The Administrative Per Se Hearing at the Connecticut DMV
Interviewer: What is this hearing at the DMV called?
Steve Tomeo: It is known as an Administrative per se hearing.
Interviewer: At that hearing, you are in front of the motor vehicle division essentially?
Steve Tomeo: Yes, it’s an administrative hearing governed by the Administration Procedures Act. It’s not criminal at all.
Interviewer: People are probably confused by that, is that right?
Steve Tomeo: Yes because it is a civil and not a criminal proceeding.
When you are arrested for a DUI in Connecticut you get a summons from the police officer and a suspension notice letter from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles Administrative Per Se Division. There is a Per Se License Suspension hearing, which is explained to some extent below and previously.
- Administrative Per Se through DMVfor failing or refusing a chemical alcohol test
When a driver is arrested and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the arrest report is sent to DMV. Upon receipt of the arrest report, DMV imposes a suspension under Connecticut General Statute §14-227b for the failure of the blood, breath or urine test (whichever is requested by the arresting officer) or for the refusal to submit to the test. In most cases, the suspension will begin 30 days after the arrest date. You have 7 days from the date of the letter to schedule a suspension period, which will be heard within 30 days of the date of your arrest. The license suspension is based on the arrest information and is separate from any penalties or requirements that may be imposed because of the court case.
A notice of suspension will be mailed to the address of record allowing you seven days to request a hearing. If you wish to request a hearing, call the Administrative Per Se Unit at 860-263-5204 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday) before the deadline stated on your suspension notice.
You may also contact the Administrative Per Se Unit to request a hearing by email at DMV.AdminPerse@ct.gov
Beginning with arrest dates on or after July 1, 2015, all driver license suspensions for failing or refusing a chemical alcohol test will be forty-five (45) days.
Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) will be required prior to restoration for ALL alcohol related suspensions. Following restoration, the IID must be maintained for at least the length of time listed below:
The DMV Hearing Is Not a Criminal Proceeding and Has No Bearing on the Court Case for the DUI Charge
People who are arrested for a DUI often believe the hearing is another criminal proceeding. It is separate and distinct from court. This means you can win at court and lose at the DMV or win at the DMV and lose at court. One has nothing to do with the other.
Interviewer: At this administrative hearing is it possible to win and keep your license or is that rare?
It Is Difficult but Not Impossible to Prevail at the DMV Hearing
Steve Tomeo: I’d say it’s getting rare. It is possible to win them and there are some issues that if you are an experienced attorney, you’re aware of how the breath machine operates, the repair history of the machine, how the machine should be maintained and what to review to determine if the breath test was administered properly. However, the amount of people having their license’s restored is getting less and less at these hearings.
Changing Public Perception of Drunk Driving Has Influenced the Results of the DMV Hearing
Interviewer: Why is it so difficult at this hearing to get any good results?
Steve Tomeo: I think there’s just the public argument that they want these hearing officers to be tough. I also believe that the way that the Supreme Court has ruled in a number of drunk driving cases and administrative hearings on appeals that it doesn’t leave them with much leeway. In other words, there is not a great deal of discretion left after you read many of these rulings.
Interviewer: So even the judges’ hands are tied.
Steve Tomeo: Yeah, I believe their hands are tied. You know you’ve got public policy arguments by a lot of groups out there that want strict enforcement of the driver laws. These are civil matters they are not criminal matters and these hearing officers have broad discretion to suspend your license and to rule against you.