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03/23/88 the People of the State of v. Cheryl A. Esposito

March 23, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT

v.

CHERYL A. ESPOSITO, APPELLEE



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

521 N.E.2d 873, 121 Ill. 2d 491, 118 Ill. Dec. 396 1988.IL.412

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County, the Hon. John L. Peterson, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WARD delivered the opinion of the court.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WARD

The State brings this direct appeal under Rule 302(a) from a judgment of the circuit court of Kane County which held unconstitutional sections 11-501.1 and 6-206.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 11-501.1, 6-206.1), the provisions which authorize the summary suspension of driving privileges and the issuance of judicial driving permits.

The defendant, Cheryl Esposito, was stopped on March 9, 1986, after a police officer observed her automobile twice cross the center line of the road. Observing that her eyes were bloodshot and detecting a strong odor of alcohol on her breath, the officer requested the defendant to submit to a breathalyzer test. She complied, and the test revealed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.16. She was then placed under arrest and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(2)), and with driving with a blood-alcohol concentration in excess of 0.10 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(1)). The defendant was subsequently notified that the Secretary of State (hereafter, Secretary) had summarily suspended her driving privileges under section 11-501.1 of the Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1). Following notification to her of the summary suspension, the defendant petitioned the circuit court of Kane County for a judicial driving permit pursuant to section 6-206.1 of the Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.1), and a JDP for work-related driving was issued. She also filed a petition for a hearing to rescind the summary suspension, pursuant to section 2-118.1(b) of the Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, 95 1/2, par. 2-118.1(b)). Along with this petition she filed a motion to dismiss "the cause" pending against her, contending, inter alia, that the statutory provisions which authorize the summary suspension of driving privileges (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1) and the issuance of judicial driving permits (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.1) violate the United States and Illinois Constitutions.

At the hearing on her motion, the circuit court declared sections 11 -- 501.1 and 6 -- 206.1 invalid under the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 2, of the Illinois Constitution. The court also held section 6 -- 206.1 invalid under the separation of powers clause of the Constitution of Illinois. The court later stayed the effect of its order pending the outcome of an appeal. The Secretary then appealed directly to this court under Supreme Court Rule 302(a) (107 Ill. 2d R. 302(a)).

This appeal presents these questions for review: (1) whether the summary suspension procedure established in section 11-501.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1) violates the equal protection clauses of the Illinois and United States Constitutions, or deprives Illinois drivers of due process of law; and (2) whether section 6-206.1 of the Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.1), which authorizes courts to issue judicial driving permits, violates the separation of powers doctrine of the Illinois Constitution or the equal protection guarantee of the Illinois and United States Constitutions. I

We first address the defendant's challenge to section 11 -- 501.1 of the Vehicle Code. Like all legislative enactments, this statutory provision carries a strong presumption of constitutionality (Bernier v. Burris (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 219, 227; People v. Joseph (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 36, 41), and all doubts must be resolved in favor of its validity (Harris v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1986), 111 Ill. 2d 350, 363). Accordingly, the burden rests on the defendant, as the challenging party, to rebut this presumption and to introduce evidence which demonstrates that the statute is unconstitutional. (People v. Bales (1985), 108 Ill. 2d 182, 188.) Describing the summary suspension process will aid understanding of our analysis of the defendant's challenges to section 11 -- 501.1.

Section 11 -- 501 of the Vehicle Code prohibits persons from driving or being in physical control of a vehicle anywhere in the State while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or combination thereof. The statute specifies four categories of persons prohibited from driving: (1) persons with an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more in their blood or breath; (2) persons under the influence of alcohol; (3) persons under the influence of drugs; (4) and persons under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. Subsections 11 -- 501(b) through (e) state the criminal penalties imposed on those convicted of violating the statute.

Section 11 -- 501.1, the statute challenged here, implements the so-called "implied consent" concept and establishes the civil consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That section provides:

"Any 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 if arrested, as evidenced by the issuance of a Uniform Traffic Ticket, for any offense as defined in Section 11-501 or a similar provision of a local ordinance. The test or tests shall be administered at the direction of the arresting officer. The law enforcement agency employing said officer shall designate which of the aforesaid tests shall be administered." (Emphasis added.) Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1(a).

