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In the Matter of the Driver's v. State of Idaho

July 30, 2012

IN THE MATTER OF THE DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSION OF STEVEN LESLIE WILLIAMS. STEVEN LESLIE WILLIAMS, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Lansing L. Haynes, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gratton, Chief Judge

2012 Opinion No. 40

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Order of the district court affirming the hearing officer's decision disqualifying Williams from holding a commercial driver's license following second conviction for driving under the influence, affirmed.

Steven Leslie Williams appeals from the district court's decision upon judicial review affirming the Idaho Transportation Department's (ITD) order disqualifying Williams from holding a commercial driver's license (CDL) following his conviction for driving under the influence (DUI). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On June 12, 2010, Williams was arrested for his second DUI. Both offenses occurred while Williams was driving a noncommercial vehicle. Due to the offenses, ITD notified Williams of a lifetime disqualification of his CDL. Williams timely requested an administrative hearing.

The hearing officer upheld the lifetime disqualification. Williams filed a petition for judicial review with the district court and the district court affirmed ITD's final order. Williams timely appealed.

II. DISCUSSION

On appeal, Williams argues that the administrative disqualification of his CDL, pursuant to Idaho Code § 49-335, violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 13 of the Idaho Constitution. Specifically, Williams asserts that, despite being civil in nature, the lifetime disqualification of his CDL is so punitive as to effectively be a criminal penalty and thus he has been subjected to multiple punishments and convictions in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause. In addition, Williams argues that I.C. § 18-8002 is unconstitutional as applied to him under the void-for-vagueness doctrine because the statute failed to inform him that a failed breath test would affect his CDL. Williams also argues that ITD violated his substantive due process rights as his lifetime disqualification bears no rational relationship to the legislative objective of I.C. § 49-335.

Lastly, Williams argues that his lifetime CDL disqualification is so punitive that it is the equivalent to either an excessive fine or cruel and unusual punishment, or both. The Idaho Administrative Procedure Act (IDAPA) governs the review of ITD decisions to deny, cancel, suspend, disqualify, revoke, or restrict a person's driver's license. See I.C. §§ 49-201, 49-330, 67-5201(2), 67-5270. In an appeal from the decision of the district court, acting in its appellate capacity under IDAPA, this Court reviews the agency record independently of the district court's decision. Marshall v. Idaho Dep't of Transp., 137 Idaho 337, 340, 48 P.3d 666, 669 (Ct. App. 2002). This Court does not substitute its judgment for that of the agency as to the weight of the evidence presented. I.C. § 67-5279(1); Marshall, 137 Idaho at 340, 48 P.3d at 669. This Court instead defers to the agency's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous. Castaneda v. Brighton Corp., 130 Idaho 923, 926, 950 P.2d 1262, 1265 (1998); Marshall, 137 Idaho at 340, 48 P.3d at 669. In other words, the agency's factual determinations are binding on the reviewing court, even where there is conflicting evidence before the agency, so long as the determinations are supported by substantial and competent evidence in the record. Urrutia v. Blaine Cnty., ex rel. Bd. of Comm'rs, 134 Idaho 353, 357, 2 P.3d 738, 742 (2000); Marshall, 137 Idaho at 340, 48 P.3d at 669.

This Court may overturn an agency's decision where its findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions: (a) violate statutory or constitutional provisions; (b) exceed the agency's statutory authority; (c) are made upon unlawful procedure; (d) are not supported by substantial evidence in the record; or (e) are arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. I.C. § 67-5279(3). The party challenging the agency decision must demonstrate that the agency erred in a manner specified in I.C. § 67-5279(3) and that a substantial right of that party has been prejudiced. Price v. Payette Cnty. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs, 131 Idaho 426, 429, 958 P.2d 583, 586 (1998); Marshall, 137 Idaho at 340, 48 P.3d at 669. If the agency's decision is not affirmed on appeal, "it shall be set aside . . . and remanded for further proceedings as necessary." I.C. § 67-5279(3).

A. Double Jeopardy

Williams argues that he was subjected, in consecutive prosecutions, to multiple convictions and punishments for the same offense. Whether a defendant's prosecution complies with the constitutional protection against being placed twice in jeopardy is a question of law over which we exercise free review. State v. Santana, 135 Idaho 58, 63, 14 P.3d 378, 383 (Ct. App. 2000). We initially note that Williams does not claim that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Idaho Constitution provides any broader protection than that of the United States Constitution. Therefore, we will analyze this claim under the double jeopardy provisions of the United States Constitution. See State v. Talavera, 127 Idaho 700, 703, 905 P.2d 633, 636 (1995); State v. McKeeth, 136 Idaho 619, 624, 38 P.3d 1275, 1280 (Ct. App. 2001). The Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution provides that no person shall "be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." The clause affords a defendant three basic protections. It protects against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal, a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction, and multiple criminal punishments for the same offense. Schiro v. Farley, 510 U.S. 222, 229 (1994); McKeeth, 136 Idaho at 622, 38 P.3d at 1278.

Williams argues that he was subjected to multiple convictions and punishments for the same offense because, although civil in nature, the lifetime CDL disqualification is so punitive in form and effect as to be transformed into a criminal punishment for double jeopardy purposes. In 1995, the Idaho Supreme Court held that a defendant who was convicted of DUI and whose driver's license was subsequently suspended for ninety days pursuant to I.C. § 18-8002A was not subjected to multiple convictions and punishments in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States and Idaho Constitutions. Talavera, 127 Idaho at 705, 905 P.2d at 638. Talavera argued that the ninety-day license suspension, under I.C. § 18-8002A, was so punitive that it should be considered a criminal punishment for double jeopardy purposes. The Court held that the proper inquiry for determining whether a civil sanction rises to the level of a criminal punishment for double jeopardy purposes is whether the sanction, as applied, bears a rational relationship to a legitimate remedial purpose. Id. at 705, 905 P.2d at 638. The Court noted that the remedial purpose of I.C. § 18-8002A is to provide maximum safety to the public by getting drivers who fail blood alcohol concentration tests off public roadways immediately. Id. The Court held that, because the driver's license suspension was not disproportionate to the statute's legitimate remedial goal, it did not rise to the level of a criminal punishment and was not a violation of double jeopardy. Id.

In Buell v. Idaho Dep't of Transp., 151 Idaho 257, 254 P.3d 1253 (Ct. App. 2011), this Court analyzed a one-year CDL disqualification in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court establishing a new ...


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