Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 101

Public Act No. 04-250

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION OF DRUNKEN DRIVERS AND THE PRETRIAL ALCOHOL EDUCATION SYSTEM.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 14-227b of the general statutes, as amended by sections 48 and 49 of public act 03-278, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) 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.

(b) If any such person, having been placed under arrest for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, and thereafter, after being apprised of such person's constitutional rights, having been requested to submit to a blood, breath or urine test at the option of the police officer, having been afforded a reasonable opportunity to telephone an attorney prior to the performance of such test and having been informed that such person's license or nonresident operating privilege may be suspended in accordance with the provisions of this section if such person refuses to submit to such test or if such person submits to such test and the results of such test indicate that such person has an elevated blood alcohol content, and that evidence of any such refusal shall be admissible in accordance with subsection (e) of section 14-227a, as amended, and may be used against such person in any criminal prosecution, refuses to submit to the designated test, the test shall not be given; provided, if the person refuses or is unable to submit to a blood test, the police officer shall designate the breath or urine test as the test to be taken. The police officer shall make a notation upon the records of the police department that such officer informed the person that such person's license or nonresident operating privilege may be suspended if such person refused to submit to such test or if such person submitted to such test and the results of such test indicated that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content.

(c) If the person arrested refuses to submit to such test or analysis or submits to such test or analysis, commenced within two hours of the time of operation, and the results of such test or analysis indicate that such person has an elevated blood alcohol content, the police officer, acting on behalf of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, shall immediately revoke and take possession of the motor vehicle operator's license or, if such person is a nonresident, suspend the nonresident operating privilege of such person, for a twenty-four-hour period. The police officer shall prepare a written report of the incident and shall mail the report and a copy of the results of any chemical test or analysis to the Department of Motor Vehicles within three business days. The report shall be made on a form approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and shall be subscribed and sworn to under penalty of false statement as provided in section 53a-157b by the arresting officer. If the person arrested refused to submit to such test or analysis, the report shall be endorsed by a third person who witnessed such refusal. The report shall set forth the grounds for the officer's belief that there was probable cause to arrest such person for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both and shall state that such person had refused to submit to such test or analysis when requested by such police officer to do so or that such person submitted 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.

(d) If the person arrested submits to a blood or urine test at the request of the police officer, and the specimen requires laboratory analysis in order to obtain the test results, the police officer shall not take possession of the motor vehicle operator's license of such person or, except as provided in this subsection, follow the procedures subsequent to taking possession of the operator's license as set forth in subsection (c) of this section. If the test results indicate that such person has an elevated blood alcohol content, the police officer, immediately upon receipt of the test results, shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and submit to the commissioner the written report required pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(e) (1) [Upon] Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, upon receipt of such report, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may suspend any license or nonresident operating privilege of such person effective as of a date certain, which date shall be not later than thirty days after the date such person received notice of such person's arrest by the police officer. Any person whose license or operating privilege has been suspended in accordance with this [subsection] subdivision shall automatically be entitled to a hearing before the commissioner to be held prior to the effective date of the suspension. The commissioner shall send a suspension notice to such person informing such person that such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege is suspended as of a date certain and that such person is entitled to a hearing prior to the effective date of the suspension and may schedule such hearing by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles not later than seven days after the date of mailing of such suspension notice.

(2) If the person arrested (A) is involved in an accident resulting in a fatality, or (B) has previously had such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege suspended under the provisions of section 14-227a, as amended, during the ten-year period preceding the present arrest, upon receipt of such report, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may suspend any license or nonresident operating privilege of such person effective as of the date specified in a notice of such suspension to such person. Any person whose license or operating privilege has been suspended in accordance with this subdivision shall automatically be entitled to a hearing before the commissioner. The commissioner shall send a suspension notice to such person informing such person that such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege is suspended as of the date specified in such suspension notice, and that such person is entitled to a hearing and may schedule such hearing by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles not later than seven days after the date of mailing of such suspension notice. Any suspension issued under this subdivision shall remain in effect until such suspension is affirmed or such license or operating privilege is reinstated in accordance with subsections (f) and (h) of this section.

