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People v. Johnson

October 18, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
MICHAEL J. JOHNSON, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Fitzgerald

UNPUBLISHED

Docket No. 90383-Agenda 15-May 2001.

On July 8, 1999, defendant, Michael Johnson, was arrested for driving under the influence of a drug in violation of section 11-501(a)(4) of the Illinois Vehicle Code. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4) (West 1998). Following his arrest, he was advised of his rights to take or refuse a chemical test which would detect alcohol or drugs in his bloodstream. The arresting officer read these rights from a preprinted form entitled "Warning to Motorist":

"1. If you refuse or fail to complete all chemical tests requested and:

If you are a first offender, your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months;

If you are not a first offender, your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of 2 years.

2. If you submit to a chemical test(s) disclosing an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or any amount of a drug, substance or compound resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act or a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and:

If you are a first offender, your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of 3 months, or

If you are not a first offender, your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of one year." (Emphasis added.)

Defendant submitted to the chemical test and tested positive for the presence of drugs in his bloodstream. The Secretary of State, having determined that defendant was a first offender as defined under the statute (see 625 ILCS 5/11-500 (West 1998)), filed with the circuit court a confirmation of statutory suspension of defendant's driver's license for a period of three months pursuant to section 6-208.1(a)(2) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/6-208.1(a)(2) (West 1998)).

Defendant then filed a petition to rescind his suspension, arguing that the warnings issued by the officer were erroneous and that this error merited rescission. Defendant asserted that he was advised non-first offenders were subject to a two-year suspension for refusal or failure to complete the chemical test, while the statute mandates a three-year suspension. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1(a)(3) (West 1998).

The parties stipulated that the warning contained inaccurate information regarding non-first offenders, though the trial court observed that the error did not "materially affect" defendant because he was a first offender. The trial court, nonetheless, granted defendant's petition to rescind because "inaccurate or deceptive warnings" did not satisfy the mandatory warning requirement contained in the Illinois Vehicle Code. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(c) (West 1998).

The appellate court affirmed the rescission. 316 Ill. App. 3d 43. The State appealed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 315, and we granted the State's petition for leave to appeal. 177 Ill. 2d R. 315. We now reverse the appellate court and remand to the circuit court for further ...


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