State v. Hayes

Citation108 Idaho 556,700 P.2d 959
Decision Date30 May 1985
Docket NumberNo. 15117,15117
PartiesSTATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Linda Belle HAYES, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtCourt of Appeals of Idaho

Page 959

700 P.2d 959
108 Idaho 556
STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent,
Linda Belle HAYES, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 15117.
Court of Appeals of Idaho.
May 30, 1985.

[108 Idaho 557]

Page 960

John S. McKinney, Salmon, for defendant-appellant.

Jim Jones, Atty. Gen., Lynn E. Thomas, Sol. Gen., Myrna A.I. Stahman, Deputy Atty. Gen., Boise, for plaintiff-respondent.


Linda Belle Hayes was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, I.C. § 49-1102. Following trial, the magistrate dismissed the charge under I.C.R. 48 "in the interest of justice" because the arresting officers, by failing to administer a blood-alcohol test, acted in an arbitrary manner "which did effectively violate the Defendant's right to equal protection under the law." The state appealed and the district court reversed, holding that the complaint "was not properly subject to a dismissal" because the actions of the officers did not deny Hayes due process of law. Hayes then appealed. We affirm the district court's decision.

Hayes raises several issues on appeal. The first two issues concern alleged procedural errors committed by the district court in the appeal from the magistrate's order: (1) whether the district court could reverse the magistrate's order without first determining that the magistrate abused his discretion; (2) whether the district court erred in prematurely deciding the appeal without waiting for oral argument. The next four issues we will discuss concern the substantive aspects of this case: (1) whether the trial court acted within the scope of authority afforded it under I.C.R. 48 in dismissing the action; (2) whether a person accused of driving under the influence has the right to a chemical test of the body's alcohol content; (3) whether Hayes' right to equal protection under the law was violated; and (4) whether Hayes' due process rights were violated.

The facts are as follows. In the wee hours of September 12, 1982, Linda Hayes set out for home after spending the previous hour and a half at the Owl Club. Unfortunately for Hayes, a couple of Salmon City Police officers, on duty at one point along her route, clocked her going forty in a twenty-five mile per hour zone. They pursued her to her home where she finally came to a stop. There, in her driveway, the critical events began to happen. Engaging Hayes in conversation, the officers soon came to the conclusion that she was intoxicated. According to their testimony at trial, Hayes failed two field sobriety tests--an alphabet test and a physical dexterity test. The officers further testified that Hayes was crying, swaying, screaming and generally being uncooperative. They allegedly detected the distinct odor of alcohol about her person. Hayes denies all these characterizations. She claims to have imbibed only two drinks during her sojourn at the Owl Club and offers up a variety of reasons to explain her appearance and her actions. In any event, the net result was Hayes' arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. She was transported to the sheriff's office and placed in the jail.

Shortly after her incarceration, Hayes called out to the police officers. She told the arresting officer "she would blow up a balloon if she could be released." The balloon she referred to is an integral part of the Mobat breath test, then in use in Salmon. The procedure for administering this test is simple and painless. A person suspected of being intoxicated is instructed to [108 Idaho 558]

Page 961

blow up a balloon and the breath collected therein is passed through chemicals which can be analyzed to determine alcohol content. The officers, who had not administered a Mobat test to Hayes during the original encounter in her driveway, now refused her request. They testified that their failure to give her such a test when she was originally stopped and their refusal to accept her request at the jail were based upon past experience with Hayes. Apparently she had previously been accused of the same offense two or three times. On one or two of those occasions, she was unable to generate enough lung power to inflate the balloon adequately for testing; on one other occasion, she succeeded in blowing up a balloon, only to fail the test and suffer a conviction.

Hayes filed a motion under I.C.R. 48 for a dismissal of the charge against her. The magistrate denied the motion, citing the paucity of facts relating to the administration of Mobat tests by the Salmon police department. He suggested a number of questions which would need to be answered before he could grant such a motion and noted that Hayes would be allowed to refile the motion after trial in the event she was convicted. Following trial, the magistrate issued a decision; but, instead of reaching the merits, the magistrate granted the motion to dismiss. 1 He said:

From the above facts, it is the Court's decision that the citation shall be dismissed under Rule 48 in the interest of justice. The officers['] decision to not administer a mobat test was an arbitrary act which did effectively violate the Defendant's right to equal protection under the law.

Assuming for argument that the Defendant could not have blown up the mobat balloon, the monetary loss to the State would have been less then [sic] $5.00. Furthermore, the fact of the Defendant's failure to complete the test would have been admissable [sic] against the Defendant.

The Court feels that it would be patently unfair for a Defendant to be subject to sanctions such as loss of a driver's license for refusal to take a mobat test, to hold that the officers may arbitrarily decide who can and cannot attempt to pass the test.

Therefore, the proper remedy in this matter is for the citation to be dismissed.

The state appealed. On May 10, the district court, acting in its appellate capacity, set a date for oral argument. At the appointed time, all were present save the district judge. On June 7 the district court filed its memorandum opinion, incongruously dated May 2, reversing the magistrate's order. The court stated:

An annotation at 95 ALR3d 710 confirms this result in concluding: "The Courts have uniformly rejected the contention of the motorist that he was denied due process of law by the law enforcement officer's failure to offer him a chemical sobriety test, and have held that there is no obligation to test the blood of an accused in all cases in which the motorist is arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor."

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31 cases
  • State v. Entzel, 56375-6
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • February 21, 1991
    ...J. Pro Tem., concur. 1 RCW 46.61.502.2 RCW 9A.76.040.3 See, e.g., Parker v. State, 530 N.E.2d 128 (Ind.Ct.App.1988); State v. Hayes, 108 Idaho 556, 700 P.2d 959 (1985); Albrecht v. State, 314 S.E.2d 859 (W.Va.1984); Graham v. State, 710 S.W.2d 588 (Tex.Crim.App.1986); State v. Sawyer, 382 A......
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    • December 21, 1990 ensure that those persons similarly situated with respect to a governmental action should be treated similarly. State v. Hayes, 108 Idaho 556, 700 P.2d 959 (Ct.App.1985), rev. denied. In an equal protection challenge, the first step is to identify the challenged classification. The court......
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    ...509, 514, 50 P.3d 1004, 1009 (2002); Henson v. Dep't of Law Enforcement, 107 Idaho 19, 23, 684 P.2d 996, 1000 (1984); State v. Hayes, 108 Idaho 556, 560, 700 P.2d 959, 963 (Ct. App. 1985). A "class of one" may state an equal protection claim if he or she was intentionally treated differentl......
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    • June 7, 2002 ensure that those persons similarly situated with respect to a governmental action should be treated similarly. State v. Hayes, 108 Idaho 556, 700 P.2d 959 (Ct.App.1985). When reviewing the constitutionality of statutes impacting on social or economic areas, the rational basis test is ge......
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