918 N.W.2d 43 (N.D. 2018), 20180140, DeForest v. North Dakota Department of Transportation

Docket Nº:20180140
Citation:918 N.W.2d 43, 2018 ND 224
Opinion Judge:Tufte, Justice.
Party Name:Jim Benjamin DEFOREST, Appellee v. NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellant
Attorney:Justin J. Vinje, Bismarck, N.D., for appellee. Douglas B. Anderson, Assistant Attorney General, Bismarck, N.D., for appellant.
Judge Panel:Jerod E. Tufte, Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Jon J. Jensen, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.
Case Date:October 03, 2018
Court:Supreme Court of North Dakota
 
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Page 43

918 N.W.2d 43 (N.D. 2018)

2018 ND 224

Jim Benjamin DEFOREST, Appellee

v.

NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellant

No. 20180140

Supreme Court of North Dakota

October 3, 2018

Page 44

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 45

Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Bruce B. Haskell, Judge.

Justin J. Vinje, Bismarck, N.D., for appellee.

Douglas B. Anderson, Assistant Attorney General, Bismarck, N.D., for appellant.

OPINION

Tufte, Justice.

[¶ 1] The North Dakota Department of Transportation appealed a district court judgment reversing the Department’s decision to suspend Jim DeForest’s driving privileges. We reverse the district court’s judgment and reinstate the Department’s suspension of DeForest’s driving privileges for 91 days.

I

[¶ 2] In November 2017, Deputy Jared Lemieux stopped DeForest for exceeding the speed limit by ten miles per hour. During the stop, DeForest exhibited signs of intoxication. After conducting field sobriety tests, Lemieux arrested DeForest for driving under the influence of alcohol. Lemieux read DeForest Miranda warnings and a post-arrest implied consent advisory, omitting reference to criminal penalties for refusal of breath or urine tests. Lemieux then requested a blood test. Prior to Lemieux’s advisory and request, DeForest had asked for a chemical blood test. DeForest consented to a blood test.

[¶ 3] During the administrative hearing, DeForest objected to admission of the blood test result, arguing non-compliance with the required implied consent advisory procedure. The hearing officer admitted the blood test evidence over the objection and found Lemieux "read the implied consent advisory in accordance with N.D.C.C. section 39-20-01(3)(a)."

[¶ 4] DeForest appealed to the district court, arguing the implied consent advisory given was incomplete and thus the blood test evidence was inadmissible. The district court concluded the hearing officer erred in admitting the blood test evidence and reinstated DeForest’s driving privileges. The Department appeals.

II

[¶ 5] The standard of review for an administrative hearing to suspend or revoke a driver’s license is governed by the Administrative Agencies Practice Act, N.D.C.C. ch. 28-32. Haynes v. Director, Dep’t of Transp., 2014 ND 161, ¶ 6, 851 N.W.2d 172. When a district court’s review of a department’s decision is on appeal before this Court, we review the department’s original decision. Id.

Our review is limited and we give great deference to the agency’s findings. We

Page 46 do not make independent findings of fact or substitute our judgment for that of the agency; instead, we determine whether a reasoning mind reasonably could have concluded the findings were supported by the weight of the evidence from the entire record.

Id. (citations omitted). "Once the facts are established, their significance presents a question of law, which we review de novo." McCoy v. N.D. Dep’t of Transp., 2014 ND 119, ¶ 8, 848 N.W.2d 659 (citations and internal quotations omitted). We must affirm the agency’s decision unless: 1. The order is not in accordance with the law.

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