573 N.E.2d 77 (Ohio 1991), 90-1331, Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles

Docket Nº90-1331.
Citation573 N.E.2d 77, 61 Ohio St.3d 93
Opinion JudgeCACIOPPO, Judge, Court of Appeals. CACIOPPO, J.
Party NameCLINE, Appellant, v. OHIO BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES, Appellee.
AttorneyPlassman, Rupp, Hensal & Short and Peter D. Short, Archbold, for appellant. Plassman, Rupp, Hensal & Short and Peter D. Short, for appellant., William R. Swigart, prosecuting attorney, and Roger D. Nagel, for appellee.
Judge PanelMOYER, C.J., SWEENEY, HOLMES, DOUGLAS and HERBERT R. BROWN, JJ., concur. WRIGHT, J., concurs in the syllabus and judgment only.
Case DateJuly 10, 1991
CourtSupreme Court of Ohio

Page 77

573 N.E.2d 77 (Ohio 1991)

61 Ohio St.3d 93

CLINE, Appellant,

v.

OHIO BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES, Appellee.

No. 90-1331.

Supreme Court of Ohio.

July 10, 1991

Page 78

Submitted April 10, 1991.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

A person arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol who re fuses to submit to a chemical test, even though the test is requested more than two hours after the alleged violation, is subject to the implied consent law i f the police officer making the request has "reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been operating a vehicle upon the public highways in this state while under the influence of alcohol." (Former R.C. 4511.191[A], construed.)

Ronald D. Cline, appellant herein, was arrested November 20, 1988, at approximately 3:30 a.m. by Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Gregory A. Rayot and charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Rayot requested that appellant submit to a chemical test for determining the alcoholic content of his breath, as provided in former R.C. 4511.191. 1 The appellant refused. Appellant was advised of the consequences of

Page 79

[61 Ohio St.3d 95] his refusal at the Montpelier Police Department. The Registrar of Motor Vehicles advised appellant that his driver's license would be suspended for one year. Appellant filed a petition to revoke or modify the order of suspension.

A hearing was held in the Fulton County Court, Eastern District, and the court upheld the Registrar's order of suspension and denied appellant's motion for a new trial. Upon appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's judgment, holding that in determining the reasonableness of a licensee's refusal to submit to a chemical test on the grounds that more than two hours had passed since the alleged violation, the court must look to whether the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe the licensee had been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol based on the licensee's condition and behavior at the time of the arrest.

Finding its judgment to be in conflict with the judgments of the Court of Appeals for Franklin County in Brownfield v. McCullion (1984), 20 Ohio App.3d 197, 20 OBR 242, 485 N.E.2d 745, and Barber v. Curry (1974), 40 Ohio App.2d 346, 69 O.O.2d 312, 319 N.E.2d 367, the court of appeals certified the record of this case to this court for review and final determination.

Plassman, Rupp, Hensal & Short and Peter D. Short, Archbold, for appellant. [61 Ohio St.3d 96]

William R. Swigart, Pros. Atty., and Roger D. Nagel, Wauseon, for appellee.

Page 80

CACIOPPO, Judge, Court of Appeals.

The case before us raises questions with respect to the Ohio implied consent statute, former R.C. 4511.191. The issue presented is whether a licensee is subject to license suspension when he refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test on the grounds that the request was made more than two hours after he operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol on a public highway.

Appellant bases his refusal of the officer's request to submit to a chemical test upon the following statutory provision which reads, in relevant part:

"In any criminal prosecution for a violation of this section, of a municipal ordinance relating to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or alcohol and a drug of abuse, or of a municipal ordinance relating to operating a vehicle with a prohibited concentration of alcohol in the blood, breath, or urine, the court may admit evidence on the concentration of alcohol, drugs of abuse, or alcohol and drugs of abuse in the defendant's blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance at the time of the alleged violation as shown by chemical analysis of the defendant's blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance withdrawn within two hours of the time of the alleged violation." (Emphasis added.) Former R.C. 4511.19(B), effective March 20, 1987, now R.C. 4511.19(D).

