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Gary Michael Jirovec, Petitioner v. Commissioner of Public Safety

April 8, 2013

GARY MICHAEL JIROVEC, PETITIONER, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC SAFETY, RESPONDENT.



Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CV-12-840

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chutich, Judge

This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2012).

Affirmed

Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Chutich, Judge.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION CHUTICH, Judge

Appellant Gary Michael Jirovec challenges the district court's denial of his petition to reinstate his cancelled driver's license. He contends that the district court hearing denied him procedural due process and that the cancellation of his license violated his right to substantive due process. Because Jirovec failed to raise these issues before the district court, and because the district court properly weighed the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing, we affirm.

FACTS

Jirovec committed several offenses involving alcohol and driving in the mid-1980s, and the Commissioner of Public Safety cancelled his driving privileges in 1986. Jirovec's driver's license was reinstated in 1989 after he completed rehabilitation. As part of the license reinstatement, Jirovec signed a Statement Attesting to Rehabilitation, also known as a "last drink statement," in which he acknowledged that his "driving privileges will be cancelled and denied if the Commissioner has sufficient cause to believe that [he has] consumed alcohol." He specifically agreed to "abide by these conditions as long as [he] wish[es] to be licensed to drive in Minnesota." Despite this lifelong driving restriction, Jirovec's most recently issued driver's license states that he has no restrictions on his driving privileges.

In the early-morning hours of July 31, 2011, Crosslake police officer Jake Maier responded to a noise complaint on the shore of Cross Lake. Officer Maier shined his flashlight on a docked boat playing loud music, and heard someone yell "shine that on me again, f---er, I'll kick your a--." The officer approached and saw Jirovec and two other people. According to his incident report, Officer Maier smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Jirovec's breath and observed that Jirovec's speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot and watery. Jirovec told the officer "that he made a bad choice because he was drinking." Officer Maier reported Jirovec's drinking to the commissioner, who determined that Jirovec violated the abstinence restriction on his driver's license and cancelled his license for three years.

Jirovec filed a petition in district court to reinstate his driving privileges, and the district court held a hearing at which Jirovec testified, along with his niece and her husband who were with Jirovec on July 31. The niece and her husband testified that Jirovec was a sober person, they had never seen him drink, and he was not drinking alcohol at all on the day in question. On cross-examination, however, they admitted that they were both drinking all day and did not know exactly what Jirovec was drinking throughout the day.

Jirovec denied drinking any alcohol on July 31. He admitted yelling at Officer Maier when he saw the flashlight, but denied telling Officer Maier that he was drinking. Jirovec stated that his eyes were bloodshot and watery not because he was drinking, but because he woke up very early that day and had been sitting by a campfire, smoking cigars. He explained the slurred speech described by Officer Maier as due to a speech impediment. Jirovec also claimed that he was not aware of the restriction on his driving privileges that he abstain from alcohol.

The district court denied Jirovec's petition, concluding that the commissioner acted within its authority in canceling Jirovec's license and that the commissioner was not estopped from revoking Jirovec's license even though the abstinence restriction was not listed on his license. Jirovec now appeals.

DECISION

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