If you are arrested for intoxicated driving in Connecticut, the State will take action against you in two separate ways. You will be charged in criminal court with the crime of Operating under the Influence (OUI), also called Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). In addition, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your drivers license after giving you the chance to ask for a hearing to fight the suspension.
You will have a short period of time to ask for the suspension hearing. The DMV will mail a letter to the address that is on your drivers license giving you the deadline to ask for a hearing. In the Hartford - New Britain area, the hearings take place at DMV headquarters in Wethersfield. In the Waterbury area, the DMV usually schedules the hearings at the Superior Court.
Only 4 questions matter at the hearing. If the answer to any one of these questions is "no," then your license will not be suspended. These questions are:
If the answer to all of these questions is "yes," then the license will be suspended. The following charts state how long your drivers license will be suspended by the DMV for drunk driving in Connecticut:
Connecticut DMV License Suspension for DUI - Age 21 or Older
|Arrest||0.08 to 0.15||0.16 or Over||Refusal|
|1st||90 days||120 days||6 months|
|2nd||9 months||10 months||1 year|
|3rd||2 years||2 1/2 years||3 years|
Connecticut DMV License Suspension for DUI - Under Age of 21
|Arrest||0.02 to 0.15||0.16 or Over||Refusal|
|1st||Age 16 or 17: 180 days.
Age 18, 19 or 20: 1 year.
|240 days||Age 16 or 17: 1 year.
Age 18, 19 or 20: 18 months.
|2nd||18 months||20 months||2 years|
|3rd||4 years||5 years||6 years|
The license suspension hearing takes place before an attorney hired by the State to act as a hearing officer to decide the case. Testimony is under oath and the hearing is recorded. Because it is not a court hearing, the rules of evidence are not as formal as in court.
Having an experienced Connecticut DUI / DWI lawyer represent you at the DMV hearing will give you the best chance to avoid having your driver's license suspended for drunk driving. Although the hearing is limited to the 4 questions listed above, there are technical points to each question that will not be obvious to a non-lawyer.
If the police say that you refused the test, did you actually refuse or were you confused about the testing procedure or unable to give a good breath sample for medical or other reasons? Did the two test results really show you were over the limit at the time you were driving? What if one test is above the limit and the other test is below the limit? Were the tests taken at the correct times in order for the results to be valid?
Even the simple question of whether you were arrested is really not so simple. Are you “arrested” when the police officer pulls you over, or when you are asked to wait by your car, or when you are told you failed the roadside tests, or when you are handcuffed, or when you are placed into the police cruiser, or when you are booked at police headquarters?
These questions are the kinds of things that an experienced DUI / DWI lawyer will look into for you at the DMV license suspension hearing and that may ultimately determine whether your license will be suspended.
At the DMV hearing, the hearing officer usually will have a copy of a special report used by the police in Connecticut to write down what happened during and after your arrest for drunk driving. This report, called the A-44 Officer’s OUI Arrest and Alcohol Test Refusal or Failure Report, will have the results of the tests that the police officer did at the scene of the drunk driving arrest. These tests usually include walking heel-to-toe on a line, standing on one leg, and following the light from a penlight, and may include other tests such as saying a part of the alphabet. The report will state the reasons the officer felt justified to make the drunk driving arrest, such as failing the roadside tests, having been seen driving erratically, and having the smell of alcohol on your breath. The report will state when you were stopped, what time you were arrested, and when you were told your Miranda rights.
The A-44 OUI Arrest report will have any answers you gave after the arrest to questions about whether you have any medical conditions, whether you are injured, whether you take medication, what and how much you were drinking, when you started and stopped drinking, whether you took any drugs, and when and what you last ate.
By state law, if you drive in Connecticut you have agreed to having your breath, blood or urine tested for alcohol. The OUI Arrest report includes a statement that you were advised of this implied consent to alcohol testing. The report will also state when you were given the chance to telephone a lawyer.
The OUI Arrest report will state if you refused the alcohol test or if you took the test. If you take the test, your alcohol level is tested twice. The report will have the results of the tests, including when you were given each test and the results.
The hearing officer will listen to testimony and to any legal arguments concerning why your license should not be suspended for driving while intoxicated. The results of the hearing are mailed out, usually within a couple of days.
If your license is suspended, you may be able to apply for a Special Operator's Permit that allows you to drive to and from your job (Work Permit Application) or college / occupational school classes (School Permit Application).
Do not drive (except as allowed by the work / school permit) if your license is suspended. If you drive in Connecticut while your license is suspended for DUI / DWI, you will go to jail for at least 30 days.
To get your license back after a DUI / DWI suspension, you need to follow the DMV's procedures and pay a fee, presently $175. You cannot go the a DMV office and get your license back in person. Your need to mail to the DMV the request to restore your license. The DMV will take at least two weeks to act on your request, so you should send your letter about three weeks before your suspension ends.
Until you get your driver's license back, you are still under suspension even if the period of suspension may already be over. Do not drive after a DUI / DMV suspension until the DMV restores your license or you may be charged with driving under suspension and face the minimum 30-day jail sentence.
Speak to a Person, Not a Machine
I don't like speaking to machines. I don't think you do either. Especially when you need help. Call my law firm during our extended business hours (Mon to Fri, 8:30 am to 6 pm) and you will speak directly to a person. Evenings & weekends, call my cell phone: 860 977-0660.
- Attorney John Serrano
DUI Legal Help at these Connecticut Courts
|Bristol||Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington|
|Derby||Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton|
|Enfield||East Granby, East Windsor, Enfield, Granby, Simsbury, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks|
|Hartford||Avon, Bloomfield, Canton, Farmington, Hartford, West Hartford|
|Manchester||East Hartford, Glastonbury, Manchester, Marlborough, South Windsor|
|Meriden||Cheshire, Hamden, Meriden, North Haven, Wallingford|
|Middletown||Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Portland, Westbrook|
|New Britain||Berlin, New Britain, Newington, Rocky Hill,, Wethersfield|
|New Haven||Bethany, Branford, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, New Haven, North Branford, Woodbridge|
|Norwich||Bozrah, Colchester, Franklin, Griswold, Lebanon, Lisbon, Montville, Norwich, Preston, Salem, Sprague, Voluntown|
|Rockville||Andover, Bolton, Columbia, Coventry, Ellington, Hebron, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union, Vernon, Willington|
|Waterbury||Middlebury, Naugatuck, Prospect, Southbury, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, Woodbury|