842 N.W.2d 877 (N.D. 2014), 20130330, Wampler v. North Dakota Dept. of Transp.
|Citation:||842 N.W.2d 877, 2014 ND 24|
|Opinion Judge:||KAPSNER, Justice.|
|Party Name:||Tammy Renee WAMPLER, Appellee v. NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellant.|
|Attorney:||Douglas B. Anderson, Office of Attorney General, Bismarck, ND, for appellant. Tammy Renee Wampler; no appearance.|
|Case Date:||February 13, 2014|
|Court:||Supreme Court of North Dakota|
[¶ 1] The North Dakota Department of Transportation (" Department" ) appeals from a district court judgment reversing an administrative hearing officer's decision suspending Tammy Renee Wampler's driving privileges. Because we hold inclusion of the phrase " by weight" in the " Test Results" portion of a law enforcement officer's certified written report under N.D.C.C. § 39-20-03.1(4) is not necessary to satisfy N.D.C.C. § 39-20-03.1, we reverse the district court judgment and reinstate the administrative hearing officer's decision.
[¶ 2] On April 18, 2013, a Jamestown city police officer received a call regarding an intoxicated driver. A description of the
vehicle and license plate was provided. The officer arrived on the scene, located the vehicle, and observed it weaving between lanes. The officer initiated his overhead lights, but the vehicle continued to drive for almost half a mile before it came to a stop, and it did so only after the officer turned on his siren. The officer approached the vehicle and spoke to the driver, Wampler, who was the only occupant. While speaking with Wampler, the officer observed that she had glossy/watery eyes, slurred speech, slow movements, and a strong odor of alcohol. Wampler admitted to consuming alcohol and agreed to submit to field sobriety tests. The officer administered three field sobriety tests, and Wampler failed two of them and could not complete the other. Wampler submitted to an on-site chemical screening test, which indicated an alcohol concentration level of at least .08. Wampler was then placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence. Within two hours of driving, Wampler submitted to an intoxilyzer breath test. The test results showed Wampler's alcohol concentration was 0.159. When the officer completed his certified written report to the director (" Report and Notice" ), he wrote " 0.159" in the " Test Results" blank.
[¶ 3] Wampler made a timely request for an administrative hearing with the Department. At that hearing, Wampler raised three arguments, one of which was that the Department lacked the authority to revoke her driving privileges because the law enforcement officer failed to write " by weight" next to the notation " 0.159" in the " Test Results" blank of his Report and Notice. The administrative hearing officer rejected Wampler's argument, holding " the failure to write ‘ by weight’ is not jurisdictional." The administrative hearing officer suspended Wampler's driving privileges for 91 days, and Wampler appealed to the district court, raising all three issues.
[¶ 4] The district court determined that N.D.C.C. § 39-20-03.1(4) required the law enforcement officer to complete a certified written report which indicated that test results showed Wampler had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater by weight, that this was a basic and mandatory provision of the statute under prevailing case law, and that, while the law enforcement officer's Report and Notice...
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