There are two distinct aspects to a DUI case in Connecticut. There is the criminal aspect which will be handled by the court system, as well as the per se hearing, which is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Cheshire DMV gets involved when a person is charged with DUI because they are in charge of driver’s licenses in Cheshire and throughout Connecticut. The DMV deals with license suspension, driving history, and ignition interlock requirements. Learn more about Cheshire DUIs and the DMV’s role on this page.
Per Se Hearings and the Cheshire DMV
The DMV administrative hearings are called “per se” hearings, and they take place in one of four locations outside of the courthouse atmosphere, those being Bridgeport, Old Saybrook, Wethersfield, and Waterbury. In Connecticut, there is an implied consent law, meaning that any refusal to take a breathalyzer or a drug driving exam will result in the same suspension as if the person had taken and failed the test. This suspension is imposed by the DMV.
Upon failing or refusing a breathalyzer or physical drug exam, the Cheshire DMV will be notified by the police. At that time, they will send the person charged a notice that their license is going to be suspended and information about when the suspension begins. This notice also begins the clock on the person’s ability to challenge this ruling at an administrative per se hearing.
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Suspensions usually start 30 days after a DUI charge for first offenses and immediately for all subsequent offenses. The period to ask for a hearing and contest the license suspension is typically seven days after the notice is sent.
At the per se hearing, there are only four elements that may be challenged. Those elements are whether the police officer had probable cause to arrest the person for driving under the influence, if the person was placed under arrest, whether the person refused a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test, or if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was over .08%, and if the person charged was actually driving the vehicle.
These hearings only take place with a court reporter and hearing officer, and they are less formal than the court. This, coupled with the fact that these hearings don’t take place at a courthouse and there are limited arguments to be made, means it goes much more quickly than the court process. These hearings, or the lack of one, means it is determined if you will have a license suspension and an ignition interlock system, which are costly. Due to this, it is best to have legal representation that understands these administrative hearings on your side. Contact Lady DUI today if you have been given notice of a license suspension from the Cheshire DMV.