Driving under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance, is classified as DUI. If you are arrested for alleged drinking and driving, the police in CT will generally handcuff you and place you in their respective police car and take you to the police station in the town arrested or to the area State Police Barracks, if arrested by the Connecticut State Police.
Wherever you are taken, you will be processed in accordance with Standard Police Protocols: booked, photographed, fingerprinted, questioned, then offered a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test: breath, urine or blood.
You are required to submit to the BAC test based on the following: “Any person who operates a motor vehicle in this state shall be deemed to have given such person’s consent to a chemical analysis of such person’s blood, breath or urine and, if such person is a minor, such person’s parent or parents or guardian shall also be deemed to have given their consent.” This means that you give your “implied consent” to taking the test if you drive in the State of CT. You can refuse to take the test without any criminal consequences; however, you should consult with a lawyer first.
CT law indicates that the police must afford you a reasonable amount of time to contact an attorney before taking the test, which must be given within 2 hours of operation. Remember, what is reasonable to you may not be reasonable to them. Finally, most people are released the same day on a “Promise to Appear” in Court on your specified Court date. However, in some instances you may have to post bond in the form of cash or through the services of a Bail Bondsman.
Navigating the Process After An Arrest
After being arrested for a DUI, you will undoubtedly wonder what to expect next. In the state of Connecticut, you will have to Appear at the Connecticut Superior Court for the area in which you were arrested to defend yourself against the DUI. You should also expect to receive a Suspension Notice Letter from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which means you will have to schedule a hearing with the DMV to challenge it. If you are represented by counsel the attorney will handle the DMV matter as well as the Court Case. However, a failure to appear and Schedule the DMV hearing will automatically result in a 45-day license suspension plus having to drive with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for either 6 months or 1 year. This is a complicated process and it is best to seek the advice of an Attorney. The DMV Website is informative and the link can be found here.
The hearing that you schedule with the DMV is known as an Administrative Per Se Hearing. During this hearing, the DMV Administrative Hearing Officer must find the evidence against you in all four (4) issues in order to suspend your license. If the Hearing Officer finds in your favor on any one (1) issue, you “Win” the hearing. You may want to obtain legal representation for this hearing since these cases are typically won on legal, scientific and technical matters and often do not require your testimony. Given that this is a Civil matter, the burden of proof is not as high as it is in Criminal cases. Remember, in Criminal Matters it is “Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.” That is not the case in the Administrative Per Se Hearing where the standard of proof is a “Preponderance of the Evidence Rule”, which to explain it graphically is just more than 50%. Nevertheless, winning a DMV hearing is tough!
The following issues will be considered during your DMV hearing:
- 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;
- Was such person placed under arrest;
- 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
- Was such person operating the motor vehicle.
Your privilege to drive in the State of Connecticut is what is at stake at the DMV hearing, but it will not make your Court charges go away since that is a separate Criminal matter. These two (2): Court and the Per Se matter; are, separate and distinct from one another.
DUI charges are taken seriously in Court and, as such, convictions may carry some stiff penalties, regardless of how many past charges you have. These include mandatory jail time, community service, fines, a license suspension and the driving with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). There are also the license restoration fee, and application fees for a work permit and the Ignition Interlock Device (IID).
At The Sills Law Firm, our Connecticut DUI attorneys fight to protect the rights of drivers. We have over 50 years of collective legal experience and have handled thousands of cases. Our legal team will do everything possible to protect your driving privileges and secure the most favorable outcome possible.