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McMillin v. Director of Revenue

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

June 13, 2017

BRYCE CHRISTOPHER McMILLIN, Respondent,
v.
DIRECTOR OF REVENUE, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Johnson County, Missouri The Honorable Chad N. Pfister, Judge

          Before Thomas H. Newton, Presiding Judge, and James Edward Welsh and Karen King Mitchell, Judges

          KAREN KING MITCHELL, JUDGE

         The Director of Revenue appeals the trial court's reversal of the Missouri Department of Revenue's administrative decision to suspend Bryce Christopher McMillin's driving license under § 302.505.[1] Director argues that the trial court erred in finding that McMillin's scooter was not a "motor vehicle" as set forth in § 302.505 and, therefore, Director could not revoke McMillin's driving privilege. Finding no error, we affirm.

         Background

         At 1:45 a.m. on September 24, 2015, Officer Michael Bilbruck observed McMillin operating a scooter on a public road. The scooter had no working taillight and was swerving back and forth. McMillin failed to signal a left turn, and the officer initiated a traffic stop.

         During the stop, the officer observed McMillin sway in place while standing. McMillin's eyes were watery, glassy, and bloodshot. McMillin mumbled and smelled of alcohol. McMillin admitted he had been consuming alcohol. Officer Bilbruck conducted a field sobriety test, and his observations suggested McMillin was intoxicated.

         Officer Bilbruck arrested McMillin for driving while intoxicated and transported him to the Warrensburg Police Department. At the police department, Cpl. Jason Gilbert conducted a chemical test of McMillin's breath using an Intox EC/IR II breath instrument. The test revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.157%.

         On December 9, 2015, the Missouri Department of Revenue held an administrative hearing regarding McMillin's arrest and possible license suspension under § 302.505. The administrative hearing officer issued a decision against McMillin. On December 23, 2015, McMillin petitioned for a trial de novo pursuant to § 302.535.

         The Johnson County Circuit Court held a hearing on the matter and entered a judgment on May 18, 2016. The Circuit Court set aside the administrative decision, finding that McMillin's scooter was not a "motor vehicle" as set forth in § 302.505 and, therefore, Director could not revoke McMillin's driving privilege. Director appeals.

         Standard of Review

         "On appeal, we review the trial court's judgment, not the administrative order revoking driving privileges." Covert v. Fisher, 151 S.W.3d 70, 73 (Mo. App. E.D. 2004) (citing Barlow v. Fischer, 103 S.W.3d 901, 905 (Mo. App. W.D. 2003)). "We will affirm the circuit court's judgment unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law." S.H. v. Cannon, 504 S.W.3d 817, 820 (Mo. App. W.D. 2016) (citing Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976)). "We review legal issues de novo, without any deference to the circuit court's conclusions." Id. (citing Pearson v. Koster, 367 S.W.3d 36, 43 (Mo. banc 2012)). "Where the parties have stipulated to the facts or where one party has admitted the other party's facts in pleadings, testimony, or through counsel, the case involves only legal issues, and we do not defer to the circuit court's conclusions drawn upon stipulated or admitted facts." Id. (citing White v. Dir. of Revenue, 321 S.W.3d 298, 308 (Mo. banc 2010)).

         Analysis

         Director argues that McMillin's license should be revoked ...


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