After an arrest for DUI charges, you will also face penalties against your license from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. You will receive a letter from the DMV that will inform you that your driver’s license will be suspended as of a certain date and time unless you challenge this decision and timely request an administrative per se hearing.
Here are ten frequently asked questions about DMV Per Se Hearings:
What is an Administrative Per Se Hearing?
In Connecticut, when a driver is arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police officer’s arrest report is sent to the DMV. Upon receipt of the report, the DMV issues an automatic suspension of the driver’s license because of the driver’s failure of the blood, breath, or urine test, or for the refusal to take these tests. This is called an Administrative Per Se Suspension.
Do I have to request a hearing?
No. You are under no obligation to request a hearing. However, if you don’t request a hearing, then your license suspension will take effect as of the date and time in the letter.
How can I request a hearing?
It’s very easy to request a hearing. You can call the Administrative Per Se Unit at the DMV at (860)-263-5204 or you can email them at DMV.AdminPerse@ct.gov. Your hearing will be scheduled within thirty days after your arrest date. The suspension letter will list the time by which you need to request the hearing.
If I request a hearing, who decides my case?
Your case will be decided by a Hearing Officer appointed by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. DMV hearing officers are licensed attorneys who act as impartial fact finders at the hearing. The hearing officer has the duty to listen to the testimony and to review the evidence (documents) submitted at the hearing, and then to make a decision on the case.
Where will my hearing be held?
Administrative Per Se Hearings are held at DMV Offices in Wethersfield, Bridgeport, and Old Saybrook, and also at the civil courthouse in Waterbury. Generally, the town where you were arrested will determine the location of your hearing.
What are the specific issues decided in the hearing?
The law limits the scope of the hearing to a determination of four issues: (1) Did the police have probable cause to arrest you for DUI; (2) were you arrested by the police officer; (3) were you operating the motor vehicle; and (4) did you refuse to take a test, or was a test commenced within two hours of operation and did the test results show an elevated blood alcohol content?
Can I tell my side of the story and offer evidence to support myself?
Yes. In this administrative hearing, you have the opportunity to present your case at the hearing. You can testify (under oath). You can bring witnesses. You can offer photographs or other evidence (documents) in support of your case. However, you do not have to testify, and there may be very good reasons why you should not testify depending upon the issues involved in your criminal court case.
Will the arresting police officer attend my hearing?
Not usually. The law permits the police report to be entered into evidence without the police officer being present or testifying. The Hearing Officer decides whether the police report will be admitted into evidence (it is usually admitted regardless of objections). However, the arresting officer (or any other police officer with knowledge of the facts) is allowed to be present and to testify at your hearing if they are served with a subpoena.
Will I get an immediate decision right at the hearing?
No. The Hearing Officer will issue a written decision, which will be sent to you in the mail, shortly after the hearing ends. Typically, the decision is mailed out within one week of the hearing date. If you are not satisfied with the decision or the outcome was not favorable, you can appeal.
Can I have a lawyer represent me at an Administrative Per Se Hearing?
Yes. You have the right to have an attorney represent you at your hearing. An attorney is not required, and unlike in criminal court, if you are not able to afford one, an attorney will not be appointed. However, these hearings can be complicated, and the law is extremely challenging in this area. It is difficult to win these hearings. We strongly advise you to hire an attorney to represent you.