IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT†OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTYAPPELLATE DIVISION

WAYNE FLOYD WILKINS,

††††††††††† Appellant,

vs.†††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Appeal No. CRC 00-07405 CFANO

STATE OF FLORIDA,

††††††††††† Appellee.

_________________________________/

Opinion filed _____________________.

Appeal from Order on Defendantís Motion to Suppress Pinellas County Court

County Judge Robert J. Morris, Jr.

Scott E. Samis, Esq.
Attorney for Appellant

Maria DiBlasio, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
Attorney for Appellee

ORDER AND OPINION

††††††††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendantís appeal from the trial courtís order denying defendantís motion to suppress.† After reviewing the briefs and record, this court affirms the trial courtís decision.

ďAppellate review of a motion to suppress involves questions of both law and fact and appellate court must make a de novo review of the trial court's application of the law to the facts.Ē† Rosenquist v. State, 2000 WL 966039 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000).† Furthermore, ďa ruling on a motion to suppress is presumptively correct, and a reviewing court should interpret the evidence and reasonable inferences and deductions drawn from the evidence in a manner most favorable to sustaining the trial court ruling.Ē† Johnston v. State, 438 So.2d 774 (Fla. 1983); McNamara v. State, 357 So.2d 410 (Fla. 1978).†

On May 16, 1999, at approximately 12:50 a.m., Deputy Robert Haimes of the Pinellas County Sheriffís Office observed the defendant exit his truck, which had a transporter tag, and walk into Bradfordís Pub.† Approximately one hour later, Deputy Haimes observed the defendant driving the same truck northbound on Frontage Road approaching the intersection of Whitney Road in a lane clearly marked right turn only.† However, instead of turning right as required in his lane of travel, the defendant went through the intersection and pulled into another bar called the Banana Boat.Deputy Haimes testified at the suppression hearing that he initiated a traffic stop for two reasons: for violating a traffic control device by failing to turn right while in the right turn lane, and for going from bar to bar with a transporter tag on his vehicle.† Deputy Haimes cited the defendant for tag not assigned pursuant to Florida Statute Section 320.261, and as a result of the stop and evidence gathered, charged the defendant with Driving Under the Influence.

On January 18, 2000, the defendant filed a Motion to Suppress alleging that the traffic stop was pretextual and without reasonable cause.† At the conclusion of the hearing on the Motion to Suppress, the trial court denied the motion finding that there were two bases upon which the defendant could be stopped: the transporter tag was being used improperly, and there was a clear traffic violation at the right turn only location when the defendant proceeded through the intersection instead of making a right turn as required.

ďAs a general matter, the decision to stop an automobile is reasonable where the police have probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred.Ē Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 116 S.Ct. 1769, 135 L.Ed.2d 89 (1996).† Furthermore, the court in State v. Snead, 707 So.2d 769 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998) held that an officer had probable cause to make a traffic stop where he observed that the taillight and brake light on the driverís side were inoperable, and no further inquiry into the officerís motivation for the stop was relevant.

Here, Deputy Haimes testified that he stopped the defendantís vehicle because he observed the defendant violate a traffic control device by failing to turn right while in a right turn only lane, and because he believed the defendant was traveling from bar to bar with a business-only transporter tag attached to his vehicle.† The deputy had probable caused to stop the defendantís vehicle and any evidence gathered after the stop is admissible.† It is therefore

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the trial courtís order denying the motion to suppress is affirmed.

††††††††††† DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this 14th day of December, 2000.

 

___________________________
CHARLES W. COPE
Circuit JudgePrimary Appellate Judge



___________________________
NANCY MOATE LEY
Circuit Judge


___________________________
R. TIMOTHY PETERS
Circuit Judge

Copies furnished to:

The Honorable Robert J. Morris

Scot E. Samis, Esq.
4699 Central Avenue, Suite 102
St. Petersburg, Florida 33713

Maria DiBlasio, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
P.O. Box 5028
Clearwater, Florida 33758