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6 N.J.A.R. 173

Motor Vehicles, Division of v. Festa, Jill P
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Citation: 6 N.J.A.R. 173
Decision Date: 1982
Synopsis: The Division of Motor Vehicles sought to suspend respondent's driver license based upon her refusal to submit to a breath alcohol determination test, pursuant to N.J.S.A 39:4-50.2 et seq. The respon- dent argued that she was suffering from a diminished capacity as a result of her susceptibility to alcohol and, therefore, she was incapable of understanding the meaning of the breath test request. The administrative law judge concluded that the respondent had failed to submit to the breath test. The judge found that the law was clear that the inability to give a knowing and intelligent refusal to a breath test due to voluntary intoxication was not a valid defense. The judge rejected respondent's argument that the judge was precluded from considering an unpublished Appellate Division de- cision on the basis of R 1:14. While the rule was certainly binding on the courts, the judge noted that administrative agencies were not courts in the traditional sense of the word nor should the court rules be totally transported into the practice of administrative agencies. In any case, an agency is simply not free to ignore a relevant unpublished appellate opinion. Accordingly, the administrative law judge ordered respondent's license suspended for 90 days.
Statute(s) Cited: 39:4-50.2 et seq.