(f) If such person does not contact the department to schedule a hearing, the commissioner shall affirm the suspension contained in the suspension notice for the appropriate period specified in subsection (i) of this section.

(g) If such person contacts the department to schedule a hearing, the department shall assign a date, time and place for the hearing, which date shall be prior to the effective date of the suspension, except that, with respect to a person whose license or nonresident operating privilege is suspended in accordance with subdivision (2) of subsection (e) of this section, such hearing shall be scheduled not later than thirty days after such person contacts the department. At the request of such person or the hearing officer and upon a showing of good cause, the commissioner may grant one continuance for a period not to exceed fifteen days. The hearing shall be limited to a determination of the following issues: (1) 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; (2) was such person placed under arrest; (3) 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 (4) was such person operating the motor vehicle. In the hearing, the results of the test or analysis shall be sufficient to indicate the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person at the time of operation, except that if the results of the additional test indicate that the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person is twelve-hundredths of one per cent or less of alcohol, by weight, and is higher than the results of the first test, evidence shall be presented that demonstrates that the test results and analysis thereof accurately indicate the blood alcohol content at the time of operation. The fees of any witness summoned to appear at the hearing shall be the same as provided by the general statutes for witnesses in criminal cases.

(h) If, after such hearing, the commissioner finds on any one of the said issues in the negative, the commissioner shall reinstate such license or operating privilege. If, after such hearing, the commissioner does not find on any one of the said issues in the negative or if such person fails to appear at such hearing, the commissioner shall affirm the suspension contained in the suspension notice for the appropriate period specified in subsection (i) of this section. The commissioner shall render a decision at the conclusion of such hearing or send a notice of the decision by bulk certified mail to such person not later than thirty days or, if a continuance is granted, not later than forty-five days from the date such person received notice of such person's arrest by the police officer. The notice of such decision sent by certified mail to the address of such person as shown by the records of the commissioner shall be sufficient notice to such person that such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege is reinstated or suspended, as the case may be. Unless a continuance of the hearing is granted pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, if the commissioner fails to render a decision within thirty days from the date such person received notice of such person's arrest by the police officer, the commissioner shall reinstate such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege, provided notwithstanding such reinstatement the commissioner may render a decision not later than two days thereafter suspending such operator's license or nonresident operating privilege.

(i) The commissioner shall suspend the operator's license or nonresident operating privilege of a person who did not contact the department to schedule a hearing, who failed to appear at a hearing or against whom, after a hearing, the commissioner held pursuant to subsection (h) of this section, as of the effective date contained in the suspension notice or the date the commissioner renders a decision, whichever is later, for a period of: (1) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, ninety days, if such person submitted to a test or analysis and the results of such test or analysis indicated that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content, (B) one hundred twenty days, if such person submitted to a test or analysis and the results of such test or analysis indicated that the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person was sixteen-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, or (C) six months if such person refused to submit to such test or analysis, (2) if such person has previously had such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege suspended under this section, (A) except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, nine months if such person submitted to a test or analysis and the results of such test or analysis indicated that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content, (B) ten months if such person submitted to a test or analysis and the results of such test or analysis indicated that the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person was sixteen-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, and (C) one year if such person refused to submit to such test or analysis, and (3) if such person has two or more times previously had such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege suspended under this section, (A) except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, two years if such person submitted to a test or analysis and the results of such test or analysis indicated that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content, (B) two and one-half years if such person submitted to a test or analysis and the results of such test or analysis indicated that the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person was sixteen-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, and (C) three years if such person refused to submit to such test or analysis.

