CAN YOU OVERTURN THE ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION ON YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE?
K.S.A. 8-1001 lays out when an officer can “require” a person to submit to a breath test or lose their license. The first thing is that the officer is required to have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is operating or trying to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. However, this belief alone is not enough as the individual must have also been either involved in a vehicle accident or been taken into custody. When these requirements are met, a breath test indicating a positive result or a refusal to submit to a breath test can both result in a year long suspension of the individual’s driver’s license under K.S.A. 8-1001(k)(5). This suspension can be overturned at the administrative hearing or later on by court review. However, it is quite rare for a decision to be overturned. Only a handful out of the 200 times a suspension has reached the Court of Appeals on appeal, has a suspension been overturned. Those cases are briefly discussed below.
MANZANO V. KAN. DEP’T OF REVENUE, 50 KAN. APP. 2D 263 (2014)
The Constitution requires that before a person’s driver’s license can be suspended, the person is entitled to an “opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.” Part of this opportunity is the administrative hearing. In Manzano, the hearing officer continually interrupted the presentation of evidence and ultimately ended the hearing before the accused got a chance to argue. The district court found this behavior amounted to far less than a fair opportunity to be heard. Though judicial review is part of the overall design of due process, when a meaningful administrative review is not given to the accused, the defect in due process is fateful to the license suspension. Although the district court decided to reinstate the accused’s driver’s license in Manzano, it could have simply sent the matter back for a proper hearing—either resolution is permitted and is a matter for the reviewing court to determine.
GONZALES V. KAN. DEP’T OF REVENUE, 386 P.3D 542 (2016)
Two important points of law can be drawn from this case. First, a lawful arrest must predicate a breath test request. Unless the law enforcement officer had probable cause to complete the arrest and did so lawfully. The officer in Gonzalez did not have probable cause to arrest Gonzalez, making the breath test he refused unable to support the suspension of his driver’s license.
Secondly, the state is limited to the arguments for suspending the accused’s driver’s license that it initially argued at the administrative level. In Gonzalez, the state tried to change the offense Gonzalez was suspected of, from DUI to underage DUI, to reinforce a finding of probable cause supporting the requested breath test. The court did not permit this and excluded evidence that the officer had gathered concerning Gonzalez’s age, as well as the required probable cause that his BAC was higher than the legal limit of 0.08, rather than the lesser legal limit for an underage DUI. The Court of Appeals clarified that the state has to be consistent with its arguments, just as the accused is required to be. Thus, the attempt to introduce new arguments is not permissible in a revocation hearing review.
LUNA V. KAN. DEP’T OF REVENUE, 337 P.3D 73 (2014)
In Luna, the accused wasn’t a native English-speaker and didn’t understand how long he had to file for the administrative hearing. The state can permit an appeal when “excusable neglect” is shown to be the cause of the late filing. However, despite Luna’s assertions of the reason for his late appeal, neither the agency nor the court made any findings of whether his claims were believed. Instead, both merely denied his request. The Court of Appeals didn’t agree with this action and remanded the case. The agency or the court may not believe the accused’s facts constitute excusable neglect, but there must be findings that indicate what the agency and the court found. The matter must be reexamined if no such findings are present.
MCINTOSH V. KAN. DEP’T OF REVENUE, 291 KAN. 41 (2010)
Once an accused has refused to submit to a breath test, can he change his mind? The Kansas Supreme Court decided in Standish v. Department of Revenue, that under certain circumstances, that this is a right. The issue in this case was whether the licensee could still be suspended if a valid Standish request was made but the arresting officer refused to administer the test to them. The Kansas Supreme Court determined that when the accused complies with Standish by making a rapid withdrawal of their refusal, they should be allowed to take the test and a failure to administer the test can result in the suspension of the accused’s license being overturned. To allow otherwise cuts against the purpose of the implied consent law. However, the changing of a person’s mind must occur abruptly and also comply with Standish.
JOHNSON V. KAN. DEP’T OF REVENUE, 334 P.3D 344 (KAN. CT. APP. 2014)
In Johnson, the accused’s license was initially suspended. However, the district court, upon judicial review, reversed the suspension. This was mainly due to the police dashcam video presented as evidence. When the state appealed this decision, they failed to include the dashcam video as part of its record for the Court of Appeals. This failure to supply the full record led the court to determine that the district court’s action of reversing the suspension was appropriate.