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Operating Under Suspension

Operating Under Suspension Arrests In Connecticut

Losing your license in Connecticut as a result of a DUI / DWI, reckless driving, or any other serious traffic offense can be a serious inconvenience. However, it is nowhere near the hassle, stress and penalties associated with being arrested in Darien, Norwalk, Greenwich or Stamford for driving with a suspended license in Connecticut, otherwise known as Operating under Suspension under Connecticut General Statutes § 14-215. As the best Stamford and Greenwich criminal lawyers and attorneys will tell you, the penalties for Operating under Suspension (also called “OUS”) include extensive fines and prison time, and is frequently charged and prosecuted in Connecticut. And to make matters more challenging for you, resolving your Operating under Suspension (OUS) arrest requires a comprehensive plan of attack by your top Stamford Connecticut DMV and traffic lawyer, as you will likely need to navigate your way through the Connecticut criminal court system, as well as the snake pit known as the Connecticut DMV. So if you have been arrested in Darien, Norwalk, Greenwich, Wilton, or Stamford for 14-215 Operating under Suspension, then you should call a top Stamford criminal lawyer right away to try and resolve your DMV driver’s license issues, get your criminal Operating under Suspension charges dismissed, and put you back on the roads as soon as possible.

The Various Subdivisions of Operating under Suspension under CGS 14-215

Operating a motor vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked is specifically defined in three different sections of Connecticut’s traffic laws: Connecticut General Statutes §§ 14-215, 14-215a, and 14-215b. These sections cover a variety of suspension scenarios, and carry different penalties depending on 2 key factors: (1) the underlying reason your license was suspended (ie. not paying a speeding ticket, DWI / DUI arrest, reckless driving conviction, etc.), and (2) whether you are a repeat OUS offender.

Under the law of CGS 14-215, you can be arrested for Operating under Suspension in Stamford, Norwalk or New Canaan if your license has been suspended due to a conviction in Connecticut court for Reckless Driving or Evading Responsibility, misdemeanor crimes in Connecticut which will automatically trigger a suspension or your Connecticut driver’s license. Other reasons for a 14-215 suspension would be failing to pay child support, pleading guilty in Connecticut to Possession of Alcohol by a minor under CGS 30-89, or failing to insure or register your motor vehicle.

CGS 14-215a is a separate subsection that punishes individuals who are caught driving while serving a CGS 14-140 suspension. These are suspensions that don’t result from a Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest-related or conviction-related suspension. Rather, these 14-140 suspensions arise from repeat offender traffic violation / speeding ticket convictions and guilty pleas, failure to pay speeding tickets, or failure to show up for Connecticut traffic court to answer a motor vehicle infraction of violation. Ignorance of your suspension is not an excuse and does not necessarily get you off the hook. While it may be a persuasive talking point for your top Stamford speeding ticket attorney lawyer, failure to receive proper notice of your Connecticut driver’s license suspension is not a technical defense permitted by Connecticut statute.

CGS 14-215b is perhaps the least serious Connecticut Operating under Suspension charge. It applies if you are caught driving without a valid license after the expiration of your suspension period, but you failed or forgot to formally restore your license by working with DMV to fulfill all of your license restoration obligations. While under limited circumstances, you can receive a jail sentence for violating CGS 14-215b, the punishment for a CGS 14-215b usually results in fines.