(j) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (b) to (i), inclusive, of this section, any police officer who obtains the results of a chemical analysis of a blood sample taken from an operator of a motor vehicle involved in an accident who suffered or allegedly suffered physical injury in such accident shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and submit to the commissioner a written report if such results indicate that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content, and if such person was arrested for violation of section 14-227a, as amended, in connection with such accident. The report shall be made on a form approved by the commissioner containing such information as the commissioner prescribes, and shall be subscribed and sworn to under penalty of false statement, as provided in section 53a-157b, by the police officer. The commissioner may, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, which shall be conducted in accordance with chapter 54, suspend the motor vehicle operator's license or nonresident operating privilege of such person for a period of up to ninety days, or, if such person has previously had such person's operator's license or nonresident operating privilege suspended under this section for a period of up to one year. Each hearing conducted under this subsection shall be limited to a determination of the following issues: (1) Whether the police officer had probable cause to arrest the person for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drug or both; (2) whether such person was placed under arrest; (3) whether such person was operating the motor vehicle; (4) whether the results of the analysis of the blood of such person indicate that such person had an elevated blood alcohol content; and (5) whether the blood sample was obtained in accordance with conditions for admissibility and competence as evidence as set forth in subsection (j) of section 14-227a, as amended. If, after such hearing, the commissioner finds on any one of the said issues in the negative, the commissioner shall not impose a suspension. The fees of any witness summoned to appear at the hearing shall be the same as provided by the general statutes for witnesses in criminal cases, as provided in section 52-260.

(k) The provisions of this section shall apply with the same effect to the refusal by any person to submit to an additional chemical test as provided in subdivision (5) of subsection (b) of section 14-227a, as amended.

(l) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person whose physical condition is such that, according to competent medical advice, such test would be inadvisable.

(m) The state shall pay the reasonable charges of any physician who, at the request of a municipal police department, takes a blood sample for purposes of a test under the provisions of this section.

(n) For the purposes of this section, "elevated blood alcohol content" means (1) a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is eight-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, or (2) if such person is under twenty-one years of age, a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is two-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight.

(o) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this section.

Sec. 2. Section 54-56g of the general statutes, as amended by sections 11 and 13 of public act 03-244 and section 177 of public act 03-6 of the June 30 special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) There shall be a pretrial alcohol education system for persons charged with a violation of section 14-227a, as amended, [or] 14-227g, [and the provisions of sections] 15-133, as amended, 15-140l, as amended, [and] or 15-140n, as amended. Upon application by any such person for participation in such system and payment to the court of an application fee of fifty dollars and a nonrefundable evaluation fee of one hundred dollars, the court shall, but only as to the public, order the court file sealed, provided such person states under oath, in open court or before any person designated by the clerk and duly authorized to administer oaths, under penalties of perjury that: (1) If such person is charged with a violation of section 14-227a, as amended, such person has not had such system invoked in such person's behalf within the preceding ten years for a violation of section 14-227a, as amended, (2) if such person is charged with a violation of section 14-227g, such person has never had such system invoked in such person's behalf for a violation of section 14-227a, as amended, or 14-227g, (3) such person has not been convicted of a violation of section 53a-56b or 53a-60d, a violation of subsection (a) of section 14-227a, as amended, before or after October 1, 1981, or a violation of subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227a, as amended, on or after October 1, 1985, and (4) such person has not been convicted in any other state at any time of an offense the essential elements of which are substantially the same as section 53a-56b or 53a-60d or subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227a, as amended. Unless good cause is shown, a person shall be ineligible for participation in such pretrial alcohol education system if such person's alleged violation of section 14-227a, as amended, or 14-227g caused the serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3, of another person. The application fee imposed by this subsection shall be credited to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund established by section 54-215, as amended.

