State v. Camolli

In State v. Camolli, 156 Vt. 208, 214, 591 A.2d 53, 57 (1991), the defendant was stopped by a state trooper and processed for DWI on January 21, 1990. The trooper administered a breath test using a gas chromatography (crimper) device. He received the lab report on February 28, 1990, and, the next day, mailed the defendant a notice of intention to suspend his driver's license. The defendant timely requested a civil license suspension hearing. At the hearing, the defendant moved to dismiss the civil license suspension proceeding. The district court granted the motion, holding that (1) under 23 V.S.A. 1205(a), evidence obtained from a crimper device could not be used in a civil license suspension proceeding; only evidence obtained from infrared testing equipment could be used, and (2) the trooper failed to serve the defendant with "immediate notice" of intention to suspend his license, as required by 23 V.S.A. 1205(b). Camolli, 156 Vt. at 210, 591 A.2d at 54-55. The Court concluded that the court erred on both grounds. On the issue of whether the trooper had complied with the statute's notice requirement, we held that the language of 23 V.S.A. 1205(b) was directory, not mandatory, and therefore, a failure to timely serve the defendant with notice did not require dismissal of the proceeding. 23 V.S.A. 1205(b), provided, in pertinent part: "On behalf of the commissioner of motor vehicles, a law enforcement officer requesting or directing the administration of an evidentiary test shall serve immediate notice of intention to suspend and of suspension . . . on a person who submits to a test the results of which indicate that there was 0.10 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the blood . . . ." Id. at 213, 591 A.2d at 56 (quoting 23 V.S.A. 1205(b)). However, as the Court noted, "the statute entirely fails to specify a consequence for failure to comply." Id. at 215, 591 A.2d at 57. Therefore, the Court concluded, the requirement of immediate notice was directory, not mandatory, and the district court erred in dismissing the case.