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People v. Davis

June 08, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ANTHONY T. DAVIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Slater,

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Whiteside County, Illinois,

No. 97--DT--24

Honorable John L. Hauptman, Judge, Presiding.

JUSTICE SLATER delivered the opinion of the court:

This case presents a single issue: whether the results of a preliminary breath screening test (PBT) obtained pursuant to section 11- 501.5 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (625 ILCS 5/11-501.5 (West 1996)) are admissible by the State at a hearing on defendant's motion to suppress evidence and quash his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501 (West 1996))? We hold that such results are admissible.

Facts

On January 22, 1997, a van driven by defendant Anthony T. Davis was stopped by officer Thomas Hochbaum of the Fulton police department because of an equipment violation. According to Hochbaum, the defendant's eyes were bloodshot, his breath smelled of alcohol and he admitted that he had "had a few." Hochbaum administered three field sobriety tests which, in Hochbaum's opinion, the defendant either failed or failed to complete. Defendant also failed a PBT. After the defendant was arrested for DUI, he submitted to a breathalyzer examination which showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15.

Defendant subsequently filed a petition to rescind his statutory summary suspension in which he argued, inter alia, that officer Hochbaum did not have reasonable grounds to believe that defendant was under the influence of alcohol. At the hearing on the motion, the State sought to introduce the fact that defendant had failed the PBT. However, defendant's objection on the basis of lack of foundation was sustained. The trial court later granted defendant's rescission motion. The State did not appeal from that decision and it is not at issue here.

Thereafter, defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, contending that officer Hochbaum did not have probable cause to arrest him and that the results of the breathalyzer test should be suppressed. At the hearing on the motion, the parties stipulated that the evidence presented at the recision hearing would be admitted and considered as evidence on the motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. In addition, the State introduced Illinois Department of Public Health regulations which listed the type of instrument used by officer Hochbaum as an approved PBT device. Officer Hochbaum testified that he requested a breath sample from the defendant prior to arrest to help him determine whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

The trial court found that, although the State had established a sufficient foundation, the results of the PBT were nevertheless inadmissible. The court ruled that the language of section 11-501.5 did not authorize use of the results of a PBT to determine whether probable cause existed. The court also noted that while section 11-501.5 expressly allows a defendant to use the results of a PBT in any administrative or court proceeding, no similar authorization is given to the State. Because this additional evidence was ruled inadmissible, the court found that officer Hochbaum did not have probable cause to arrest the defendant and the defendant's motion was granted. On appeal, the sole issue raised by the State is whether the trial court erred in ruling that the results of the PBT were inadmissible.

Analysis

The primary rule of statutory construction, to which all other rules are subordinate, is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. People ex rel. Baker v. Cowlin, 154 Ill. 2d 193, 607 N.E.2d 1251 (1992). The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the language of the statute (People v. Tucker, 167 Ill. 2d 431, 657 N.E.2d 1009 (1995)), and any inquiry should begin with that language (People v. Zaremba, 158 Ill. 2d 36, 630 N.E.2d 797 (1994); Baker, 154 Ill. 2d 193, 607 N.E.2d 1251). Where the statutory language is clear, it will be given effect without relying on other aids for construction. Where the language is ambiguous, however, it is appropriate to consider the legislative history. Zaremba, 158 Ill. 2d 36, 630 N.E. 2d 797; Baker, 154 Ill. 2d 193, 607 N.E.2d 1251. In addition, a court should consider the reason and necessity for the law, the evils it was intended to remedy and the objects and purposes to be obtained. Tucker 167 Ill. 2d 431, 657 N.E.2d 1009; People v. Garrett, 136 Ill. 2d 318, 555 N.E.2d 353 (1990). Statutory construction is a question of law to be decided by the reviewing court independent of, and without deference to, the judgment of the trial court. Advincula v. United Blood Services, 176 Ill. 2d 1, 678 N.E.2d 1009 (1996).

Section 11-501.5 of the Code states:

"Preliminary Breath Screening Test. If a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that a person is violating or has violated Section 11-501 or a similar provision of a local ordinance, the officer, prior to an arrest, may request the person to provide a sample of his or her breath for a preliminary breath screening test using a portable device approved by the Department of Public Health. The results of this preliminary breath screening test may be used by the law enforcement officer for the purpose of assisting with the determination of whether to require a chemical test as authorized under Sections 11-501.1 and 11-501.2, and the appropriate type of test to request. Any chemical test authorized under Section 11-501.1 and 11-501.2 may be requested by the officer regardless of the result of the preliminary breath screening test, if probable cause for an arrest ...


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