In a recent criminal law matter, the Appellate Court of Connecticut considered whether lack of recertification by an officer administering chemical analysis tests following a DUI arrest renders, as invalid, a hearing officer’s conclusions based on the results of these tests.
This case arose from an incident that occurred on November 1, 2008. The plaintiff was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence in violation of General Statutes § 14-227a. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) held an administrative hearing, where two chemical analysis tests, which revealed a blood alcohol content more than twice the statutory limit, were admitted along with other evidence. After considering four statutory criteria, the DMV commissioner ordered that plaintiff’s driver’s license be suspended for a period of ten months, as well as a lifetime disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle.
The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the test results were inadmissible because the police officer who administered the tests “had failed to undergo a review of his proficiency in the operation of the breath test device within twelve months since his last review,” which took place in August, 2006. The court was not persuaded and dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal, and the plaintiff appealed once more.
When a DMV hearing officer considers a request to suspend a driver’s license, he or she is limited to four statutory criteria set forth in General Statute § 14-227b(g). The officer will consider whether the driver in question operated the motor vehicle and either refused or consented to a test or analysis within two hours of the operation, and if the results indicated an elevated blood alcohol content. In addition, the officer must establish whether probable cause to arrest for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence existed, and if the driver was arrested. No other evidence will be considered for purposes of this administrative hearing. In a prior case, the State Supreme Court found that “lack of recertification as required by the regulations does not prevent the commissioner’s consideration of and reliance on the officer’s report.” Since this was the grounds for appeal by the plaintiff, the Appellate Court affirmed judgment.
When faced with a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (a.k.a. driving under the influence), an individual is best served by consulting with an experienced criminal law practitioner. Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.
Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.