The Most Serious OUS Arrest – Operating a Motor Vehicle while under Suspension for DUI / DWI

It is worth discussing subsection (c) of 14-215 on its own—as it is the most serious law of the bunch, as well as one of the most feared and frequently charged crimes in Connecticut DUI / DWI motor vehicle law. The best New Canaan, Wilton, Greenwich and Stamford DUI / DWI criminal lawyers have all observed that Connecticut law severely punishes individuals who operate a motor vehicle after having their license suspended because of a DUI / DWI. Under CGS § 14-215(c), if you are caught driving while your license is suspended or revoked in connection with a Connecticut DUI / DWI arrest (or even an out-of-state DUI / DWI arrest), you can be found guilty of 14-215(c) which carries a very strict 30-day mandatory minimum jail sentence for first-time offenders. CGS § 14-215(c) also makes it illegal for you to disobey a restriction or condition placed on your right to drive by the DMV—such as the requirement of using an ignition interlock device (“IID”), participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program, not adhering to time schedule limitations in your DUI / DWI work permit, or other driving restrictions ordered in relation to a medical necessity. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles must provide you with written notice of any limitations or restrictions placed upon your license. Any violation of the terms of the restrictions may result in an arrest in Stamford or Darien for Operating with a Suspended License under CGS § 14-215(c). So the bottom line is if your Connecticut license is suspended as a result of a DUI / DWI, you must be extremely vigilant about not driving without a valid license or work permit.

Penalties for 14-215 Operating under Suspension

The penalties for the various subdivisions of CGS 14-215 Operating under Suspension primarily depend on the underlying reason for your suspension. Your violation of a DUI / DWI suspension is punished much more severely than a violation of a suspension for an unpaid speeding ticket or traffic violation. As a result, before you plead guilty to an Operating under Suspension arrest in Stamford, Norwalk, New Canaan, or Darien, you should consult a top Connecticut criminal lawyer to understand exactly which subdivision applies, and what maximum penalties you are facing if you plead guilty. A brief summary of the penalties is listed below; however, it is always advisable to consult a top Stamford criminal attorney for the precise penalties that fit your specific charges and your Connecticut Operating under Suspension arrest.

Penalties for Operating under Suspension under CGS 14-215(a)

Persons guilty of operating a motor vehicle with a suspension for failure to adhere to traffic regulations, failure to pay tickets, or reckless driving face the following penalties:

  • First Offense for CGS § 14-215(a) – A fine between $150 and $200 and a term of imprisonment for less than 3 months.

  • Second Offense for CGS § 14-215(a) – Each subsequent violation of CGS § 14-215(a) results in stiffer penalties. A second guilty conviction carries a fine of $150-$500 or 100 hours of community service. Second time offenders face a maximum prison term of one year.

  • Third or Subsequent Offenses for CGS §14-215(a) – For third and subsequent convictions of Operating under Suspension under 14-215(a), you can be sentenced to a one-year jail sentence which carries a 90-day mandatory minimum, which cannot be reduced or suspended by a judge. A third or subsequent offense also carries a $200 - $600 fine depending on the severity of your actions.
Penalties for DUI / DWI-related Operating under Suspension – CGS 14-215(c)

The penalties associated with being arrested in Stamford for Operating under a Suspension arising from a DUI / DWI arrest are much more severe. Police, prosecutors and Connecticut criminal court judges are usually very offended when you are caught driving after your license has been suspended in connection with a DUI / DWI arrest in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, or Westport. And as you can see from the sentence enhancements below, the penalties exponentially increase for repeat OUS offenders.

  • First Offense for CGS § 14-215(c) – Fines range from $500 to $1000. More importantly, a maximum one-year prison term can be imposed with a minimum 30 day mandatory jail sentence which cannot be reduced or suspended in any way, unless your top Stamford criminal lawyer can convince the court of special “mitigating circumstances” that would persuade the judge to impose a more lenient jail sentence, or no jail sentence at all.

  • Second Offense for CGS § 14-215(c) – A second conviction of Operating under Suspension carries a maximum 2 year prison sentence, with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 consecutive days unless your top Greenwich criminal lawyer attorney can persuade the court to come off the mandatory sentence by showing the court mitigating circumstances. Individuals also face a fine of anywhere between $500 and $1000.

