Burden of persuasion is on the driver not the Director of Revenue

The Missouri Court of Appeals in the Western Division filed an opinion last week regarding the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion in a driver’s license case (Radmacher vs. DOR, WD75763).

In this case Radmacher was charged with a Class C felony of second-degree assault for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated resulting in injury after he was involved in a single car accident and one of his passengers was ejected and injured. He pled guilty to the charge and received a suspended imposition of sentence. The Department of Revenue then disqualified his privilege to operate a commercial driver’s license due to his conviction for using a motor vehicle in commission of a felony. Pursuant to the statute, if a driver pleads guilty to a charge it counts as a conviction with regard to the privilege to drive a commercial vehicle even if sentencing is suspended.

Radmacher argued on appeal that the court erred in entering judgment for the Director of Revenue because the Director failed to meet her burdens of production and persuasion. Specifically that no contradicting evidence was presented to counter his evidence that the decision to disqualify his CDL was arbitrary and not reasonable.

Pursuant to Missouri law, the Director is only required to show that the CDL holder was “convicted” and that the conviction merited disqualification. The Court found that the Director provided records showing that Radmacher had a CDL and was convicted. These records were not contested by Radmacher. According to the court, this evidence was enough to make a prima facie showing of the statutory elements necessary and the Director satisfied her burden of production.

The Court goes on to elaborate that the burden of persuasion falls squarely on the driver. Even though the Director did not provide evidence to counter Radmacher’s claims, it did not matter as the court was not persuaded by his evidence.

The ruling was affirmed and the suspension of his license was upheld.

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