Court vs. DMV Hearings

When you are going through a Connecticut DUI process, you will have to deal with both the criminal court and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The criminal court is in charge of determining if you are guilty or innocent of the DUI and imposing relevant penalties. The DMV is in charge of your driver's license and has the power to suspend or revoke it.


If you are charged with a DUI, you will have to make an appearance at two different types of hearings. You must appear at the court hearings and the DMV hearings. These are separate hearings concerning different aspects of your DUI case. You should attend both the court hearing and the DMV hearing, as your absence can be detrimental to your case.

Court Hearings

When you are charged with a DUI, you will be given a date to appear in court. This court hearing will determine if you are innocent or guilty of the DUI charge. The court hearing deals with the criminal proceedings of your case. In court, you will be able to present the facts you have collected concerning your case. Also you must attempt to build a defense against the charges. If you hire a DUI attorney, they can help you gather evidence to support your defense. After the judge hears all of the facts, they will determine if you are guilty or not guilty in court, and the court will give you a punishment accordingly. These punishments include fines and potential jail time.

DMV Hearings

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The DMV hearings are a separate hearing to determine if your license should be suspended, and for how long. This is an administrative proceeding concerning your driving privileges only. The results of your blood alcohol content (BAC) test, urine test, or blood test will be discussed in this hearing. If you refused a BAC or urine test, this will also be discussed. You will have to explain why you refused to take the tests. Based on this hearing, the DMV will decide if your license should be suspended and for how long.

The DMV hearings deal with the circumstances of your arrest, while a court hearings will decide if you are actually guilty or not guilty. For this reason, the DMV hearing is not required, while a court hearing is. You are not obligated to have a DMV hearing, however, it will help your case if you go and present it to the DMV. In some cases, going to the DMV hearing can help you to get a lesser suspension. Going to the DMV hearing is a positive step that you could take to ensure that you appear responsible to those determining if you will be able to keep your license or not.

Differences in Hearings

Court hearings and DMV hearings are independent of one another. In some cases, you can receive a verdict of not guilty in court, but you still might have your license suspended by the DMV. This can be the case if you refuse the breath test or other tests. You could be found not guilty of driving under the influence in court, but the fact that you did not take the breath test when asked will result in a separate suspension. The DMV launches its own investigation into your case. While a verdict of not guilty in a court hearing can help you in a DMV hearing, it will not necessarily mean that the DMV will let you keep your license.

Getting Help

Although it is stressful to deal with two separate hearings for your DUI, it is in your best interest to schedule and attend both hearings. This could help reduce your penalty if you are found guilty or prove your innocence. Hiring a DUI lawyer can also help you with your case. DUI lawyers are experienced in cases similar to yours, which means that they know how to approach court hearings and can help you get acquitted.

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