Coffey v. ShiomotoAnnotate this Case
After four chemical tests were administered to Plaintiff revealing her blood-alcohol concentration to be between 0.08 to 0.096 percent, Plaintiff’s license was suspended, and she was charged with drunk driving. Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing. During the hearing, Plaintiff’s expert witness suggested her BAC was below the 0.08 percent threshold at the time Plaintiff was driving. The Department of Motor Vehicles, and later the trial court, discounted the expert testimony in part by relying on arrest reports, which described other circumstantial evidence of intoxication. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting the expert’s testimony and placing primary emphasis on the chemical tests showing that Plaintiff’s BAC met or exceeded the statutory threshold at the time she was driving; and (2) both the trial court and the DMV hearing officer reasonably relied on circumstantial evidence of Plaintiff’s intoxication to support the accuracy of the chemical tests and to reject the expert’s view of the evidence as unduly speculative.