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People v. Tomlinson

April 24, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RENE A. TOMLINSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Ford County No. 97DT13 Honorable Scott Drazewski, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Defendant Rene Tomlinson was arrested on February 8, 1997, for driving under the influence of alcohol. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 1996). After her arrest, she was asked to take a breath test to determine her blood-alcohol level. She refused to take the test and her driving privileges were summarily suspended pursuant to section 11-501.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code). 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 (West 1996).

Defendant filed a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension, and a hearing was held on March 21, 1997. Defendant argued the suspension of her license must be rescinded because the Gibson police department (Department) did not comply with section 11-505.1(a) of the Code, which provides that law enforcement agencies "shall designate" which of the three chemical tests (blood, urine, or breath) shall be administered. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(a) (West 1996). The arresting officer testified he was not aware of any departmental policies or procedures that designated which of the chemical tests he was authorized to use, or the manner in which he should determine which test to use. The trial court denied defendant's petition. The court noted that according to section 2-118.1(b) of the Code, a law enforcement agency's failure to designate chemical tests could not be raised at a rescission hearing. 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1(b) (West 1996).

Defendant appeals, arguing the trial court should have rescinded her suspended license because the implied consent statute mandates that the Department designate which chemical tests will be administered before the defendant's license can be suspended. She argues the use of the language "shall designate" in the statute evidences the legislature's intent that the obligation to designate is mandatory, and the trial court should have considered this issue at the rescission hearing. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(a) (West 1996).

The Illinois implied consent statute 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, subject to the provisions of Section 11-501.2, to a chemical test or tests of blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the content of alcohol, other drug, or combination of both in the person's blood if arrested ***. The test or tests shall be administered at the direction of the arresting officer. The law enforcement agency employing the officer shall designate which of the aforesaid tests shall be administered." (Emphasis added.) 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(a) (West 1996).

A driver's refusal to submit to chemical testing results in the automatic suspension of driving privileges. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 (West 1996). The summary suspension system serves the salutary purpose of promptly removing impaired drivers from the road. People v. Moore, 138 Ill. 2d 162, 166, 561 N.E.2d 648, 650 (1990). Defendant may obtain a hearing on the summary suspension if a written request is provided within 90 days stating the grounds upon which defendant seeks to have the suspension rescinded. 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1 (West 1996). A summary suspension hearing is intended by the legislature to be swift and of limited scope. People v. Gafford, 218 Ill. App. 3d 492, 497, 578 N.E.2d 583, 586 (1991). The scope of the hearing is limited to four issues:

"1. Whether the person was placed under arrest ***; and

2. Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the person was driving *** a motor vehicle upon a highway while under the influence of alcohol, other drug, or combination of both; and

3. Whether the person, after being advised by the officer that the privilege to operate a motor vehicle would be suspended if the person refused to submit to and complete the test or tests, did refuse to submit to or complete the test or tests ***; or

4. Whether the person *** did submit to and complete the test or tests that determined an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more." 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1(b) (West 1996).

The driver has the burden of proving the suspension should be rescinded, and the trial court's decision will not be reversed unless it is against the manifest weight of the evidence. Gafford, 218 Ill. App. 3d at 497, 578 N.E.2d at 586.

The legislature limited the scope of a rescission hearing to four specific issues, none of which involve an agency's failure to designate chemical tests. 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1(b) (West 1996). The primary rule of statutory construction is to ascertain and give effect to the intention of the legislature, and that inquiry appropriately begins with the language of the statute. People v. Woodard, 175 Ill. 2d 435, 443, 677 N.E.2d 935, 939 (1997). In determining legislative intent, courts must give statutory language its plain and ordinary meaning. Lucas v. Lakin, 175 Ill. 2d 166, 171, 676 N.E.2d 637, 640 (1997). A ...


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