SBAND Seminar Materials DUI Case Law Update Materials

2013 DUI & TRAFFIC LAW UPDATE TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Stop/Arrest Issues A. Reasonable and Articulable Suspicion 1) City of Dickinson v. Hewson, 2011 ND 187, 803 N.W.2d 814 Prosecutor: Defense: Rhonda Ehlis Mary Nordsven Facts: Hewson’s husband called 911 to report he tried to stop his wife (Lola) from leaving because she had been drinking “big time” and was intoxicated. He reported she almost hit him when she drove away and was driving a red Oldsmobile LLC. Dispatch relayed to the officer the direction the vehicle left and also relayed Mr. Hewson was very belligerent during the call. On the way to the residence, the officer saw a red Oldsmobile with a license plate registered to Lola with a different last name but the same address as the husband’s location. The officer did not observe a traffic violation but stopped the vehicle based on the caller’s information and ultimately arrested Lola for DUI. Procedure: The trial court granted a motion to suppress concluding the officer's stop was not justified under the circumstances. The city of Dickinson appealed and the ND Supreme Court REVERSED AND REMANDED. Holding: A law enforcement officer must have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a motorist has violated or is violating the law to justify stopping a moving vehicle for investigation. Three situations provide a law enforcement officer with reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop a vehicle: (1) when the officer relied upon a directive or request for action from another officer; (2) when the officer received tips from other police officers or informants, which were then corroborated by the officer's own observations; and (3) when the officer directly observed illegal activity. The Court has held information from an informant whose identity is easily ascertainable has higher indicia of reliability than information obtained from a purely anonymous informant. Probabilities, not hard certainties, are used in determining reasonable suspicion. In this case, rather than immediately stopping the red Oldsmobile, the officer engaged in further investigation by checking the license plate number and verifying the car was connected to the Hewson residence. Additionally, the officer was investigating more than merely an anonymous tip, but rather a fact-specific report from an identified individual. The officer had more than a "mere hunch" that criminal activity was afoot, justifying a stop of the red Oldsmobile for further investigation. B. Community Caretaker Encounters 1