(b) The court, after consideration of the recommendation of the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney in charge of the case, may, in its discretion, grant such application. If the court grants such application, it shall refer such person to the Court Support Services Division for assessment and confirmation of the eligibility of the applicant and to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for evaluation. The Court Support Services Division, in making its assessment and confirmation, may rely on the representations made by the applicant under oath in open court with respect to convictions in other states of offenses specified in subsection (a) of this section. Upon confirmation of eligibility and receipt of the evaluation report, the defendant shall be referred to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services by the Court Support Services Division for placement in an appropriate alcohol intervention program for one year, or be placed in a state-licensed substance abuse treatment program. Any person who enters the system shall agree: (1) To the tolling of the statute of limitations with respect to such crime, (2) to a waiver of such person's right to a speedy trial, (3) to complete ten or fifteen counseling sessions in an alcohol intervention program or successfully complete a substance abuse treatment program of not less than twelve sessions pursuant to this section dependent upon the evaluation report and the court order, (4) upon completion of participation in the alcohol intervention program, to accept placement in a treatment program upon recommendation of a provider under contract with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services pursuant to subsection (d) of this section or placement in a state-licensed treatment program which [has standards substantially similar to, or higher than, a program of a provider under contract with] meets standards established by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, if the Court Support Services Division deems it appropriate, and (5) if ordered by the court, to participate in at least one victim impact panel. The suspension of the motor vehicle operator's license of any such person pursuant to section 14-227b, as amended by this act, shall be effective during the period such person is participating in such program, provided such person shall have the option of not commencing the participation in such program until the period of such suspension is completed. If the Court Support Services Division informs the court that the defendant is ineligible for the system and the court makes a determination of ineligibility or if the program provider certifies to the court that the defendant did not successfully complete the assigned program or is no longer amenable to treatment, the court shall order the court file to be unsealed, enter a plea of not guilty for such defendant and immediately place the case on the trial list. If such defendant satisfactorily completes the assigned program, such defendant may apply for dismissal of the charges against such defendant and the court, on reviewing the record of the defendant's participation in such program submitted by the Court Support Services Division and on finding such satisfactory completion, shall dismiss the charges. If the defendant does not apply for dismissal of the charges against such defendant after satisfactorily completing the assigned program the court, upon receipt of the record of the defendant's participation in such program submitted by the Court Support Services Division, may on its own motion make a finding of such satisfactory completion and dismiss the charges. Upon motion of the defendant and a showing of good cause, the court may extend the one-year placement period for a reasonable period for the defendant to complete the assigned program. A record of participation in such program shall be retained by the Court Support Services Division for a period of seven years from the date of application. The Court Support Services Division shall transmit to the Department of Motor Vehicles a record of participation in such program for each person who satisfactorily completes such program. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall maintain for a period of seven years the record of a person's participation in such program as part of such person's driving record. The Court Support Services Division shall transmit to the Department of Environmental Protection the record of participation of any person who satisfactorily completes such program who has been charged with a violation of the provisions of section 15-133, as amended, 15-140l, as amended, or 15-140n, as amended. The Department of Environmental Protection shall maintain for a period of seven years the record of a person's participation in such program as a part of such person's boater certification record.

(c) At the time the court grants the application for participation in the [pretrial alcohol education system] alcohol intervention program, such person shall also pay to the court a nonrefundable program fee of three hundred twenty-five dollars if such person is ordered to participate in the ten-session program and a nonrefundable program fee of five hundred dollars if such person is ordered to participate in the fifteen-session program. [, except that no] If the court grants participation in a treatment program, such person shall be responsible for the costs associated with participation in such program. No person may be excluded from [such] either program for inability to pay such fee or cost, provided (1) such person files with the court an affidavit of indigency or inability to pay, (2) such indigency or inability to pay is confirmed by the Court Support Services Division, and (3) the court enters a finding thereof. If the court finds that a person is indigent or unable to pay for a treatment program, the costs of such program shall be paid for from the pretrial account established under section 54-56k. If the court denies the application, such person shall not be required to pay the program fee. If the court grants the application, and such person is later determined to be ineligible for participation in such pretrial alcohol education system or fails to complete the assigned program, the program fee shall not be refunded. All such evaluation and program fees shall be credited to the pretrial account established under section 54-56k.

(d) The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services shall contract with service providers, develop standards and oversee appropriate alcohol programs to meet the requirements of this section. Said department shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 to establish standards for such alcohol programs. Any person ordered to participate in a treatment program shall do so at a state-licensed treatment program which meets the standards established by said department. Any defendant whose employment or residence makes it unreasonable to attend an alcohol intervention program or a treatment program in this state may attend a program in another state which has standards substantially similar to, or higher than, those of this state, subject to the approval of the court and payment of the application, evaluation and program fees, as appropriate, as provided in this section.

