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People v. Relwani

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

February 21, 2018

DAKSH N. RELWANI, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois. Circuit No. 16-DT-1285 The Honorable Carmen Julia Lynn Goodman, Judge, presiding.

          JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Defendant, Daksh Relwani, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2016)). He filed a petition to rescind his statutory summary suspension, which the trial court denied after a hearing. Defendant filed a motion to reconsider, which the trial court also denied. Defendant appeals. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 On October 10, 2016, at about 3:30 a.m., defendant was asleep in the driver's seat of his vehicle in the parking lot of a Walgreens drug store in Joliet, Will County, Illinois. Defendant was the only person in the vehicle at the time. The keys to the vehicle were in the ignition, and the engine was running. Police officers approached the vehicle, woke defendant, and subsequently arrested defendant for DUI. After defendant was arrested, he was taken to the police station, where he allegedly refused to submit to some form of chemical testing. Defendant's driver's license was later summarily suspended by the Secretary of State.

         ¶ 4 In November 2016, defendant filed a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension of his driver's license. Defendant alleged in the petition that rescission was warranted based on, among other things, the following two grounds: (1) the summary suspension statute did not apply in this case since defendant was located in a private parking lot and not on a public highway during the incident in question and (2) defendant did not refuse to submit to chemical testing.

         ¶ 5 A hearing was held on the petition to rescind in January 2017. In his case-in-chief, defendant testified to many of the facts set forth above. Defendant also stated, among other things, that the police officer asked him at the police station to submit to a breath test and that he agreed. Defendant identified in court the copy of the notice of summary suspension that he was given by the arresting officer at the police station, and the document was admitted into evidence. According to defendant, as he viewed the document in court, none of the check boxes on the document were marked to show whether defendant had submitted to, or refused, chemical testing, and the space provided for the officer to write in the date and time of any refusal was left blank.

         ¶ 6 On cross-examination, when the prosecutor asked defendant if he had told the police officer that he had just driven down Larkin Avenue from Chicago, defense counsel objected that the question was beyond the scope of direct examination. The trial court overruled the objection, stating that "this [was] cross-examination." Defendant responded that he came home from a restaurant with his family. Defendant stated that he did not remember the exact words he had stated to the officer but acknowledged that he had been driving from the restaurant with his family (or that he told the officer that). The prosecutor asked defendant where the restaurant was located, and defense counsel objected again, stating that the question was beyond the scope of direct examination. The trial court overruled the objection, commenting that it was cross-examination, so the question could not be beyond the scope. When defendant was asked during cross-examination whether he was told the results of the breath test that he had agreed to take, defendant stated that he did not remember. Defendant also stated, upon inquiry, that he did not remember whether the officer had asked him to submit to a blood or urine test or whether he had refused that request. During further cross-examination, defendant stated that he remembered performing some of the field sobriety tests that evening but did not remember performing all of the field sobriety tests. When defendant was asked if the reason he did not remember was because he was intoxicated and had taken heroin and clozapine that evening, defendant responded, "I, I don't know. I guess."

         ¶ 7 On redirect examination, defendant stated that while he was at the police station, he was administered a drug and then taken to the hospital for treatment because of his condition.

         ¶ 8 After defendant testified, he rested his case-in-chief. The prosecutor moved for a directed finding in the State's favor on the petition to rescind. During argument on the motion (and in opening statement), defense counsel suggested to the trial court that it could take judicial notice of what was in the court file (presumably the sworn report) and commented that the document in the court file was marked that defendant had refused to submit to, or failed to complete, chemical testing, which was completely different from the document defendant received.

         ¶ 9 After the arguments on the motion for directed finding had concluded, the trial court granted the motion in favor of the State on both of the grounds for rescission listed above. In making its decision, the trial court commented:

"Here, privately-owned parking lots are-is really referring to if you're in your own driveway and they see people sitting in their own driveway and they walk out to their car.
Here we have not truly established the fact, by the petitioner's case, that this truly was-they said he was in the Walgreens, that it was privately-owned parking lot. If I don't know that. I can't assume that simply because it is the parking lot of Walgreens.
Also, it was put into evidence the officer's-and taken judicial notice of the summary suspension revocation. I will admit that somehow or another this copy, it says "Transfer to SDF" on here, which is not on the original that I have. Not only on the original that-or on the one that's in the file does it show the refusal date at the place and time at the top of the ticket looks blank.
But this is where this gets-and this is why I say this is a copy. It says, [b]ecause you refused-there's a line down here, because you refused to submit to or to-or fail to complete testing, your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of 12 months.
On the copy that was in the-and this is dealing with the defects of an officer's report and a summary suspension does not show-it shows a big line that, that's clearly marked in. The copy, though, had you take[n] a really good look at this copy, it looks like at one point in time it was marked. It looks like a little bitty X that was there, but it is light and it's faint.
Now, the defendant did testify that he did not-he clearly testified that he was woken up by the police officers and that he was sleeping behind the wheel of a car on direct ...

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