Appellant asserts that the two-hour period creates a rule which precludes the state from requesting that a person arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol submit to a chemical test or tests. The state argues that the two-hour provision must be read in context and limited to the subject of the section which relates to the admissibility of evidence in criminal proceedings.

Where the language of a statute is plain and unambiguous and conveys a clear and definite meaning, there is no need to apply rules of statutory interpretation. Meeks v. Papadopulos (1980), 62 Ohio St.2d 187, 190, 16 O.O.3d 212, 213, 404 N.E.2d 159, 161, citing Sears v. Weimer (1944), 143 Ohio St. 312, 28 O.O. 270, 55 N.E.2d 413, paragraph five of the syllabus. However, where a statute is found to be subject to various interpretations, a court called upon to interpret its provisions may invoke rules of statutory construction in order to arrive at legislative intent. Meeks, supra, 62 Ohio St.2d at 190, 16 O.O.3d at 214, 404 N.E.2d at 162; Henry v. Central Natl. Bank (1968), 16 Ohio St.2d 16, 45 O.O.2d 262, 242 N.E.2d 342; Carter v. Youngstown (1946), 146 Ohio St. 203, 32 O.O. 184, 65 N.E.2d 63; Commercial Credit Co. v. Schreyer (1929), 120 Ohio St. 568, 166 N.E. 808. The conflict among the [61 Ohio St.3d 97] appellate courts indicates strongly that the relationship, if any, between R.C. 4511.191 and 4511.19 is ambiguous.

The primary rule in statutory construction is to give effect to the legislature's intention. Carter, supra, at paragraph one of the syllabus. To ascertain the legislative intent, courts rely upon ordinary principles of statutory construction. Stewart v. Trumbull Cty. Bd. of Elections (1973), 34 Ohio St.2d 129, 130, 63 O.O.2d 227, 227-228, 296 N.E.2d 676, 677.

Former R.C. 4511.19(B) and the implied consent statute were enacted in 1968 under Am.Sub. H.B. No. 380 for the purpose of improving the state highway program. (132 Ohio Laws, Part II, 2611.) Although the General Assembly enacted these statutory provisions at the same time and for the same general purpose, our analysis is not complete. Legislative intent must be determined from the language of the statute itself, id.; State v. Singer (1977), 50 Ohio St.2d 103, 108, 4 O.O.3d 237, 240, 362 N.E.2d 1216, 1220, as well as from other matters, see R.C. 1.49. In determining intent, it is the duty of the court to give effect to the words used, not to delete words used or insert words not used. State, ex rel. General Elec. Supply Co., v. Jordano Elec. Co. (1990), 53 Ohio St.3d 66, 71, 558 N.E.2d 1173, 1177; State, ex rel. Sears, Roebuck & Co., v. Indus. Comm. (1990), 52 Ohio St.3d 144, 148, 556 N.E.2d 467, 471; Columbus-Suburban Coach Lines v. Pub. Util. Comm. (1969), 20 Ohio St.2d 125, 127, 49 O.O.2d 445, 446, 254 N.E.2d 8, 9.

Page 81

The General Assembly chose to address the methods of withdrawing and analyzing bodily substances submitted pursuant to the implied consent law in former R.C. 4511.19(B), which provided in pertinent part:

"When a person submits to a blood test at the request of a police officer under section 4511.191 of the Revised Code, only a physician, a registered nurse, or a qualified technician or chemist shall withdraw blood for the purpose of determining its alcohol, drug, or alcohol and drug content. This limitation does not apply to the taking of breath or urine specimens. A physician, a registered nurse, or a qualified technician or chemist may refuse to withdraw blood for the purpose of determining the alcohol, drug, or alcohol and drug content of the blood, if in his opinion the physical welfare of the person would be endangered by the withdrawing of blood.

"Such bodily substance shall be analyzed in accordance with methods approved by the director of health by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the director of health pursuant to section 3701.143 of the Revised Code."

