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Can a police officer confiscate my driver’s license?

Yes, the DMV regulation authorizes police to summarily suspend a license under certain conditions on behalf of the DMV commissioner and forward it to the DMV for further action.


The law also prohibits someone from refusing to surrender his driver’s license, registration certificate, insurance identification card, or vehicle license plate “on demand of the commissioner” or to fail to produce this license when requested by a court.


Although there is no law that explicitly grants police officers the authority to confiscate your driver's license, DMV regulation authorizes police to summarily suspend a license under certain conditions on behalf of the DMV commissioner and forward it to the DMV for further action, Specifically, this regulation states: "Upon the apprehension or arrest of any person operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state who in the judgment of the officer in charge of ant established police barracks, precinct or police station is an unfit person to operate a motor vehicle without endangering the safety of the public due to his physical or mental condition, the operator's license of such person shall be suspended and such officer may, in the name an on behalf of the commissioner, take possession of the operator's license of such person and forward the same to the commissioner's office within twenty-four hours, together with a brief statement and explanation of the offense or violation." (Conn. Agencies Regs. 14-217-1)


Based on the wording of the regulation ("upon the apprehension or arrest of any person"), it appears that the police officer does not necessarily have to arrest the person in order to take their license. But it also appears implied that there must be some offense or violation that formed a basis for the person's apprehension by the police officer.


The regulation was promulgated by the DMV in 1971. The statute under which it was issued (CGS 14-217) establishes certain requirements for drivers with respect to providing pertinent information to a police officer when requested. Specifically, it prohibits a driver from: 1. (a) refusing to give his mane and address and the name and address of the vehicle's owner, or (b) giving a false name or address when requested by any police officer in uniform or an authorized agent of the DMV commissioner who presents appropriate credentials, by any other person; 2. refusing to produce his registration certificate, license, or automobile insurance identification card upon demand of the officer or authorized agent; 3. preventing such officer or agent from taking the registration, license, or insurance card in hand for the purpose of examination; and 4. upon the officer's or agent's demand and in his presence, refusing to sign his name. The law also prohibits someone from refusing to surrender his driver's license, registration certificate, insurance identification card, or vehicle license plates "on demand of the commissioner" or to fail to produce his license when requested by court.

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