When facing a DUI charge, the consequences associated with a conviction can be rather frightening, especially to a first-time offender. No one wants to go to jail, no one wants to pay insane fines, and no one wants to lose their driving privileges; however, all of these are possible penalties if you ultimately receive a conviction. There is a program available in Connecticut for some DUI offenders that may help them avoid significant consequences. It is the AE program. Who is it for and what is its purpose?
The Alcohol Education program is an alternative to criminal trial. The state understands that not all DUI offenders need or will benefit from jail time. Some people would benefit from rehabilitation, and that is what the AE program offers.
The AE program is typically meant for first-time, non-violent offenders. In other words, people accused of driving under the influence but who have not harmed anyone as a result of their actions. This does not mean that a person accused of a DUI-related crash that resulted in injury or death cannot apply for the program; he or she can, but the victim, or -- in event of fatality -- the victim's surviving family members, will get to voice their opinion on the matter, which could result in application rejection.
Anyone interested in joining the AE program in an effort to avoid trial for their DUI charge will need to:
- Fill out the appropriate application
- Pay the application fee
- Pay the evaluation fee
- Pay the program fee
In total, the cost to pursue the AE program ranges from $550 to $700, depending on which program you get into. There is a 10-week course and a 15-week course. The court may waive the cost if you do not have the ability to pay. In order to successfully complete the AE program, you must attend all sessions and fully participate. Failure to do so will result in your case moving to criminal court for prosecution.
The AE program has helped keep numerous Connecticut residents out of jail, allowing them to get the substance abuse intervention that they need. It is a great alternative to taking a case to trial, particularly if your case looks like it may fall apart in criminal court. If you are facing a DUI charge and think the AE program may best serve your interests, it is certainly something worth talking to your legal counsel about.