This section speaks to those elements which are considered important in determining the reliability of the result of the analysis. The legislature delegated rulemaking authority to the Department of Health to specify [61 Ohio St.3d 98] techniques for analysis and qualifications for those conducting the analysis. Neither the section nor rules promulgated under it address the outer time limit for giving the test. While the first paragraph of R.C. 4511.19(B) speaks to test results being withdrawn within two hours of the time of the alleged violation, it relates solely to the admissibility of such test results. The two-hour provision is a limitation upon the admissibility of evidence in criminal prosecutions.

R.C. 4511.191(A), the implied consent statute, effective October 20, 1987, provided:

"Any person who operates a vehicle upon the public highways within this state shall be deemed to have...

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  • 150 N.E.3d 82 (Ohio 2020), 2018-1300, In re Adoption of A.C.B.
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • February 26, 2020
    ...invoke rules of statutory construction in order to arrive at legislative intent." Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles, 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 96, 573 N.E.2d 77 (1991). "To discern legislative intent, we read words and phrases in context and construe them in ac......
  • 620 N.E.2d 987 (Ohio App. 4 Dist. 1993), CA 1514, Love v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • February 16, 1993
    ...310, 314, 587 N.E.2d 814, 817. Courts may not delete words used or insert words not used. Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 97, 573 N.E.2d 77, 80. The language of R.C. 3937.32 states that "[n]o cancellation * * * is effective, unless it is pursuant to writt......
  • 671 N.E.2d 299 (Ohio App. 8 Dist. 1996), 68660, Sanford v. D & T Limousine Serv., Inc.
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • January 4, 1996
    ...that a court is precluded from either inserting words into or deleting them from a statute. Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 97, 573 N.E.2d 77, 80-81. See Clark v. Bur. of Workers' Comp. (1993), 88 Ohio App.3d 153, 623 N.E.2d 640. "The purpose of administr......
  • 672 N.E.2d 256 (Ohio App. 2 Dist. 1996), CA 15366, BP Oil Co. v. Dayton Bd. of Zoning Appeals
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • February 16, 1996
    ...404 N.E.2d 159, 161-162. In that case, there is no need to apply the rules of construction. Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 96, 573 N.E.2d 77, 79-80. However, where the language of an ordinance is ambiguous a court may resort to the rules of construction to re......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
151 cases
  • 150 N.E.3d 82 (Ohio 2020), 2018-1300, In re Adoption of A.C.B.
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • February 26, 2020
    ...invoke rules of statutory construction in order to arrive at legislative intent." Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles, 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 96, 573 N.E.2d 77 (1991). "To discern legislative intent, we read words and phrases in context and construe them in ac......
  • 620 N.E.2d 987 (Ohio App. 4 Dist. 1993), CA 1514, Love v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • February 16, 1993
    ...310, 314, 587 N.E.2d 814, 817. Courts may not delete words used or insert words not used. Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 97, 573 N.E.2d 77, 80. The language of R.C. 3937.32 states that "[n]o cancellation * * * is effective, unless it is pursuant to writt......
  • 671 N.E.2d 299 (Ohio App. 8 Dist. 1996), 68660, Sanford v. D & T Limousine Serv., Inc.
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • January 4, 1996
    ...that a court is precluded from either inserting words into or deleting them from a statute. Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 97, 573 N.E.2d 77, 80-81. See Clark v. Bur. of Workers' Comp. (1993), 88 Ohio App.3d 153, 623 N.E.2d 640. "The purpose of administr......
  • 672 N.E.2d 256 (Ohio App. 2 Dist. 1996), CA 15366, BP Oil Co. v. Dayton Bd. of Zoning Appeals
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • February 16, 1996
    ...404 N.E.2d 159, 161-162. In that case, there is no need to apply the rules of construction. Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 96, 573 N.E.2d 77, 79-80. However, where the language of an ordinance is ambiguous a court may resort to the rules of construction to re......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • When do statutes of limitations apply in arbitration?
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 81 Nbr. 9, October 2007
    • October 1, 2007
    ...to the words the legislature used, not deleting words used, nor inserting words not used. Cline v. Ohio Bur. of Motor Vehicles (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 93, 97, 573 N.E.2d 77, 80-81. In that regard, R.C. 1.42 specifies that "[w]ords and phrases that have acquired a technical or particular ......