IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THE STATE OF
JOHN GLENN BARTON
v. Appeal No. CRC 03-00026 APANO
Opinion filed __________________.
Appeal from a judgment and sentence
entered by the Pinellas County Court
County Judge Michael Andrews
J. Kevin Hayslett, Esq.
Attorney for appellant
C. Marie King, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
THIS MATTER is before the Court on John Barton’s appeal from a judgment and sentence entered by the Pinellas County Court. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the judgment and sentence.
The defendant pleaded no contest to DUI charges, preserving his right
to seek review of the trial court’s order denying his motion to suppress.
The defendant claimed that any evidence of the DUI should have been suppressed
because the police should never have stopped him. The officer testified that
he stopped the defendant because his side marker lights were not working.
The defendant argues that the
This Court reviews this matter under
a de novo standard. Ornealas v.
however, is not warranted in this case because the officer had sufficient
justification to make the traffic stop. A review of the transcript of the
suppression hearing reveals that the officer testified that he observed the
defendant driving at approximately 1:49 A.M. The officer observed that the
side marker lights were not working on the defendant’s truck. The officer
also observed the defendant go across three traffic lanes without signaling
and then drive for approximately thirty to forty feet without his headlights
on. The last observation is what warranted the stop. It is against
The fact that the defendant turned off his headlights and drove on
a private road does not affect the stop. The officer testified that this private
road provided access for several residences, and that it was open to the public
for purposes of vehicular traffic. Thus, the private road is viewed for purposes
of the traffic law as a public street or highway. See §316.003(53),
The fact that the officer testified that his basis for the stop was
the non-working marking lights, does not affect the stop. If sufficient facts
exist to justify the stop, it does not matter that the reason the officer
stated for the stop might be invalid. See Hernandez v. State, 784 So.2d
1124 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999). The Court must make its determination based upon
the totality of the circumstances. The stop is justified if it appears in
the record that the stop could have been based on an offense or infraction
other than that articulated by the officer involved. In addition, “where the
trial court determines that a stop does not offend the Fourth Amendment for
incorrect reasons, that finding should be upheld where it is supported by
an alternative, even if unarticulated, theory.” Stone v. State, 856
So.2d 1109, 1112 (
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence are affirmed.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at
W. Douglas Baird
Nancy Moate Ley
John A. Schaefer
cc: State Attorney
J. Kevin Hayslett, Esq.