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State v. Neisius

Supreme Court of Nebraska

May 6, 2016

State of Nebraska, appellee
v.
Karry R. Neisius, appellant.

1. Courts: Appeal and Error. Both the district court and a higher appellate court generally review appeals from the county court for error appearing on the record.

2. Judgments: Appeal and Error. When reviewing a judgment for error appearing on the record, an appellate court's inquiry is whether the decision conforms to the law, is supported by competent evidence, and is neither arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable.

3. Statutes: Judgments: Appeal and Error. The meaning and interpretation of a statute are questions of law. An appellate court independently reviews questions of law decided by a lower court.

4. Motor Vehicles: Licenses and Permits. In order to operate a commercial motor vehicle on a Nebraska highway, a Nebraska resident must possess a commercial driver's license or an LPC-learner's permit.

5. Motor Vehicles: Licenses and Permits: Words and Phrases. For purposes of the Motor Vehicle Operator's License Act, the definitions found in Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 60-463.01 to 60-478 (Reissue 2010 & Cum. Supp. 2012) shall be used.

6. Statutes: Appeal and Error. An appellate court gives effect to all parts of a statute and avoids rejecting as superfluous or meaningless any word, clause, or sentence.

Appeal from the District Court for Dixon County, Paul J. Vaughan, Judge, on appeal thereto from the County Court for Dixon County, Douglas L. Luebe, Judge. Judgment of District Court affirmed.

David E. Copple and Michelle M. Schlecht, of Copple, Rockey, McKeever & Schlecht, PC, L.L.O., for appellant.

Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and George R. Love for appellee.

Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Kelch, JJ. Cassel, J.

Cassel, J.

INTRODUCTION

Karry R. Neisius appeals from his conviction and sentence, upon stipulated facts, for driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL). The issue is whether the power unit and hay grinder that he was driving was a commercial motor vehicle. Based upon definitions in the Motor Vehicle Operator's License Act (Act), we conclude that it was. Accordingly, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Neisius' employer provided custom hay grinding services. Its customers were farmers in the region surrounding its principal place of business in Beemer, Nebraska. Neisius was a hay grinder operator. His duties included transporting the hay grinder and its power unit between jobsites and back to one of his employer's offices located in Wakefield, Nebraska.

The hay grinder used by Neisius was designed to operate with a power unit. The parties stipulated as follows:

The power unit is a truck that is used to haul the hay grinder from site to site. They connect via a fifth wheel attachment mechanism and move as one unit. In addition to being dependent on the power unit for transportation, the hay grinder is dependent on the power unit to stabilize it while in operation. The hay grinder can not [sic] be operated properly without the power ...

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