Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McDuell v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

June 8, 1967

John W. McDUELL, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Delaware, Appellee.

Page 266

Upon appeal from Superior Court. Remanded.

Arthur J. Sullivan, of Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams, Wilmington, for appellant.

Robert E. Daley, Deputy Atty. Gen., Wilmington, for appellee.

WOLCOTT, C.J., and CAREY and HERRMANN, JJ., sitting.

HERRMANN, Justice:

The question before us in this appeal is whether a conviction of violation of 21 Del.C. § 4176, [1] prohibiting 'driving' a

Page 267

motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, necessarily constitutes a second offense thereunder by reason of a prior conviction of violation of 21 Del.C. § 4111, [2] now repealed, which prohibited 'operating' a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

In 1961, the defendant John W. McDuell, was convicted before a Justice of the Peace of violating § 4111. In 1964, § 4111 was repealed and replaced by § 4176. [3] In 1966, the defendant was convicted of violating § 4176. The Superior Court held the defendant to be a second offender under § 4176, and sentenced him as such to a prison sentence of 60 days and a fine of $1,200., with suspension of sentence deemed impermissible under the Statute. The defendant appeals on the ground that it was error to punish him as a second offender under § 4176.

The State contends that § 4111 and § 4176 are substantially the same; that § 4176 did not create a different offense; that, by virtue of the rule of simultaneous repeal and re-enactment, the prohibitions of § 4111 remain in force and effect despite the language changes of § 4176. We disagree.

The two Statutes are not substantially the same. They are materially different as to the scope of the offense as well as the severity of the punishment: § 4111 prohibited 'operating' and was applicable to 'vehicles upon the highway' (21 Del.C. § 4101, repealed); § 4176 prohibits 'driving' and is applicable 'upon the highways and elsewhere throughout the State' (21 Del.C. § 4101(a)(2)).

These differences manifest, in our judgment, an intent of the General Assembly to create by § 4176 an offense more limited in scope than that created by § 4111. The words 'operating' and 'driving' are not synonymous; they have well-recognized statutory distinctions. Of the two terms, the latter is generally accorded a more strict and limited meaning. The term 'driving' is generally used to mean, in this connection, steering and controlling a vehicle while in motion; the term 'operating', on the other hand, is generally given a broader meaning to include starting the engine or manipulating the mechanical or electrical devices of a standing vehicle. See Annotation 47 A.L.R. (2d) 570, et seq. The two words have been thus distinguished in Delaware. See State v. Pritchett, 3 Storey 583,53 Del. 583, 173 A.2d 886 (1961).

Applying these definitions, the term 'driving' is encompassed within the term 'operating'; but the reverse is not necessarily so. One may not drive a vehicle without operating it; but one may operate the engine or devices of a vehicle without driving it. Otherwise stated: while all driving is necessarily operation of a motor vehicle, not all operation is necessarily driving.

We conclude that the Legislature intended thus to limit the Statute when in § 4176 it substituted the term 'driving' for the term 'operating', previously appearing in § 4111. It is noteworthy that in 1961, the Superior Court dealt with and distinguished the statutory terms 'operating' and 'driving' a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. In State v. Pritchett, supra, § 4111 was found applicable to an intoxicated defendant found slumped over the steering wheel of a standing vehicle. Presumably, the General Assembly was aware of that case and its discussion

Page 268

of the different meanings attributed to the statutory language here involved. Apparently, the Legislature made the changes advisedly, intending thereby to remove 'standing' violations from the operation of the Statute.

Because it was thus changed, § 4176 may not be said to be substantially and materially the same as § 4111. § 4176 proscribes some, but not all, of the acts covered by § 4111. It follows that the doctrine of simultaneous repeal and re-enactment does not preserve § 4111 as part and parcel of § 4176.

Accordingly, insofar as the term 'operating' does not coincide with the term 'driving', § 4176 creates a newly limited offense. We hold that the term 'driving' as used in § 4176 requires that the vehicle must be in motion in order for the act proscribed by that Statute to be committed. Compare State v. Mason,141 W.Va. 217, 89 S.E.2d 425 (1955).

There remains, therefore, the question of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.