(e) The court may, as a condition of granting such application, require that such person participate in a victim impact panel program approved by the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department. Such victim impact panel program shall provide a nonconfrontational forum for the victims of alcohol-related or drug-related offenses and offenders to share experiences on the impact of alcohol-related or drug-related incidents in their lives. Such victim impact panel program shall be conducted by a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of victims of accidents caused by persons who operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both. Such organization may assess a participation fee of not more than twenty-five dollars on any person required by the court to participate in such program.

Sec. 3. Section 14-50b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

(a) Any person whose operator's license or right to operate a motor vehicle in this state has been suspended or revoked by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, or who has been disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle, shall pay a restoration fee of one hundred twenty-five dollars to said commissioner prior to the issuance to such person of a new operator's license or the restoration of such operator's license or such privilege to operate a motor vehicle or commercial motor vehicle. Such restoration fee shall be in addition to any other fees provided by law.

(b) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection any person whose motor vehicle registration or right of operation of a motor vehicle in this state has been suspended or revoked by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall pay a restoration fee of one hundred twenty-five dollars to said commissioner prior to the issuance to such person of a new registration or the restoration of such registration or such right of operation. Such restoration fee shall be in addition to any other fees provided by law.

(2) Any person whose motor vehicle registration has been cancelled pursuant to section 14-12g shall pay a restoration fee of the aggregate of two hundred fifty dollars for the first thirty-one days such registration is cancelled, or any portion thereof, and five dollars for each additional day such registration is cancelled, not to exceed ninety days or five hundred forty-five dollars, except that the commissioner may reduce the restoration fee to the amount of one hundred dollars if the commissioner finds that the vehicle was not operated during the period of such cancellation and during the period such owner failed to maintain mandatory security.

(c) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, on and after the effective date of this section, the first two hundred fifty thousand dollars of revenues collected from the payment of restoration fees under this section shall be appropriated to the Department of Motor Vehicles for the payment of costs, including, but not limited to, the cost of computer reprogramming, incurred by the department in establishing procedures for the suspension of operator's licenses or nonresident operating privileges under subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2004) Any operator of a motor vehicle who strikes any officer, as defined in section 14-1 of the general statutes, as amended, or any fire police officer, appointed in accordance with section 7-313a of the general statutes, as amended, with such motor vehicle while such officer or fire police officer is engaged in traffic control or regulation, provided such officer is in uniform or prominently displaying the badge of his office, and such fire police officer is in compliance with the provisions of section 7-313a of the general statutes, as amended, such operator shall be deemed to have committed an infraction and shall be fined not less than one hundred fifty dollars nor more than two hundred dollars and, for a subsequent offense, shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both.

Sec. 5. Section 14-227c of the general statutes, as amended by section 4 of public act 03-265, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) As part of the investigation of any motor vehicle accident resulting in the death of a person, the Chief Medical Examiner, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, an associate medical examiner, a pathologist as specified in section 19a-405, or an authorized assistant medical examiner, as the case may be, shall order that a blood sample be taken from the body of any operator or pedestrian who dies as a result of such accident. Such blood samples shall be examined for the presence and concentration of alcohol and any drug by the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Public Safety or by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Nothing in this subsection or section 19a-406 shall be construed as requiring such medical examiner to perform an autopsy in connection with obtaining such blood samples.

(b) A blood or breath sample shall be obtained from any surviving operator whose motor vehicle is involved in an accident resulting in the serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3, or death of another person, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that such operator operated such motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both. The test shall be performed by or at the direction of a police officer according to methods and with equipment approved by the Department of Public Safety and shall be performed by a person certified or recertified for such purpose by said department or recertified by persons certified as instructors by the Commissioner of Public Safety. The equipment used for such test shall be checked for accuracy by a person certified by the Department of Public Safety immediately before and after such test is performed. If a blood test is performed, it shall be on a blood sample taken by a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this state, a qualified laboratory technician, an emergency medical technician II, a registered nurse, a physician assistant or a phlebotomist. The blood samples obtained from an operator pursuant to this subsection shall be examined for the presence and concentration of alcohol and any drug by the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Public Safety.

Approved June 3, 2004