In Connecticut, there is a law called “implied consent law,” meaning that any person that drives on the roads in the state has given implied consent to submit to a chemical test of breath, blood, or urine. If a person refuses or fails the test, the DMV has the authority to strip that person of their driver’s license.
The DMV Process
Every DUI case is handled by not only the courthouse but also the DMV because the DMV is responsible for handling what happens with a person’s license and driving record. After a person is arrested for a DUI, the arresting agency notifies the DMV, who then processes the information and issues an Initial Suspension Notice to that person. This notice will include the date of suspension, which is 30 days after the arrest for first-time DUIs, and immediate suspension for repeat DUIs. The notice will also include the deadline to request a DMV hearing to contest the suspension, which is seven days after the date of the suspension notice.
Per Se Hearings
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The DMV hearing is called a “per se” hearing. These hearings will only be held in one of four locations in the state: Bridgeport, Old Saybrook, Waterbury, and Weathersfield. At this administrative hearing, there are only four issues that can be discussed:
- If the officer could make an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs based on probable cause.
- Whether the person was placed under arrest.
- Whether the person refused the breath, blood, or urine test and whether the request to submit to the test commenced within two hours of the time of vehicle operation, and whether the analysis indicated that the person’s test result was at least .08%.
- Whether that person was operating the motor vehicle.
Challenging a Suspension
There are several ways to challenge the suspension at the DMV hearing. A good attorney may try to highlight the good things that the defendant did to challenge the probable cause, the arrest, the failed or refused test, or the operation. Good things to highlight at the hearing include a passed field sobriety test, the fact that the defendant was not actually driving the car (may have been a passenger, or may have been in the car which was not running), there were errors in the police report, medical issues which affected the test, or there were mistakes made in the way the tests were administered.
Though the DMV administrative hearing is not as scary as the criminal court case, the consequences of license suspension and the possibility of using an ignition interlock device are very real and can greatly affect a person’s livelihood, quality of life, employment, and reputation. If you have been charged with a Hartford DUI and you have received your notice from the DMV, you will need a DUI lawyer to fight for you at the hearing. Contact Lady DUI to speak with an attorney.