  • Third or Subsequent Offenses for CGS § 14-215(c) – Finally, a third or subsequent conviction for 14-215(c) can result in a three-year prison sentence, one year which cannot be reduced or suspended unless your top Connecticut criminal lawyer can persuade a judge to impose a lesser sentence with mitigating circumstances. Fines still range from $500 to $1000 but with risk of receiving a 1 year mandatory minimum jail sentence, it is critical that you try and have one of the best Stamford criminal lawyers by your side in fighting your 14-215 Operating under Suspension DUI / DWI charges.
Penalties for Operating under Suspension for CGS 14-215b Arrests

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of Operating under Suspension under 14-215b, this means that you were operating your motor vehicle after the expiration of your suspension period, but you failed to properly restore your license. If you are caught driving during the first 60 days after the suspension period has expired, then you usually pay a small fine. If you fail to get restored after 60 days are caught driving, however, you face fines between $75 and $350, community service, and up to 90 days in jail, all depending on how many prior 14-215b convictions you have in your driving record.

Fighting Your Stamford Connecticut 14-215 Operating under Suspension Charges

As we mention above, Connecticut prosecutors will sometimes aggressively prosecute CGS § 14-215 OUS charges, especially when you are suspended in connection with a DUI / DWI arrest. The 30-day mandatory minimum jail sentence is severe, and Norwalk and Stamford prosecutors rarely drop these charges. Therefore it is important you have a top Stamford criminal DUI / DWI traffic attorney to help you fight your 14-215 Operating under Suspension arrest in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and Norwalk. Some defense strategies closely examine whether you were provided adequate notice of your suspension. Were you properly notified of your suspension? Did the DMV have your correct address? Were you permitted to drive pursuant to work permit or school permit when you were arrested for OUS? Do the police have proof you were actually operating the motor vehicle? Were you properly advised of your “Miranda” rights prior to the police interviewing you and taking down your statements? All of these questions come into play in assessing the strength of your defense to a 14-215 OUS arrest.

Additionally, when you are facing stiff jail and fine penalties in the wake of a 14-215(c) OUS arrest that requires a 30 day mandatory minimum jail sentence, Connecticut law allows your top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer to argue for “mitigating circumstances”—better known as leniency—to convince the judge to come off the mandatory minimum jail sentence. Judges are very open to leniency arguments that may convince them not to impose jail sentences, and instead, sentence you with probation. These circumstances include personal and professional considerations, such as physical or mental health ailments, family and child care considerations, past charitable efforts of yours, and anything else that could persuade a judge to grant you leniency and not sentence you to 30 days of jail. Additionally, courts will sometimes consider granting applications for the Pre-Trial Accelerated Rehabilitation Program (the “AR Program”) for first time offenders arrested in Stamford for 14-215 Operating under Suspension. While not often granted, the AR Program is certainly an option for you and your top Stamford Connecticut criminal attorney to discuss.

My DMV Suspension Is Almost Over…How Do I Get My License Restored?

It is important that you begin the process of getting your Connecticut driver’s license restored before your suspension expires. This ensures that you will be permitted to drive at 12:01am on the day you are first eligible to drive. Remember you are NOT permitted to drive unless you have received a Restoration Notice from the DMV. In fact, if you operate a motor vehicle before receiving your restoration certificate from the DMV, you can be arrested in Stamford, Norwalk, or Greenwich for Operating under Suspension. There is a $175 fee that must be paid directly to the DMV. For more information on how to get your license restoration notice as quickly as possible, visit this page on the Connecticut DMV website or call a Connecticut DMV traffic lawyer who will help you through this process.

How Do I Fight My Operating under Suspension Arrest If I Have Illegal Immigration Status?

