License Suspension Requires Lawful Arrest

In Watford v. Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 110 Ohio App. 3d 499, 674 N.E.2d 776, 778 (Ohio Ct. App. 1996), the court examined a statute that permitted defendants in civil suspension proceedings to contest "'whether the law enforcement officer had reasonable ground to believe the arrested person was operating a vehicle ... under the influence of alcohol . . . and whether the arrested person was in fact placed under arrest". The court held that "a lawful arrest, including a constitutional stop," was required before a refusal to take a test could trigger a license suspension. Id. In People v. Krueger, 208 Ill. App. 3d 897, 567 N.E.2d 717, 721-22, 153 Ill. Dec. 759 (Ill. App. Ct. 1991), the court also addressed the scope of suspension hearings under a statute similar to Vermont. Refusing to construe the statute in a manner that would authorize unconstitutional arrests or searches and allow license suspensions to be based on the fruits of unconstitutional police conduct, the court concluded that the statute implicitly required that arrests triggering license suspensions be lawful. See 567 N.E.2d at 722; see also Gikas v. Zolin, 6 Cal. 4th 841, 863 P.2d 745, 749 (Cal. 1993) (en banc) (license suspension requires lawful arrest based on constitutional stop). Similarly, in Pooler v. Motor Vehicles Division, 306 Ore. 47, 755 P.2d 701, 702-03 (Or. 1988) (en banc), the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that because the legislature implicitly intended to require valid DWI arrests, the scope of administrative suspension hearings permitted defendants to raise issues concerning the validity of the underlying stops. See id. Like the other courts, the Oregon court expressed concern that a contrary holding would allow police to stop drivers at random without reasonable suspicion in the hopes of identifying the occasional intoxicated motorist. See 755 P.2d at 703.