In addition to establishing the implied-consent concept, section 11-501.1 authorizes the Secretary to summarily suspend the driving privileges of two classes of offenders: (1) drivers who have been arrested and refuse to submit to a chemical test, and (2) drivers who have been arrested and submit to a chemical test which indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more in their blood, urine or breath. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 11-501.1(d), (e).) The statute requires the law enforcement officer requesting a test to warn the motorist that refusal to submit to a test and that submission to a test which reveals an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more will result in a suspension of driving privileges for the prescribed statutory period. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1(c).) If a person refuses to take a test, the arresting officer must certify this refusal in a sworn report which is sent to the court of venue and the Secretary. The Secretary then enters a statutory summary suspension for a six-month period. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-208.1.) If a driver submits to a test which discloses an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more (either immediately or through subsequent analysis of blood or urine collected at the time of the arrest), the officer similarly submits a sworn report and the Secretary imposes a summary suspension of driving privileges for a three month period. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 11-501.1, 6-208.1.) The statute requires the officer submitting the sworn report to serve immediate notice on the driver and to confiscate any Illinois driver's license or permit found on the motorist at the time of arrest. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1(f).) Those persons with valid licenses or permits are issued a receipt which allows them to drive until the summary suspension takes effect on the 46th day following the date that the driver is notified of the suspension. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 11-501.1(f), (g).

We first consider the defendant's contention that section 11 -- 501.1 creates an unreasonable classification violative of the equal protection provisions of the United States and the Illinois Constitutions. Courts generally employ a two-stage analysis to determine whether a legislative classification deprives individuals of equal protection. Initially, the court determines the proper level of scrutiny to be applied to the challenged classification. When the statute under consideration affects a fundamental right or discriminates against a suspect class, courts will subject the legislation to strict scrutiny and uphold it only if it serves a compelling State interest. (See Harris v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1986), 111 Ill. 2d 350; People v. Tosch (1986), 114 Ill. 2d 474; Wilson v. All-Steel, Inc. (1981), 87 Ill. 2d 28, 34.) Because the classification challenged here does not affect a fundamental right or discriminate against a suspect class, the proper standard for judging the statute is the familiar rational basis test. (People v. Tosch (1986), 114 Ill. 2d 474.) Under this test, a statutory classification must bear a rational relationship to a valid legislative purpose and the classifications created by the statute will be set aside as violative of the equal protection clause only if based on reasons totally unrelated to the pursuit of a legitimate State goal. Harris v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1986), 111 Ill. 2d 350.

The defendant advances two arguments to support her claim that section 11 -- 501.1 violates the equal protection guarantee. She first argues that section 11 -- 501.1 violates the equal protection clause by treating persons who drive on public highways while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof, differently than persons who drive on private property while so impaired. In support of her claim, the defendant relies on an alleged inconsistency between section 11 -- 501, which penalizes impaired drivers who drive anywhere in the State, and section 11 -- 501.1, which applies the implied consent concept and summary suspension procedure only to those who drive on public highways. This distinction is irrational, she argues, because the hazards which the legislature seeks to eliminate are just as great when an intoxicated person drives on private property, such as a shopping mall parking lot, as they are on a public highway. She claims, and we Judge, erroneously, that the legislature therefore acted arbitrarily in limiting the application of section 11 -- 501.1 to motorists who drive on public highways.

The equal protection clauses of the United States and Illinois Constitutions do not prohibit the General Assembly from enacting legislation which affects different classes of persons differently. In the absence of involvement of a fundamental right, the legislature may even differentiate between persons similarly situated if there is a rational basis for doing so. (People v. Tosch (1986), 114 Ill. 2d 474, 481.) The legislature apparently did not regard the menace which intoxicated drivers pose to be the same to persons using private ways, driveways, and parking lots as it was to persons on public highways. Because a greater number of persons drive on public highways and because typically higher speeds are to be found on public highways than on private property, the legislature may have not unreasonably decided to limit the operation of the implied-consent statute to areas where impaired drivers pose the greatest threat to public safety.

Nor does the fact that section 11 -- 501 prohibits intoxicated motorists from driving anywhere in the State, rather than only on public highways, alter our Conclusion. As stated above, section 11 -- 501 outlines the criminal penalties imposed on persons who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legislature may have rationally concluded that all persons who drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof should be punished with criminal liability. Section 11 -- 501.1, on the other hand, is civil, rather than penal in nature. (People v. Adams (1984), 128 Ill. App. 3d 725.) The implied-consent concept and the statutory summary suspension procedure were intended to protect the public, not to punish the licensee. The legislature could have rationally concluded that applying the implied-consent concept and statutory summary suspension only to persons driving on public highways adequately protected the public. It may be argued, of course, that the legislature should have drafted section 11 -- 501.1 so that all persons who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs ...


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