Thursday, November 14, 2019
By a MetNews Staff Writer
An Oct. 21 opinion from Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, not certified for publication at the time, declaring that a one-way dirt road constitutes a “highway” for the purpose of a statute proscribing the operation of a vehicle on a “highway” with off-road headlights shining, has now been certified for publication—except for the portion saying that a one-way dirt road is a highway.
The order for partial publication was signed Tuesday by Acting Presiding Justice Judith L. Haller who wrote the opinion in the case.
The Department of Motor Vehicles had ordered the driver’s license of appellant Kennith Evans suspended based on driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more. That action was improper, he contended, because he was unlawfully stopped based on use of off-road-only lights.
Rejecting Evans’s contention, Haller wrote:
“[T]he Vehicle Code defines the term ‘highway’ as ‘a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.’…It does not require that the road be paved or have speed limit signs or other road markings.”
In the portion of the opinion now certified for publication, Haller declared that substantial evidence supports the finding that the arresting officer administered chemical breath tests only after observing Evans for 15 minutes, as required by an administrative regulation. The officer’s attestation to that on a standard form created a rebuttable presumption in favor of admitting the test results, she wrote.
The case is Evans v. Shiomoto, 2019 S.O.S. 3516.
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