrested for DUI. And here’s where I get very irate, and this is at our judicial system. We went to court yesterday and spoke to a victims advocate to see what we could do here. She explained that we cannot get restitution because that would be only for any out of pocket expenses we incurred like if we weren’t going to get our deductible back or if there were medical injuries. Our lost wages mean nothing in the eyes of the law and making this kid pay for his crime. The real kicker of all of this is that there is a program that they offer to offenders that basically gives them a free pass for a first offense. As a matter of fact, for 10 years after a first offense. When this kid was arrested for the same thing in 2013 he ended up with no record. He took some drug and alcohol class, did a little community service, kept his nose clean for probably 2 years and then was free in the eyes of the law. It was like his first offense never happened. Which means that this is considered his first offense and it means that what he’s facing is a 6 month suspended sentence, either 48 hours in jail or 100 hours of community service, and 18 months probation. He will have to go to a drug and alcohol treatment program and listen to a 1 person victim impact statement and pay a $500 fine. He caused over $8000 of damage to us alone, to the city he caused who knows how much damage to fix the fire hydrant he hit, and he put our entire neighborhood in danger by hitting that fire hydrant and putting it out of commission for nearly a week until the city fixed it.

Okay, yes, this is on his record. His license should be suspended for 1 year. Perhaps he’ll have to put one of those breathalyzer devices in his car to prevent him from starting his car if he’s drunk. However, if they viewed this as it truly his, his 2nd offense then he would be facing 120 days in jail. What I want to know is why is the state of CT allowing someone who potentially could have killed someone the opportunity to have no record and a free pass on a first offense? I get that people make mistakes and should be given the opportunity to make it right. And yes, he was a young 18 year old kid whose brain is not fully developed the first time he did this. But given the nature of his crime he should have had to face the consequences back then. Maybe then he wouldn’t have done this to us if he had. He could have killed someone that night. I would imagine this is something he does quite frequently actually. It just so happened that this was the night he got caught and this was the night that he changed everything for us.

Driving while under the influence is a serious crime which has serious impact on people. So why are we coddling these people? Why are we giving them an opportunity to not have something on their record? Why are they not being forced to answer to people they have harmed? Honestly, I don’t even care if he pays us everything we’re out because of this. I just want him to be beholden to us for something. For him to realize that his actions have consequences and they go well beyond his own little world. Yes, we could sue him civilly and probably even get punitive damages, but there’s nothing much that will force him to pay and we’ll be out even more money at the end of the day. You almost have to sustain physical injury to get something. If we had sustained an injury then the judge would make him pay restitution. However, damaging property to the tune of over $8000 while being reckless you get a slap on the wrist.

This kid has another thing coming if he thinks that we will not be making sure he does do some jail time, even if it is only the 48 hours. Maybe that’s the wake-up call he needs, but truth be told I think it’s going to take a lot more. He will have to listen to what I have to say because I will be given the chance to write and read a victim impact statement. I doubt what I have to say will get through to him, but this is all I have right now since the state of CT cares more about making sure that the perpetrator of potentially deadly crimes gets a freebie than protecting the innocent people who were just relaxing on a Saturday evening inside their home. Something has got to change. These concessions being made to potential murders is not right. It scares me to be out there not knowing who else is out there with a free pass, it’s scary knowing that my oldest is about to get her driver’s license and is going to be out there driving along side someone who got a free pass. More of our time is now being taken up and consumed by this for who knows how long and at the end of the day justice is not being served.

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