In Connecticut, it is a per se violation of C.G.S. §14-227b to either refuse to submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test or take a BAC test and fail. A failure of a BAC test is a .02% or higher for drivers under the age of 21, .04% or higher for CDL drivers, or .08% or higher for drivers over the age of 21 holding a regular driver’s license. After a DUI arrest, the police will tow the driver’s vehicle, transport the driver to a police station, and request that the driver submit to a BAC test.
DMV License Suspensions
The two ways that a driver will face license suspension from the DMV are:
- Failure to submit to a urine, breath, or blood test, whichever is requested by the officer.
- Refusal to submit to a urine, breath, or blood test after requested by the officer.
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After an arrest for a DUI, the DMV is notified and will impose the suspension pursuant to C.G.S. §14-227b. The DMV will send the driver a suspension notice, which will include information about the suspension, when it will start, how long it will last for, and how to request an administrative hearing to contest the suspension. The driver must immediately notify the DMV of a request for a hearing because the time frame to do so is only seven days after the suspension notice is issued. An administrative hearing can be requested by:
- Calling the Administrative Per Se Unit at (860) 263-5204.
- Emailing the Administrative Per Se Unit at DMV.AdminPerse@ct.gov.
Per Se Hearings
DMV hearings are called “per se” hearings, and they are administrative, taking place in one of four locations, based on the geographical location of the DUI. The four locations are Bridgeport, Old Saybrook, Waterbury, and Wethersfield. These hearings are independent from the court system. One of the big differences between a criminal court trial and the per se hearing is that the issues that may be contested in the per se hearing are very limited. There are only four issues that can be discussed:
- Whether the police officer had probable cause to arrest the driver for driving under the influence. This is legally relevant to the issue of BAC refusal or failure because if the driver was wrongly arrested, the BAC refusal or failure would not have occurred.
- Whether the driver was placed under arrest. This seems very straightforward yet could be a complicated legal issue depending on the circumstances. An arrest takes place when the person is taken into custody by law enforcement against their will for the purpose of prosecution or interrogation, and a reasonable person in the same circumstance would not feel that they were free to leave.
- Whether the driver refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test and whether the test occurred within two hours of the operation of the vehicle and whether the results of the BAC test showed a BAC of .08% or higher (or .02% for drivers under 21, or .04% or higher for CDL drivers).
- Lastly, whether the driver was in fact operating the motor vehicle. There must have been some action that could set the vehicle up to be driven. At the very least, operation usually includes putting the key in the ignition or using a remote to start the engine.
If you are facing a license suspension in Connecticut and have requested an administrative hearing or wish to while there is still time, you will need a defense attorney who understands how big of an impact license suspension has on a person’s life and is dedicated to defending against it. Contact Lady DUI to speak with a DUI attorney today.