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People Ex Rel. Eppinga v. Edgar

OPINION FILED APRIL 18, 1986.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. RONALD EPPINGA, APPELLANT,

v.

JIM EDGAR, SECRETARY OF STATE, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Anthony J. Scotillo, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On March 1, 1985, the plaintiff, Ronald Eppinga, filed a complaint against Jim Edgar, the Secretary of State, in the circuit court of Cook County seeking restoration of his driving privileges and a declaration that the provision of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 95 1/2, par. 1-100 et seq.) under which his license was revoked was unconstitutional. On March 22, 1985, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary of State (Secretary), and we granted the plaintiff's motion for direct appeal under our Rule 302(b) (94 Ill.2d R. 302(b)).

On January 9, 1985, the plaintiff was involved in an automobile collision in Proviso Township. The police officer who came upon the scene determined that the plaintiff was traveling southbound in a northbound lane of a four-lane divided highway and struck a northbound vehicle head-on. The reporting officer and a companion officer detected a "strong odor" of alcohol on the plaintiff's breath and observed that his face was flushed and that his eyes were bloodshot. His speech was described as "confused" and "incoherent." The plaintiff first said that he did not know where he was and admitted to having had four or five drinks of scotch. He was arrested and charged with the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(2)). The driver and the passenger of the other vehicle were severely injured. The driver sustained a broken left knee, sprained left ankle, ruptured left lung, and multiple contusions on her face. The passenger's left arm was fractured in two places, requiring surgery. She also suffered a swelling of the facial area, a loss of short-term memory, and blurred vision. Weeks after the accident she continued to experience loss of memory and double vision.

On January 30, 1985, the State's Attorney of Cook County prepared a "Request for Administrative Revocation" certifying that the described charge had been filed against the plaintiff, and that serious bodily injury had resulted from the collision. The State's Attorney forwarded this request and the police reports to the Secretary. The Secretary found that the case was one in which he was authorized, under the Code and his own administrative rules, upon a showing of sufficient evidence, to revoke the plaintiff's driving privileges prior to his trial, because the offense was one "for which mandatory revocation of license or permit is required upon conviction" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206(a)(1)), and the incident leading to the charge "resulted in serious bodily injury or death" (8 Ill. Admin. Reg. 2200, 2203 (Feb. 17, 1984) (codified at 92 Ill. Admin. Code, ch. II, sec. 1040.35)).

In part, section 6-206 provides:

"Discretionary authority to suspend or revoke license or permit — Right to a hearing.

(a) The Secretary of State is authorized to suspend or revoke the license, permit or driving privileges of any person without preliminary hearing upon a showing by his records or other sufficient evidence that such person:

1. Has committed an offense for which mandatory revocation of license or permit is required upon conviction.

(c) 1. Upon suspending or revoking the license or permit of any person as authorized in this Section, the Secretary of State shall immediately notify such person in writing of the order revoking or suspending the license or permit. Such notice to be deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address of such person.

* * * the driver may request a hearing pursuant to Section 2-118 of this Code." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.)

Section 2-118 of the Code provides that if a hearing is requested, the date of the hearing shall be set within 20 days of receipt of the licensee's request. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-118(a).) Section 2-118(d) provides that "no person is [to be] deprived of due process of law," and the provision following states that the decision of the Secretary is subject to review in the circuit court. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-118(e).) Section 6-206(c)(3) provides that if the revocation is not rescinded by the Secretary after hearing, the driver may apply for a restricted driving permit to relieve "undue hardship."

The Secretary has adopted rules applicable to section 6-206. A statement of the rules is important for an understanding of the Secretary's action under the section:

"b)1) When the Secretary of State has received sufficient evidence that a person has committed one or more of the following offenses or ...


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