Elias-Cruz v. Idaho Dept. of Trans.Annotate this Case
The issue on appeal in this case came from a decision of a district court which held that in a hearing regarding an administrative license suspension pursuant to Idaho Code section 18-8002A, the hearing officer must consider the margin of error of the breath testing machine when determining whether the test results support suspension. Facing a license suspension, Defendant Alma Elias-Cruz argued at trial that any suspension must be based upon her actual blood alcohol concentration rather than the alcohol concentration as shown by the test because, due to the test's margin of error, her actual blood alcohol content could have been below the statutory limit, and that the testing equipment had not been calibrated once a year as recommended by its manufacturer. The district court ruled sua sponte that her due process rights were violated by the hearing officer's rejection of the equipment's margin of error and that she had a statutory right to present such evidence. The court vacated the hearing officer's decision and ordered the matter remanded. The State then timely appealed. The Supreme Court reversed: "[u]nder Idaho Code section 18-8002A(1)(e), by definition the test results show the alcohol concentration. The issue is not the alcohol concentration in the blood. It is the alcohol concentration as shown by the test results. There is nothing to which to compare the test results. All that is required is that the test results show that the alcohol concentration was above the legal limit." The Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in its interpretation of that statute.