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Adams v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

May 22, 2018

NICHOLAS ADAMS
v.
COMMISSIONER OF MOTOR VEHICLES

          Argued January 22, 2018

         Procedural History

         Appeal from the decision by the defendant suspending the plaintiff's motor vehicle operator's license, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Britain and tried to the court, Huddleston, J.; judgment dismissing the appeal, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Jonathan Ross Sills, for the appellant (plaintiff).

          Christine Jean-Louis, assistant attorney general, with whom, on the brief, was George Jepsen, attorney general, for the appellee (defendant).

          Alvord, Keller and Bishop, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The plaintiff, Nicholas Adams, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (commissioner), dismissing his appeal from the decision of the commissioner to suspend his motor vehicle operator's license, pursuant to General Statutes § 14-227b, [1] for forty-five days and requiring an ignition interlock device in his motor vehicle for one year. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in finding that (1) he was operating a motor vehicle; (2) he refused to submit to chemical testing; and (3) the police had probable cause to arrest him for operating under the influence in violation of General Statutes § 14-227a.[2] We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to this appeal. On May 14, 2016, the plaintiff was arrested and charged with operating under the influence of liquor or drugs in violation of § 14-227a.[3] The plaintiff submitted to a Breathalyzer test, but refused a urine test. As a result of this refusal, and in accordance with § 14-227b, the plaintiff's motor vehicle operator's license was suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (department) for forty-five days, effective June 13, 2016, and he was required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in his vehicle for one year thereafter.

         Subsequently, the plaintiff requested, and was granted, an administrative hearing to contest the license suspension. The administrative hearing was held on June 8, 2016, before a department hearing officer, acting on behalf of the commissioner. The hearing officer rendered a decision the same day as the hearing, ordering the suspension of the plaintiff's motor vehicle operator's license or operating privilege for forty-five days and the installation of an ignition interlock device for one year thereafter.

         On June 17, 2016, the plaintiff filed an appeal in the Superior Court pursuant to General Statutes § 4-183, challenging the findings of the hearing officer that (1) there was probable cause to arrest him for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both; (2) he refused to submit to a chemical testing or analysis; and (3) he was operating the motor vehicle. A one day trial took place before the court on December 1, 2016. On March 7, 2017, the court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal and rendered judgment in favor of the commissioner. This appeal followed.

         Having carefully reviewed the record, the briefs submitted by the parties, and applicable law, we find no error in the trial court's determination. Accordingly, we adopt the well reasoned and clearly articulated decision of the trial court, en toto, as the opinion of this court.

         See Adams v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, Superior Court, judicial district of New Britain, Docket No. CV-16-6033742-S (March 7, 2017) (reprinted at 182 Conn.App. 169); see also Samakaab v. Dept. of Social Services, 178 Conn.App. 52, 54, 173 A.3d 1004 (2017).

         The judgment is affirmed.

         NICHOLAS ADAMS

         v.

         COMMISSIONEROF MOTOR VEHICLES [*]

         APPENDIX

         Superior Court, Judicial District of New Britain File No. CV-16-6033742-S

         Memorandum filed March 7, 2017

         Proceedings

         Memorandum of decision on plaintiff's appeal from decision by defendant suspending the plaintiff's motor vehicle operator's license. Appeal dismissed.

         OPINION

          HUDDLESTON, J.

         The plaintiff, Nicholas Adams, appeals from the decision of the defendant Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (commissioner) suspending his driver's license for forty-five days and requiring him to install and maintain an ignition interlock device for one year for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The plaintiff asserts that the hearing officer violated his right to due process, that the record lacks substantial evidence that he was operating a motor vehicle, that there was no probable cause for his arrest, and that there is insufficient evidence to support the finding that he refused a urine test. Most of these claims were not asserted in the hearing and ...


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