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03/09/88 the People of the State of v. Gerald S. Meyer

March 9, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

GERALD S. MEYER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

520 N.E.2d 1244, 166 Ill. App. 3d 1030, 117 Ill. Dec. 893 1988.IL.328

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Philip E. Schickedanz, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH and KNECHT, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND

On July 24, 1987, the circuit court of Sangamon County denied defendant Gerald Meyer's petition for judicial driving permit, finding defendant was not a first offender. Defendant appeals. We affirm.

On January 26, 1987, defendant was placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol in violation of section 11-501(a)(2) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)(2)). At that time, he submitted to chemical tests with a result of a blood-alcohol content of .11. Accordingly, he received a statutory summary suspension pursuant to sections 11-501.1 and 6-208.1 of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 11-501.1, 6-208.1) for a period of one year.

On June 9, 1987, the DUI charge was dismissed on motion of the State due to insufficient evidence. At the hearing on the petition for judicial driving permit, defendant stipulated that on December 13, 1982, he was placed on court supervision for a DUI offense. The court observed that only first offenders, as defined in the Code, could receive a judicial driving permit. The court then found that defendant was not such a first offender and denied the petition.

Defendant raises two arguments based on his unusual situation of receiving a statutory summary suspension and having the DUI charge dismissed. The first is that the classification in the Code which only allows first offenders to request judicial driving permits is deficient because in this case, defendant is not a repeat DUI offender, but he also cannot be considered a first offender under the statute. Defendant acknowledges that classifications which affect access to the courts are permissible if the classification is rationally related to the statute's purpose. (Lindsey v. Normet (1972), 405 U.S. 56, 70-74, 31 L. Ed. 2d 36, 48-51, 92 S. Ct. 862, 872-75; Griffin v. Illinois (1956), 351 U.S. 12, 22, 100 L. Ed. 891, 900-01, 76 S. Ct. 585, 592.) However, he argues that a rational relationship does not exist here.

Defendant also argues due process of law is violated by the statutory summary suspension framework since he receives the same penalty (a one-year suspension of driving privileges) for a statutory summary suspension, which only requires a showing of probable cause, as he would for a DUI conviction, which carries a burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt. The basis of both arguments that defendant asserts is that since the DUI charge is dismissed, he should really be treated as a first offender, but due to the "poorly constructed statutory scheme," he is being treated as a second offender.

This premise to defendant's argument is faulty because defendant fails to appreciate the distinction between the civil administrative case (the statutory summary suspension) and the criminal case (the DUI prosecution).

It is well accepted that implied-consent proceedings, which are predecessors to our current statutory summary suspension proceedings, are not a part of the criminal action but are, rather, separate and distinct proceedings. (People v. Golden (1983), 117 Ill. App. 3d 150, 154, 453 N.E.2d 15, 19; People v. Cassidy (1978), 67 Ill. App. 3d 43, 47, 384 N.E.2d 599, 603.) The suspension of the driver's license is an administrative function and is not part of the punishment for driving under the influence of alcohol but merely a regulatory measure. (People v. Finley (1974), 21 Ill. App. 3d 335, 340, 315 N.E.2d 229, 232; People v. Griffith (1986), 143 Ill. App. 3d 683, 686, 493 N.E.2d 413, 416.) As such, it progresses independently of the related criminal prosecution for DUI and may be held subsequent to the Disposition of the criminal charge. (Golden, 117 Ill. App. 3d at 154, 453 N.E.2d at 19.) In fact, a dismissal of the charge of DUI does not preclude a suspension of a defendant's driver's license under section 11-501.1 of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1). Golden, 117 Ill. App. 3d at 154, 453 N.E.2d at 19.

The Code provides that a person operating a vehicle on the roads of Illinois with a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 or more shall receive a statutory summary suspension. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1.) This is an administrative function of the Secretary of State. (People v. Adams (1984), 128 Ill. App. 3d 725, 729, 471 N.E.2d 575, 578.) To comply with due process, a defendant can request a hearing to rescind the statutory summary suspension. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-118.1.) This is a civil proceeding with a civil burden of proof.

A person with a statutory summary suspension who is a first offender, as defined by section 11-500 of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-500), may petition the court for a judicial driving permit. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.1.) A first offender is defined basically as any person who has not received a conviction or has been placed on court supervision for a DUI violation within the last five years. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ...


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