Administrative law encompasses laws and legal principles governing the administration and regulation of government agencies including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Public Schools and Universities, and the Department of Corrections to name a few.
DUI, Operation of a motor vehicle under Suspension, and Other Motor Vehicle Crimes Resulting in Suspension of Right to Drive
The State of Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your right to drive in Connecticut not only if you are convicted of a DUI, but also after an alcohol or drug related arrest for DUI even if you are not ultimately convicted of the DUI. Connecticut's DUI laws consist of primarily two statutes, Connecticut General Statutes sections 14-227a and 14-227b. Upon arrest for a DUI the arresting officer will ask the operator to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. The first, section 14-227a, prohibits a person from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC); or if their ability to drive is affected to an appreciable degree.
The maximum allowable BAC now depends on the driver's age and the type of vehicle they are operating. Under the second statute, section 14-227b, a motorist implicitly consents to be tested for alcohol or drugs when they drive. This section is referred to as the "administrative per se law". Section 14-227b establishes administrative license suspension procedures for drivers who refuse to submit to a test or whose test results indicate an elevated blood alcohol concentration referred to as "BAC". Drivers over the age of 21 are deemed to have an elevated blood alcohol content beginning at 0.08% or more. Those under 21 have an elevated blood alcohol content if it is found to be 0.02% or greater. Drivers operating a commercial vehicle are deemed to have an elevated blood alcohol content if their "BAC" is 0.04% or greater. If the operator refuses to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing within two hours of the time of operation they are subject to suspension of their right to drive under Connecticut's "per se" law.
A notice from the "per se" suspension unit of the Department of Motor Vehicles is mailed to the arrestee shortly after the date of arrest. The notice will inform the arrestee of the length of the "per se" suspension, unless the arrestee driver requests an "administrative per se" hearing at DMV and prevails at that hearing. A copy of the police report is available to the arrestee from the DMV if requested for the purpose of preparing for the administrative hearing to be held at DMV.
The standard for determining whether evidence is admissible at the "administrative per se" hearing depends on whether the driver was injured. In order for the test results of an uninjured driver to be admissible 1) the driver must have been given a reasonable chance to call a lawyer before taking the test and consented to the test; 2) a copy of the test results must be mailed or personally delivered to the driver within 24 hours or at the end of the next business day after result is known; 3) the test must be administered by a police officer or at the officer's direction; 4) the test must be administered using methods and equipment approved by Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) according to DESPP regulations; 5) the test equipment must have been checked for accuracy according to DESPP regulations; 6) a second test of the same the test must be administered at least 10 minutes after the first test is conducted unless the second test is to detect the presence of drugs, in which case it can be of a different type and does not have to be administered within that time frame; and 7) the test must have begun within two hours of operation.
Loss of your right to operate a motor vehicle can place you, your loved one, a friend, or a family member at a financial disadvantage due to the need to operate to and from work or school. A driver can request a special operators permit for work or school through the DMV if they do not prevail at the "per se" administrative hearing or waive their right to that hearing. The DMV will also require that certain persons operate for a defined period of time with an interlock ignition devise before their right to drive in Connecticut is restored after the suspension period.
The decision to contest the administrative per se suspension is best discussed with an experienced attorney before a request for a hearing at DMV is made. The "administrative per se" hearing is separate and independent of the Court proceeding on the criminal charge of operating under the influence. However, the two separate procedures, administrative and criminal, are related to the same set of facts reported by the arresting officer in the police report. Anything a driver says at the "administrative per se" hearing may be used against them in Court during the State's prosecution of the underlying DUI charge.
The DUI laws in Connecticut are very strict and provide for mandatory minimum sentences that a court may not suspend or reduce in any manner. It is in your best interest to engage the services of an experienced lawyer like Attorney Pamala J. Favreau to guide you through the two parallel but separate processes. Call 860-634-1767 now for a free and initial consult.
PUBLIC SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS
Certain crimes alleged to have been committed by a student enrolled in the public school system can lead to their suspension from school even if the alleged crime did not occur on school property.
Connecticut General Statutes section 10-233b allows school administrators to suspend students for conduct that occurs off school premises only if the conduct "violates publicized policy of the local or regional board of education; seriously disrupts the educational process; or endangers persons or property. Anything the student says at the school suspension hearing may be obtained by the prosecuting authority under certain circumstances and used against the student in court to prosecute them on the underlying crime charged.
Call Attorney Pamala J. Favreau before the arrested student, or student being investigated by school officials or the police, is questioned at a formal school suspension hearing.
PUBLIC UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE SUSPENSIONS
The University already has the student's tuition. Universities do not have a duty to educate students during a suspension period resulting from a school disciplinary proceeding arising out of an arrest or conduct that is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.
Suspension of a college student can seriously interfere with the continuance of their education and educational financing. It can thwart their ability to transfer to a different University and can result in their exclusion from campus.
It is important to remember that anything the arrested student, or student under police investigation, says at a formal suspension hearing may be used against them to prosecute them in court on the underlying offense that led to the administrative school suspension hearing.
The Code of Student Conduct at the student's University governs the disciplinary process. It can be found on the University website. State and Federal statutes require only that a hearing be held in compliance with minimum due process requirements prior to any final disciplinary action being taken by the University. The Code of Conduct will also provide rules concerning the appeal of any disciplinary decision made by the University.
If you, your friend, or a family member is accused of criminal conduct or arrested while enrolled and attending a college or university in Connecticut, call Attorney Pamala J. Favreau at 860-634-1767. Attorney Favreau will help you determine the best course of action needed to move forward.