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10/05/87 the People of the State of v. John R. Hamilton

October 5, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT

v.

JOHN R. HAMILTON, APPELLEE



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

514 N.E.2d 965, 118 Ill. 2d 153, 113 Ill. Dec. 53 1987.IL.1500

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Williamson County, the Hon. William G. Schwartz, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE RYAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RYAN

The State brings this direct appeal from a decision of the circuit court of Williamson County which invalidated a portion of Illinois' driver's license statutory summary suspension procedure. Specifically, the circuit court held that section 2-118.1(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-118.1(b)), insofar as it purports to limit the issues which may be raised at a driver's license summary suspension rescission hearing, violates due process and that the procedure also violates the doctrine of separation of powers.

On February 21, 1986, the defendant's automobile was stopped by a police officer in the city of Herrin, Illinois. The officer noticed the odor of alcohol, and the defendant admitted he had been drinking. The defendant then was given and failed three field sobriety tests. He was then arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol . He was taken to the police station, where the officer administered a chemical breath test which disclosed that the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.11. Section 11-501(a) of the Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)) provides that a person shall not drive or operate any vehicle while the alcohol concentration in such person's blood or breath is 0.10 or more. Accordingly, the defendant's driving privileges were summarily suspended pursuant to section 11-501.1 of the Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1).

Subsequently, the defendant filed a petition for a hearing to seek rescission of his statutory summary suspension, pursuant to section 2-118.1(b) of the Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-118.1(b)). He also filed a motion to dismiss the criminal DUI charge, contending, inter alia, that the hearing provided for under section 2-118.1(b) did not comport with due process, and that the overall statutory hearing scheme violated the separation of powers doctrine.

The circuit court granted the defendant's motion and held section 2 -- 118.1(b) invalid on both due process and separation of powers grounds. The court's order only affected the summary suspension of the defendant's driving privileges; the underlying criminal proceeding for the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol remained pending in the circuit court. The State then appealed directly to this court under Rule 302(a) (94 Ill. 2d R. 302(a)).

This case involves the interplay of a number of related statutes. Thus, in order to adequately address the issue presented, it is necessary to briefly summarize the driver's license statutory summary suspension process.

Section 11-501.1 is the foundation of the so-called "implied consent" concept. That section provides, in pertinent part, that "[a]ny person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon the public highways of this State shall be deemed to have given consent . . . to a chemical test or tests of blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol, other drug, or combination thereof content of such person's blood . . .." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1(a).

Section 6-208.1 specifies the time periods of such summary suspension under section 11-501.1. Refusal to submit to testing will result in a suspension of six months from the effective date of such refusal. A test which discloses an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more will result in a three-month suspension. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-208.1.

Against this backdrop, we turn to the provisions which are the focus of this appeal. Section 2 -- 118.1 of the Vehicle Code provides that a person whose driving privileges are to be summarily suspended may request a hearing in the circuit court to ...


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