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The People of the State of Illinois v. Apryla Davis

June 27, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
APRYLA DAVIS,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 10-DT-4336 Honorable Cary B. Pierce, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hutchinson

JUSTICE HUTCHINSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 On November 12, 2010, the State charged defendant, Apryla Davis, by citation with driving under the influence (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a) (West 2010)), possession of less than 2.5 grams of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/4(a) (West 2010)), and failure to dim headlights (625 ILCS 5/12-210 (West 2010)). Thereafter, defendant filed a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension of her driving privileges, which the trial court dismissed without prejudice. After receiving the results of defendant's urine test, the State mailed defendant the law enforcement sworn report on February 14, 2011. The report, however, was returned to the State as undeliverable. On February 28, 2011, the State charged defendant by information with DUI and mailed her confirmation of the statutory summary suspension. On April 1, 2011, defendant filed a motion to reinstate her petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension. The trial court granted the motion but denied the petition and defendant now appeals, contending that the trial court erred in denying the petition, because (1) the State failed to provide defendant with a hearing within 30 days of February 14, 2011, the day the notice of the summary suspension was mailed; (2) she was not served with the notice of the summary suspension; (3) the arresting officer, a male, violated Illinois law by administrating the urine test to her and did not properly authenticate the sample; and (4) the State lacked probable cause to arrest her for DUI. We affirm.

¶ 2 I. Background

¶ 3 On November 12, 2012, while patrolling Route 34 near Eola Road, Officer Nathan Schramka observed that the headlights on defendant's vehicle appeared brighter than other headlights on the road. Defendant's vehicle was traveling behind Schramka's vehicle and she failed to dim her headlights. Schramka slowed his vehicle, allowing defendant to pull in front of him, and initiated a traffic stop. When Schramka explained the reason for the stop, defendant told him that a friend incorrectly installed her headlights.

¶ 4 As Schramka spoke with defendant, he smelled a strong odor of cannabis coming from her vehicle. After being asked whether anyone smoked in the vehicle, defendant admitted that she smoked cannabis the previous day. Schramka asked defendant if there were any items in the vehicle, and defendant responded that rolling papers were located on the vehicle's floorboard. Schramka asked defendant if there was any cannabis in the vehicle, defendant acknowledged there was, and she retrieved marijuana from the car's center console. Schramka searched defendant and the other occupants of the vehicle, but found no other contraband.

¶ 5 Schramka arrested defendant for possession of cannabis. Defendant admitted that the marijuana belonged to her, and after first stating that she had not smoked cannabis since the prior day, she admitted that she smoked cannabis at approximately noon that day. Because Schramka believed that defendant was under the influence of drugs, he arrested her for DUI.

¶ 6 After arresting defendant, Schramka transported her to the Aurora police department and issued a citation for DUI. Thereafter, Schramka requested a urine sample, which defendant agreed to provide. Because there were no female officers present, Schramka placed defendant in a cell with a steel door and a small window. The cell contained a toilet located behind a five-foot-high brick wall. Schramka closed the cell door, but did not lock it, and stood approximately 10 to 15 feet away. Defendant came out of the cell and handed the sample to Schramka, who sealed and initialed the sample. Schramka transported the sample to the State Police regional headquarters.

¶ 7 On November 23, 2010, defendant filed a petition to rescind the summary suspension. Defendant acknowledged in her petition that she was not served with the notice of summary suspension form. The trial court dismissed the petition without prejudice on December 3, 2010.

¶ 8 The lab results for the sample were returned on February 14, 2011, and indicated the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or cannabis. Schramka completed a law enforcement sworn report. On February 14, 2011, Schramka handwrote an envelope with the address defendant provided, inserted the sworn report, sealed the envelope, and mailed the sworn report to her by United States mail.

¶ 9 On February 25, 2011, Schramka noticed that the envelope addressed to defendant was returned as undeliverable. Schramka checked defendant's address on the Illinois Secretary of State's database, which indicated that her address was the same as the one he wrote on the envelope.

Schramka did not attempt to resend the report to defendant. On February 28, 2011, defendant was charged by information with DUI and was sent a confirmation of her statutory summary suspension, scheduled to commence on April 1, 2011.

¶ 10 On April 1, 2011, defendant filed a motion to reinstate her petition to rescind and a motion to rescind the summary suspension because of the lack of a timely hearing. The trial court noted that it had dismissed defendant's November 23, 2010, petition because the file did not contain the notice of summary suspension. Defendant maintained that the "30-day clock" began running on February 14, 2011, the date that Schramka mailed the sworn report, because defendant had already filed a petition to rescind. The State countered that defendant's November petition was premature because the sworn report had yet to be issued. According to the State, defendant had the opportunity to file a petition to rescind after the sworn report was served. The trial court, with a different presiding judge, disagreed with the dismissal of the November petition, but did not find error "because there was no sworn report." The trial court granted defendant's motion to reinstate her petition, but considered the petition filed on April 1, 2011. The trial court denied the motion to rescind.

¶ 11 On April 15, 2011, the trial court heard arguments on whether defendant's summary suspension should be rescinded because Schramka did not properly place her under arrest; he lacked reasonable grounds to believe that she was driving under the influence; he did not properly recite the warning to motorist; she did not test positive for illegal drugs; and she was not served with the notice of the summary suspension.

¶ 12 Defendant called Schramka to testify. Schramka testified that he initiated a traffic stop after defendant failed to dim her headlights. Schramka testified that he smelled a "strong odor of cannabis" coming from the car. Schramka testified that he asked defendant when was the last time someone smoked in the vehicle, and she responded that someone smoked in the vehicle the prior afternoon. Schramka asked defendant if "there was anything in the car [he] should know about," and defendant responded that there were rolling papers in the car. Schramka testified that he asked defendant if there was any "weed" in the car, and she responded "yes." Schramka testified that defendant retrieved marijuana from the vehicle's center console and that he placed her under arrest. Schramka testified that defendant admitted that she "smoked weed" earlier that day.

¶ 13 Defendant testified. Defendant testified that she agreed to submit to a urine test at the Aurora police department. Defendant testified that there were no female officers present when she submitted to the urine test. Defendant testified that she lived at 2428 Geneva Lane in Montgomery in February 2011. During that time, she did not receive a notice of summary suspension. On cross-examination, defendant acknowledged that she moved to her neighbor's house at 2436 Geneva Lane in the "middle of March" and did not update her address with the Secretary of State. On redirect examination, defendant testified that she checked her mail at her old address while she lived with her neighbor and moved back to her old house at the end of March.

¶ 14 Defendant's mother, Jola Davis, testified. Davis testified that she had lived at 2428 Geneva Lane continuously for the last eight years. Davis testified that she did not have difficulty receiving mail. Davis testified that she did not see the envelope containing the notice of summary suspension before the time of the hearing.

¶ 15 The trial court denied defendant's petition to rescind the summary suspension. The trial court concluded that Schramka substantially complied with the regulations for taking defendant's urine sample, preserved her dignity, and maintained the integrity of the sample. The trial court further found that Schramka was not required to take additional steps in mailing the sworn report. Specifically, the trial court concluded:

"I can't blame the U.S. Postal Service and grant a rescission based upon that. I think that there might have been other avenues, one more step might have been made by the arresting officer, but I don't think he's obligated to. *** He testified that he *** checked [with] the Secretary of State again to ...


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