Can You Challenge a DUI License Suspension in Connecticut?
It is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in Connecticut. DUI offenses are prosecuted with high priority in the criminal courts of Connecticut. There is also a separate administrative process for DUI’s before the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), where your license can be suspended, and an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement imposed, if you are found to have blown over the legal limit, refuses a chemical test, or have drugs in your system. And the penalties for a DUI conviction in Connecticut continue to become ever more severe, making it crucial for anyone accused of DUI to select the best DUI lawyer possible.
Because Connecticut is an implied consent state, drivers who are pulled over for a suspected DUI must agree to submit to a chemical test or a drug recognition expert (DRE) evaluation. If they refuse, or fail such a test or evaluation, it can result in a statutory license suspension, a DMV discipline in Connecticut. Any of these outcomes results in an administrative per se license suspension and IID requirement.
A Notice of Suspension letter informing you of your right to ask for an administrative per se hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license will arrive in the mail soon after your arrest. It will tell you that you have 7 days from the date of the Notice to request a hearing.
You should always request a hearing.
How To Challenge a DUI License Suspension in Connecticut
You have seven days to file an appeal a DUI conviction in Connecticut; if you do not, your license will be suspended for 45 days, and you will have to install an IID in your vehicle. The motorist or their attorney must request the hearing; it does not happen automatically.
DMV hearings are handled outside of a court, and no judge or jury is involved in the process. A DMV hearing officer handles hearings of administrative nature filed with the DMV. You have nothing to lose by challenging your license suspension because the only sanction a DMV hearing officer can impose is to approve the suspension of your license.
The ruling of a DMV hearing officer cannot be used against you in criminal prosecution. However, your criminal attorney can frequently get pertinent information during the DMV hearing that can be used to support your defense in the case.
What Happens After a DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing
The DMV hearing officer will issue a written decision within a week after your DMV hearing. If you win, the DMV hearing officer will vacate any suspension and IID requirement to be imposed, and will reinstate your license. If you lose, your license will be suspended for 45 days, and, after that, you will need to put an IID in your vehicle – for 6 months if you blow over the legal limit, and 1 year if you refuse, or are found to have drugs in your system.
You should always request a DMV administrative per se hearing. You have nothing to lose by doing so, and everything to gain.