JOSEPH D. HUFFMAN
STATE OF LOUISIANA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, LICENSE CONTROL AND DRIVER IMPROVEMENT DIVISION
Appeal from the 21 st Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of Livingston State of Louisiana Trial Court Docket
Number 154, 335, Honorable Charlotte LL Foster, Judge
J. Delatte, Jr. Stephen R. Edwards, Jr Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, Counsel for Plaintiff/ Appellant, Joseph D.
C. Hopes Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Counsel for Defendant/
Appellee, State of Louisiana, Department of Public Safety and
Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles.
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.
Joseph D. Huffman, seeks review of a district court judgment
that affirmed the suspension of his driver's license and
required him to install an ignition interlock device prior to
its reinstatement. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the
judgment of the district court.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
31, 2016, around 2:30 a.m., Louisiana State Trooper William
Cook stopped Mr. Huffman for a traffic violation. When
Trooper Cook approached the vehicle, he smelled an odor of an
alcoholic beverage and observed Mr. Huffman swaying while
trying to stand. Trooper Cook became suspicious that Mr.
Huffman was impaired, but did not suspect Mr. Huffman to be
under the influence of drugs. Therefore, he decided to
administer field sobriety tests. Mr. Huffman performed poorly
on the standardized field sobriety testing and was arrested
for driving while intoxicated and transported to the
Livingston Parish Jail. Trooper Cook read to Mr. Huffman the
applicable portions of the standardized arrestee's rights
form, "Rights Relating to the Chemical Test for
Intoxication." Mr. Huffman refused to sign the form, but
submitted to the chemical test for intoxication. The results
indicated a . 172 grams percent blood alcohol concentration.
Huffman's driver's license was suspended, and he
timely requested, and was granted, an administrative hearing
to contest the suspension. Mr. Huffman's suspension was
affirmed. He filed suit in the Twenty-First Judicial District
Court to challenge the suspension. A de novo hearing
on the merits was held on April 3, 2017. The district court
heard testimony from witnesses, and evidence was submitted.
The district court ordered post-trial memoranda, and took the
matter under advisement. On May 5, 2017, the district court
issued reasons for judgment, and signed a judgment affirming
the 365 day suspension of Mr. Huffman's driving
privileges, and requiring Mr. Huffman to install an ignition
interlock device in his vehicle prior to reinstatement of his
driver's license. From that judgment, Mr. Huffman
Huffman asserts that the district court erred in finding that
(1) even though he was not advised of all of the rights as
required by La. R.S. 32;66l(C)(1), the test results were
admissible, since he was not prejudiced; and (2) the
provisions of La. R.S. 32;667(I)(1)(b) were proven by
competent evidence to be applicable in this matter, thereby
requiring the use of an ignition interlock device at the time
review of the administrative suspension of a driver's
license pursuant to the implied consent law, the district
court is required to conduct a trial de novo to
determine the propriety of the suspension. Such a trial is a
civil action amenable to all of the ordinary rules of
procedure and proof. Further, the fact that this is an action
for judicial review of a decision resulting from an
administrative hearing does not change the burden of proof
placed by law. Stoltz v. Dept. of Public Safety and
Corrections, 2013-1968 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/25/14), 147
So.3d 1131, 1133.
implied consent statute, La. R.S. 32;66l(A)(1), provides, in