Hartford, CT- The Police Chief in West Hartford doesn’t get to patrol the streets very often, but he happened to be in the right place at the right time late last month. At least it was the right place for Chief Tracey Grove, but it was the wrong place for the driver who has racked up some serious charges.
Chief Gove was off-duty on July 26th when he saw a car driving “all over the road” on Route 9, NBC Connecticut reported. The ever vigilant chief called 911 to report the erratic driver, but he was concerned about the safety of other motorists so he pulled the driver over himself.
When Gove pulled the driver over, he noticed the man appeared to be lethargic and admitted to taking a drug called Suboxone, which is used to treat individuals with an opioid addiction. The driver, who was identified as 25 year-old Ross Katten, told Gove he was going to the doctor’s office to get more of the drug.
NBC reported that when Katten got out of the car he nearly fell to the ground. Police also noticed his speech was slurred while he was telling officers they needed a search warrant.
Not only was the driver suspected for DUI, he also had a bag of marijuana and a bag of cocaine in his vehicle. Katten admitted the marijuana was his, but said the cocaine belonged to a friend. He also told police he had just purchased the vehicle.
Ironically, while at the police station, Katten said he fight the DUI charges, but he seemed undaunted by the drug possession charges.
The police reported stated that Katten had been previously convicted of narcotics possession, and has a DUI conviction from 2007.
Drivers often mistakenly think that because they are given a prescription for a drug it is okay to drive after taking the drug. While many prescription drugs don’t affect a person’s ability to drive, there are others, especially pain killers, nerve pills and drugs used to treat addiction, that seriously inhibit a person’s ability to drive safely. A person can be charged with driving under the influence even if the drug they are taken was legally prescribed to them, remember alcohol is legal too.
First DUI offenders in Connecticut can ask the courts to be admitted into a drug or alcohol treatment program. When the offender successfully completes a treatment program, the court may decide to drop the charges. However, if the driver’s substance abuse program has proved unsuccessful, as in Katten’s case, the criminal charges can proceed.
If a urine, blood or breath test shows that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the courts can suspend their license and they face minimal jail time. When a person has a previous DUI charge, their chances of getting receiving a mandatory jail sentence greatly increases and they are likely to lose their license for a minimum of 45 days but that can be increased to one year depending on the driver’s previous DUI arrests or level of intoxication.
The drug possession charges on top of the DUI could land Katten in jail.
On top of jail and suspension of driver’s license, a convicted DUI driver must pay thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, so it is in the best interest of the driver to hire a Hartford DUI attorney to help them avoid conviction.