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What Happens If You Refuse a DUI Test in Connecticut?

May 10, 2024Articles

Connecticut takes drinking and driving seriously. There were 2,967 drunk driving convictions in Connecticut between 2021 and 2022. Even more alarming, Connecticut saw over 8,000 DUI-related traffic accidents during that same period with 200 fatal crashes—40% of which were fatalities to innocent victims, not the intoxicated driver.

When a law enforcement offer has reasonable cause to suspect a driver is under the influence of alcohol, they may perform a traffic stop and request a DUI test. But what happens if the driver refuses the test? Are drivers correct to assume there cannot be a DUI conviction in Connecticut without a DUI test?

You May Face DUI Charges as Well as License Suspension by Refusing a DUI Test in Connecticut

When a driver is intoxicated they often make a series of bad choices—beginning with the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking. Another bad choice is refusing a DUI. DUI suspects may think they improve their chances of getting off without a conviction or even charges if they refuse to give law enforcement evidence by agreeing to a breathalyzer or blood test; however, the officer may still obtain a warrant and arrest the suspect on reasonable suspicion. Then, the prosecution will almost certainly use the suspect’s refusal to take the test against them in court to show that not only were they drunk, but the only reason to refuse the test is that they were aware that they were above the legal limit and intentionally drove while intoxicated.

In the unlikely event that law enforcement chooses not to make a DUI arrest, or they do make the arrest but the suspect isn’t convicted, the suspect still loses their license for refusing the test.

License Suspension After Refusing a DUI Test in Connecticut

When a DUI suspect refuses to submit to testing, the law enforcement officer takes their license for an immediate suspension. The suspect loses their right to drive on the spot during their arrest. The arresting officer sends an affidavit to the Connecticut DMV to revoke the driver’s license. The official report includes the officer’s reasons to suspect the victim was drunk and could include details such as the following:


  • The driver was weaving dangerously in and out of the lane and randomly braking
  • The driver had red eyes, smelled strongly of alcohol, and was slurring their words
  • The driver acted irrationally, refused to take a breathalyzer test, and was stumbling

The officer may also perform a field sobriety test during the arrest and add the details of the test results.

A suspected drunk driver may request a hearing at the DMV to tell their side of the story and ask for a reinstatement of their license, but in most cases, the arresting officer also attends the hearing and explains their reasons for the traffic stop and why they suspected the driver was intoxicated when they refused the test.

With or without the case ending in a DUI conviction, a first-time refusal for those over the age of 21 results in a six-month license suspension. Those between ages 18 and 20 face a one-year suspension while suspects under 17 who refuse a test face license suspension for 18 months.

Implied Consent in Connecticut

When you receive a Connecticut driver’s license and sign it, you are giving your implied consent to alcohol and drug testing. Under this implied consent law, Connecticut has the right to suspend your license for refusing DUI testing.