Aamodt v. North Dakota Dep’t of Transp – Case Brief Summary (North Dakota)

In Aamodt v. North Dakota Dep't of Transp., 2004 ND 134, 682 N.W.2d 308, the law enforcement officer did not list on the report and notice form reasonable grounds to believe Aamodt was in physical control of a motor vehicle, as specified in N.D.C.C. § 39-20-03.1(3) .

The Court said:

The Department's authority to suspend a person's license is given by statute and is dependent upon the terms of the statute. The Department must meet the basic and mandatory provisions of the statute to have authority to suspend a person's driving privileges. . . . At issue in this case is whether this provision of the statute is a basic and mandatory provision.

The Court further said:

Driving privileges cannot be taken away without some basis. Requiring reasonable grounds before taking away a person's driving privileges ensures the law is not too slanted in favor of the Department and protects those who should not be punished. Without a finding of probable cause, there is no basis for taking away a person's driving privileges. Aamodt was entitled to know what the officer was relying on.

The Court concluded the statutory provision in N.D.C.C. § 39-20-03.1(3) requiring that the arresting officer's certified report "must show that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while in violation of section 39-08-01, or equivalent ordinance," is "a basic and mandatory provision and therefore the Department had no authority to suspend Aamodt's driving privileges." Id.