Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Portage
STEPHEN M. LACHOWSKI, Appellee,
DONALD J. PETIT, REGISTRAR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES, Appellant.
from the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2018
G. Walton, and Gretchen A. Ebner, The Law Office of Robert G.
Walton, 1or Appellee.
Yost, Ohio Attorney General, 30 East Broad Street, 16th
Floor, Columbus, OH 43215, Dale Thomas Vitale, Assistant
Attorney General, and Brian R. Honen, Assistant Attorney
General (For Appellant).
R. WRIGHT, P.J.
Appellant, Donald J. Petit, Registrar of the Ohio Bureau of
Motor Vehicles, appeals the trial court's decision
reversing disqualification of Stephen M. Lachowski's
commercial driver's license because disqualification is
not authorized. We affirm.
The facts are undisputed.
On January 6, 2018, Lachowski was arrested in Portage County,
Ohio for operating his personal vehicle, a 2005
Saturn, under the influence in a private parking lot. The
administrative license suspension/CDL disqualification form,
completed by the officer and admitted at the hearing, states
that Lachowski failed the field sobriety tests and refused to
submit to a chemical test for alcohol and/or controlled
substances. The form also indicates that Lachowski's
driver's license and commercial driver's license were
seized. Lachowski signed the document agreeing that the
advice on the back of the form was read to him.
The investigative report supplement, completed by the
arresting officer and admitted at the hearing, provides that
upon the officer's arrival at the VFW parking lot,
Lachowski was "sitting in the driver seat with the
vehicle's engine still running. * * * Stephen admitted he
was driving the vehicle, and as a result of his reckless
driving, [his car] got stuck in a snow bank." He was
arrested and charged with OVI, refusal, and failure to
maintain reasonable control.
Following receipt of the disqualification form, the Ohio BMV
recorded Lachowski's administrative license suspension
under R.C. 4511.191, and it separately began the
disqualification process regarding his CDL via R.C. 4506.17.
The administrative license suspension (ALS) of
Lachowski's regular driver's license, under R.C.
4511.191, was subsequently "terminated" in his
related Portage County Municipal Court criminal case. The ALS
appeal hearing transcript confirms that the prosecuting
attorney agreed with Lachowski's argument that R.C.
4511.191 did not apply because Lachowski was on private
property at the time of his OVI arrest. The trial court
acknowledged the parties' agreement and held that
Lachowski's "Administrative License Appeal is
The corresponding Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles ALS Court
Disposition Notification form, signed by the municipal court
judge and dated February 18, 2018, states that "the
appeal was granted," and the box is checked next to the
preprinted text stating: "ALS terminated per plea
agreement, ALS reinstatement fee not to be collected."
The Ohio BMV notice sent to Lachowski regarding his pending
CDL disqualification states that his CDL is being
disqualified for one year based on a "conviction"
for ALS/refusal based on R.C. 4506.17. Lachowski appealed the
disqualification to the Bureau arguing that neither R.C.
4511.191 nor R.C. 4506.17 applied, and as such, the
disqualification of his CDL was contrary to law. He argued
that R.C. 4511.191 did not apply because he was operating his
personal vehicle on private property at the time of his OVI
arrest. Lachowski also argued that R.C. 4506.17 did not apply
because a plain reading of R.C. 4506.17(B) establishes that
this statute only applies when an individual is operating or
driving a commercial motor vehicle.
Following an administrative hearing, the hearing examiner
disagreed with Lachowski's arguments and found that
because Lachowski was the "holder of a commercial
driver's license, R.C. 4506.17(A) applied and was the
applicable implied consent statute. She recommended a
one-year disqualification of his CDL. Lachowski objected, but
Petit nevertheless adopted the hearing ...