Appeal from Circuit Court of Livingston County. No. 14DT06. Honorable Jennifer H. Bauknecht, Judge Presiding.
Reversed; cause remanded for further proceedings.
In a prosecution for driving under the influence of alcohol, the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion in limine to exclude the results of his breath-analysis test on the ground that the arresting officer failed to substantially comply with the 20-minute observation period before the test was administered when the evidence showed that the officer was in the same room with defendant during the period, but he did paperwork with his back toward defendant for minutes at a time, and the officer stated that he turned around " every once in a while," since the officer had searched defendant before he was taken to the jail for the test and did not find any alcohol or mouthwash, the officer and defendant were alone during the observation period, defendant was told not to do anything to bring alcohol to his mouth and the officer did not see any evidence of vomiting or regurgitation, and under the circumstances, the officer's observation of defendant through the full use of his senses did not make the breath test unreliable and any failure to strictly comply with the observation requirement was de minimis, as in Ebert.
Seth Uphoff, State's Attorney, of Pontiac (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Linda Susan McClain, all of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
W. Keith Davis, of Law Office of W. Keith Davis, of Bloomington, for appellee.
JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Harris and Steigmann concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] In January 2014, defendant, Ryan J. Chiaravalle, was charged by traffic citations with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or more. In May 2014, the trial court granted defendant's motion in limine regarding the results of a Breathalyzer test, and the State filed a certificate of substantial impairment.
[¶2] On appeal, the State argues the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion in limine to bar the results of the breath-analysis test. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.
[¶3] I. BACKGROUND
[¶4] In January 2014, defendant was charged by traffic citations with DUI (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2012)) and driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or more (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1) (West 2012)). In February 2014, defendant entered a plea of not guilty.
[¶5] Also in February 2014, the Illinois Secretary of State issued a suspension of defendant's driver's license. Defendant filed a request for a hearing and a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension. In part, defendant argued the arresting officer failed to properly administer the breath test.
[¶6] In March 2014, Judge Mark Fellheimer conducted a hearing on the petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension. Pontiac police corporal Brad Baird testified he stopped defendant's vehicle during the early morning hours of January 19, 2014, because its headlights were not on. While asking defendant for his license
and insurance card, Baird detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from defendant's breath. He also stated defendant's speech " seemed somewhat slow" and " his eyes were bloodshot and glassy." Due to the cold weather, defendant agreed to be transported to a fire station to undergo field-sobriety testing. After the tests, Baird arrested defendant for DUI. After reading the statutory warning to motorist, defendant agreed to submit to breath testing.
[¶7] Baird conducted the breath test at the Livingston County jail. He described the room as having a bench on one side and a countertop on the other. There is also " a separate kind of a room that's divided by a wall that covers three-quarters across the room; and then the breath test machine is actually inside that smaller room." Baird stated he was alone with defendant during the entire observation period. Baird told defendant he " could not do anything which might bring alcohol to his mouth, which would be belching or vomiting or anything like that." Baird stated he completed his citations and paperwork while defendant sat on the bench behind him. Baird did not recall the amount of time it took to complete the paperwork but stated it " usually takes 10 minutes." During the 20-minute observation period, Baird turned around " every once in awhile," meaning " every few minutes probably." Baird did not hear any unusual noises coming from behind him and did not see any evidence of vomiting or regurgitation. After he finished his paperwork, Baird had a conversation with defendant. He did not recall defendant coughing and would not have conducted the test had he done so.
[¶8] At the conclusion of the observation period, Baird typed information into the Breathalyzer machine and placed a new mouthpiece into the machine. Defendant then provided a breath sample. The machine ...