A DUI Charge and Your Driver’s License and Driving Privileges in Connecticut
Interviewer: How about the issues in a DUI case? What’s the timeframe on that from the moment that you’ve been arrested?
After a DUI Arrest, You Can opt to Have a Hearing at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles to Contest a License Suspension DUI:
Steve Tomeo: When a person is arrested and charged for Operating a Motor Vehicle while under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs otherwise known as a DUI in the State of Connecticut, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send the person a Suspension Notice. This letter will be addressed to the arrested person at his or her place of residence address, which is the address usually listed on your driver’s license. So, always check your mail for this letter. If you moved and forgot to notify your DMV about your new address, check your old address for this letter. This letter will say in part that “you are hereby notified that your operator’s license or privilege is suspended…and that this action is separated and distinct from any case, which you may have pending in Superior Court.”
Requesting a Suspension Hearing—7 day notice requirement
Steve Tomeo: The suspension notice letter further states that “ Prior to the effective date of the suspension, you are entitled to request an administrative hearing. A request for a hearing must be received by the Department of Motor Vehicles no later than seven (7) days from the date of this [suspension notice letter] notice. If we do not receive a request by close of business on the final date specified below, your suspension will go into effect on the dated indicated below.”
The suspension notice letter that you receive has a DMV Reference No. along with your date of birth and your operator’s license number. Below the box with your license number is the Date of the suspension notice letter.
The suspension notice letter gives the reason for suspension; Item(s) suspended; Final Date to Request A Hearing; Effective date of Suspension; Duration of License Suspension; Restoration Fee; Ignition Interlock Device Administration Fee; and Hearing Contact information.
So, you receive the Suspension Notice Letter. You have 7 days from the date of the suspension notice letter to request a hearing—a suspension hearing to try and prevent a suspension. And, if you do not request a hearing you are given the date you go under suspension, which is 30 days from the date of your arrest.
If You Do Not Request the Hearing within the Specified Time Limit, Your License Is Automatically Suspended
So, if you do not request a hearing then your license goes under suspension on the 30th day after your arrest. Here is an example: GJ was arrested for a DUI. He received a suspension notice letter dated July 30, 2019. The Final Date to Request a Hearing was listed as August 6, 2019. He chose not to request an administrative hearing—per se hearing. His Effective Date of Suspension was August 19, 2019, which is the 30th day after his arrest. The suspension notice letter further advised the Duration of License Suspension: “45 DAYS. If you are eligible to be restored after your suspension, you will be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in the vehicle that you drive…” So, the client received a 45-day license suspension beginning 12:01 AM on August 19, 2019. He was arrested 30 days prior on July 20, 2019, which is the 30th day after his arrest.
This can get somewhat confusing. In the case above, the client did not request a hearing. But say he did. Then his hearing would have been scheduled within the 30 day period mentioned above.
Requesting the DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing and Winning at the Hearing
NOTICE: IF YOU WIN THIS HEARING YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE AN ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION NOR WILL YOU HAVE TO INSTALL THE IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE (IID).
Say you decide to Request a Hearing. On the day of the hearing you show up for the hearing and a hearing officer who is a licensed Connecticut Attorney appointed by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles will hear your case. He will speak for no longer than 5 minutes describing the hearing and what his functions are. At this hearing you can subpoena witnesses to testify on your behalf and the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles can do likewise. And, if your case has significant concerns as deemed so by the Commissioner a Presenter can appear on behalf of the Commissioner to present the DMV portion of the case.
Here is more detailed information about the hearing some of which we have reviewed. The following is from CGSA Sec. 14-227b—The Administrative Per Se Statute:
The commissioner shall send a suspension notice to such person informing such person that such person’s operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege is suspended as of the date specified in such suspension notice, and that such person is entitled to a hearing and may schedule such hearing by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles not later than seven days after the date of mailing of such suspension notice. Any suspension issued under this subdivision shall remain in effect until such suspension is affirmed or such operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege is reinstated in accordance with subsections (f) and (h) of this section.
(f) If such person does not contact the department to schedule a hearing, the commissioner shall affirm the suspension contained in the suspension notice for the appropriate period specified in subsection (i) of this section.
(g) If such person contacts the department to schedule a hearing, the department shall assign a date, time and place for the hearing, which date shall be prior to the effective date of the suspension, except that, with respect to a person whose operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege is suspended in accordance with subdivision (2) of subsection (e) of this section, such hearing shall be scheduled not later than thirty days after such person contacts the department. At the request of such person, the hearing officer or the department and upon a showing of good cause, the commissioner may grant one or more continuances. The hearing shall be limited to a determination of the following issues:
THESE ARE THE ISSUES AT THE ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE HEARING—SUSPENSION HEARING
(1) Did the police officer have probable cause to arrest the person for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both;
(2) was such person placed under arrest;
(3) did such person refuse to submit to such test or analysis or did such person submit to such test or analysis, commenced within two hours of the time of operation, and the results of such test or analysis indicated that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content; and
(4) was such person operating the motor vehicle. In the hearing, the results of the test or analysis shall be sufficient to indicate the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person at the time of operation, provided such test was commenced within two hours of the time of operation.
The fees of any witness summoned to appear at the hearing shall be the same as provided by the general statutes for witnesses in criminal cases. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of section 52-143, any subpoena summoning a police officer as a witness shall be served not less than seventy-two hours prior to the designated time of the hearing.
(h) If, after such hearing, the commissioner finds on any one of the said issues in the negative, the commissioner shall reinstate such license or operating privilege. If, after such hearing, the commissioner does not find on any one of the said issues in the negative or if such person fails to appear at such hearing, the commissioner shall affirm the suspension contained in the suspension notice for the appropriate period specified in subsection (i) of this section.
The commissioner shall render a decision at the conclusion of such hearing and send a notice of the decision by bulk certified mail to such person. The notice of such decision sent by bulk certified mail to the address of such person as shown by the records of the commissioner shall be sufficient notice to such person that such person’s operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege is reinstated or suspended, as the case may be.
(i) (1) The commissioner shall suspend the operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege of a person who did not contact the department to schedule a hearing, who failed to appear at a hearing, or against whom a decision was issued, after a hearing, pursuant to subsection (h) of this section, as of the effective date contained in the suspension notice, for a period of forty-five days.
As a condition for the restoration of such operator’s license or nonresident operating privilege, such person shall be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on each motor vehicle owned or operated by such person and, upon such restoration, be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, for the longer of either (A) the period prescribed in subdivision (2) of this subsection for the present arrest and suspension, or (B) the period prescribed in subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of subsection (g) of section 14-227a or subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of subsection (c) of section 14-227m or subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (c) of section 14-227n for the present arrest and conviction, if any.
NOW, IF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ANY OF THIS YOU CAN CALL ME, STEVE TOMEO AT STEVEN A. TOMEO & ASSOCIATES, LLC AND MY NUMBER IS (860) 764-2744.