Connecticut DUI: Refusal to Take a Blood, Breath or Urine Test

In Connecticut, if you get pulled over for a DUI and the officer asks you to take a blood, breath, or urine test, do you have to take one? What happens if you refuse?

Implied Consent

Connecticut law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Connecticut’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC). The test must be given within two hours of when you were driving. The officer chooses which test you must take, but you can refuse the blood test without penalty – it does not matter whether you are unable or simply unwilling to take this test – and if you do refuse the blood test, the office can choose one of the remaining tests.

Once you have been arrested, the officer must tell you that you have certain constitutional rights. He or she must also explain that you can call your attorney before taking a test, that your license will be suspended if you refuse to take a test, and that evidence of your refusal can be used against you in court.

You can read Connecticut’s implied consent law in the Connecticut General Statutes Annotated 14-227b.

Refusing to Take the Test

 

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

6 months suspension of license

1 year suspension of license

3 years suspension of license

Once you refuse to take the test, the officer who arrested you will take your license and revoke your right to drive. Afterwards, the officer has three business days to make a sworn report explaining that he or she had reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence and that you refused to take the test. The officer must also have someone else who witnessed your refusal endorse the report. Once the report is filed with the state, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles will send you a notice telling you when your suspension begins and how you can request a hearing to challenge it.

At the hearing, you can discuss whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were under the influence, the circumstances of your arrest, your refusal to take the test, and whether you were driving. The court will listen to your side of the story and to what the officer has to say. Then it will decide to confirm or rescind your suspension.

If you do not request a hearing, or even if you do but the court confirms the suspension, then you face the following penalties. For your first refusal, the suspension of your license will last for six months. For your second refusal, the suspension is for one year. For your third and any subsequent refusal, the suspension jumps to three years.  The penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test are found in Connecticut General Statutes Annotated 14-227b.

Should You Refuse to Take a Mandatory DUI Test in Connecticut?

It usually does not help you to refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test when you are arrested for a DUI. In Connecticut, the consequences for refusal are much milder than those for a DUI, which include jail time, fines, and community service in addition to suspension of your license. Refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted – you can still be found guilty of a DUI even if your refusal means that the state does not have proof that your BAC was over.08%, the legal limit for those over 21. In fact, the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of DUI.

(Check out our blood alcohol content chart for an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to the legal limit.)

Get Help With Your DUI

If you have been arrested on a DUI charge in Connecticut or any other state, get help from an experienced DUI attorney. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DUI has serious consequences – especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about your state’s laws and about how the system works in your county’s court.

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