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In re Dawson

October 11, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF ROGER S. DAWSON, JR.


On appeal from New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 24, 2007

Before Judges Parrillo and Graves.

Roger S. Dawson, Jr. (Dawson), appeals from a decision by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) denying his request for a hearing prior to the suspension of his New Jersey driver's license. Dawson contends that the denial of his request for a hearing violated his procedural due process rights, the fundamental fairness doctrine, and the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 to -15. After reviewing the record and the applicable law in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

On June 12, 2006, the MVC sent Dawson a Scheduled Suspension Notice advising him that due to his fourth alcohol-related violation, his New Jersey driving privilege was scheduled to be suspended as of July 7, 2006, for 3600 days, and he could either accept the suspension, or he could request a hearing "in writing and mailed within 25 days of this notice." The notice stated that the scheduled suspension was authorized pursuant to "N.J.S.A. 39:5D-4, 39:5-30, and N.J.A.C. 13:19-11.1 et seq.," because he was "convicted of an alcohol-related violation in [an] Interstate Driver License Compact member state." The notice indicated that the alcohol-related violation occurred on February 28, 2006, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it advised Dawson as follows:

Your request [for a hearing] must specify all disputed material facts and legal issues you or your attorney intend to raise at a hearing and must present all arguments on those issues you wish the Commission to consider. If your request fails to set forth any disputed material facts, legal issues, or arguments of such issues, the request will be denied and a suspension will become effective on a date specified by the Commission and constitute the Commission's final decision in this matter. If you request a hearing, a suspension will not become effective pending a decision on your request.

On June 29, 2006, Dawson's attorney sent a letter to the MVC requesting a hearing, but the request did not set forth any disputed material facts or legal issues. The letter, in its entirety, reads as follows:

RE: Roger S. Dawson, Jr.

D.L. No. . . .

Dear Sir or Madam:

I represent Roger S. Dawson, Jr. with regard to a Notice of Proposed Suspension dated June 12, 2006.

Please accept this letter as my client's request for a hearing ...


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