An interesting case was just heard before the Missouri Supreme Court that challenges a defendant’s drunk driving conviction.
The defendant’s attorneys argued before the seven judge panel that his breathalyzer results should not be admitted and that certain notices send out when a driver’s license is suspended are actually a violation of due process.
The defendant was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. While at the police station, an officer asked him to submit to a breath test. The defendant initially declined. Then he was told his license would be automatically revoked for one year for refusing the test. He also spoke to his attorney. He then consented to the test, which showed his blood alcohol content was 0.087, which exceeded the legal limit. The officer gave him a notice of suspension and took his driving license.
The defendant asked for an administrative hearing, which ended up upholding his suspension.
His argument against the admissibility of the breath test and his claim of being denied due process was then rejected by the circuit court in Franklin County in March 2018.
The defendant argues that his breath test should be inadmissible for these reasons:
1) The police failed to file a report on a maintenance check of the breath analyzer used in his breath test with the Department of Health and Senior Services within 15 days as required.
2) Missouri’s Implied Consent Warning issued to him by an officer before the breath test is a violation of due process because it specified consequences if he declined to take the test but failed to inform him of the consequences if he submitted to it.
Few people but for law enforcement and lawyers know that drivers who decline the test have their licenses immediately revoked for a year. However, few, if any, drivers understand the consequences of a refusal if the driver does not understand the consequences of submitting to the test.
3) And, that he was misled when the officer issued him a Notice of because it only states that the driving privilege is being suspended due to an arrest on probable cause for driving while intoxicated. The defendant says the notice fails to inform about the other requirements for a suspension that include that the driver actually had a blood alcohol content of greater than 0.08 and was actually driving.
It will be interesting to see if these arguments can stick, and get the defendant’s conviction reversed and the case sent back to the trial court. We should know soon when the Supreme court rules. Keep it posted here and we will let you know how it turns out. fffffffffffffff