This is a very difficult and sensitive question. The criminal court process is not allowed to discriminate against anyone for having illegal status or being an illegal alien. And while this judicial mandate is well-intentioned and in earnest, top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers will remind you that an illegal immigrant is not able to restore a license if they do not have legal status. So if an immigrant was fortunate enough to qualify for a license when they had legal status, it is virtually impossible for them to renew a license if they have overstayed their visa and are now living in Connecticut illegally. Therefore, fighting your Bridgeport, Norwalk or Stamford 14-215 Operating under Suspension arrest as an illegal immigrant can be particularly tricky. Know, however, that the best criminal lawyers in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan will do their best to carefully advise you on how to proceed with your case. In the best case scenario, your 14-215 Operating under Suspension arrest will be dismissed and you can avoid a deportation proceeding being triggered by a court-ordered incarceration. So be sure to discuss all of your options with your top Stamford criminal lawyer, as well as a top Connecticut immigration lawyer, to learn if and how they can protect you from potential immigration problems, such as the commencement of federal deportation proceedings or the ordering of an immigration detainer placed on you while you are awaiting trial of your 14-215 Connecticut Operating under Suspension arrest.

DMV Driver’s License Consequences of a 14-215 Operating under Suspension Arrest

If you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial of an 14-215 Operating under Suspension charge, you can receive another DMV license suspension on top of the old suspension as a result of the guilty plea. The duration of the new suspension depends on your individual driving history, the underlying allegations against you, and the specific Operating under Suspension subdivision with which you are charged. For example, if you have a Commercial Driver’s License (a “CDL”), then you may be at risk of a permanent revocation of your CDL license, even if you were driving a passenger vehicle at the time you were arrested in Stamford Connecticut for Operating under Suspension. And keep in mind these are just penalties issued by DMV, not the criminal courts, which are detailed above. With so many moving parts to an Operating under Suspension 14-215 arrest in Stamford, Greenwich or Norwalk, it’s important to hire a top Stamford traffic lawyer to handle both the criminal court process, as well as the DMV process so that your entire case can get resolved as quickly as possible.

Insurance & Employment Background Check Consequences of a 14-215 Operating under Suspension Arrest

Some of the most significant and frustrating consequences of a Stamford 14-215 Operating under Suspension arrest in Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury or Greenwich are the repercussions a guilty plea to 14-215 Operating under Suspension can have on your auto insurance and any future background check by an employer, lender or landlord. Car insurance companies annually run background checks on your DMV driving history. Thus, a conviction for 14-215 Operating under Suspension, and any resulting license suspension will almost certainly come up as a red flag to your auto insurance carrier, possibly causing them to increase your annual premiums or, in some cases, deny coverage altogether. Similarly, when employers, mortgage lenders or landlords run a routine background check on you in connection with a job, mortgage, or lease application, a guilty plea to a misdemeanor or felony 14-215 Operating under Suspension can have a detrimental impact on your prospects for getting a job, mortgage or lease. As any of the best Stamford criminal lawyers have observed, Operating under Suspension is not always viewed by employers as a harmless motor vehicle violation, especially when the background check reveals that served jail time or a lengthy probation period in connection with your guilty plea. Therefore, it is critical to minimize the damage a 14-215 Operating under Suspension arrest in Stamford, Greenwich or Darien can have on your criminal record, and work with a top Greenwich criminal lawyer to try and get the charges dismissed or reduced from a crime to an infraction.

Contact a Connecticut Operating under Suspension Criminal Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today

So if you are arrested in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan or Stamford for Operating Under Suspension under CGS 14-215, contact one of the criminal traffic lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. We will work aggressively within the court system and at the DMV level to attempt to get your license restored quickly and your criminal OUS / Operating under Suspension arrest dismissed, or your sentence reduced from jail time to fines. Our “two-attorney” review guarantee ensures that your police reports, surveillance videos and entire case file will be thoroughly reviewed by at least two of our Stamford criminal lawyers. Many times police rush to finish reports and leave gaping holes in their case summaries, leaving your case open to attack by your criminal lawyers. So do not wait any longer—call a Stamford DMV / traffic criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. Our rates are reasonable and we are focused on one objective: results. Call us today at (203) 358-4700. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

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