IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
vs. Appeal No. 04-0021AP-88B
HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES,
DIVISION OF DRIVER LICENSES,
THIS CAUSE came before the Court on the Respondent’s Motion for Rehearing and the Petitioner’s Response thereto. Upon consideration of the same, the Court finds that the Motion for Rehearing should be granted as the Court overlooked certain points of fact in its Order Granting Petition for Writ of Certiorari, entered June 4, 2004. Therefore, the Court sets aside the previous order and finds that the Petition for Writ of Certiorari must be denied.
The Petitioner, Anthony Reh (Reh), seeks review of the Final
Order of License Suspension, entered February 19, 2004, in which the hearing
officer for the Respondent, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
(Department), concluded that Reh’s driving privilege was properly suspended
for a period of six months for driving under the influence (DUI).
In reviewing the Department’s order, this Court must determine (1)
whether procedural due process had been accorded, (2) whether the essential
requirements of law had been observed, and (3) whether the administrative
findings and judgment were supported by competent substantial evidence.
See Vichich v. Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,
799 So.2d 1069, 1073 (
The record shows that on January 14, 2003, at 7:17 p.m., Officer Pasiuk and Officer Martin, of the Pinellas Park Police Department, responded to a residence to investigate a possible burglary. As stated in Officer Martin’s Narrative, while the officers were on the scene a vehicle drove up and the driver, Reh, shouted out his window, “Whose Cadillac is this?” Reh then exited his vehicle and became “loud and demanding with officers at the scene.” Officer Martin approached Reh, who lived at the residence and is the father of the burglary complainant, to explain why they were at his residence. As Officer Martin spoke with Reh, he detected a moderate odor of alcohol and noticed that Reh’s eyes were bloodshot and watery. Officer Martin also observed “a piece of chewing gum in Reh’s mouth as he spoke in a loud voice.” At the conclusion of the burglary investigation, Officer Martin informed Reh that he was conducting a criminal investigation on him. Officer Martin proceeded to perform a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus evaluation upon Reh and noticed signs of impairment. Reh failed the subsequent field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI. The results of the breath tests showed an unlawful breath alcohol level of .131g/210L and .127g/210L.
Reh argues that the Department’s failure to invalidate his license suspension departs from the essential requirements of law because Officer Martin lacked reasonable suspicion to investigate Reh for DUI. In addressing this issue, the Court finds that the Final Order must be sustained. The Court reiterates the well-settled law that an officer need only have a reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a traffic stop and to administer field sobriety tests. See Parsons v. State, 825 So.2d 406, 409 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002)(stating that a court should consider all facts known to police at the time of the investigatory stop such as time, location, suspect’s physical behavior or anything unusual the suggests criminal activity); see also State v. Russell, 659 So.2d 465, 467 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995)(same).
Although one factor, standing alone, would be insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion, the totality of the facts establish that Officer Martin had the requisite suspicion to conduct a DUI investigation from which Officer Martin developed probable cause to make a lawful arrest. See id.; see also Finzio v. State, 800 So.2d 347, 349 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)(stating that even when none of the facts standing alone would give rise to a reasonable suspicion, when taken together as viewed by an experienced deputy they can provide clear justification for a brief detention). As set forth above, these facts included that Reh was loud and demanding, had an odor of alcohol, and that his eyes were bloodshot and watery; when combined, these facts support a finding of reasonable suspicion. Accordingly, the Court finds that the hearing officer’s conclusion that the arresting officer had probable cause to believe Reh was driving under the influence is supported by competent substantial evidence and conforms to the essential requirements of law. See Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Smith, 687 So.2d 30, 33 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997).
Therefore, it is,
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Petition for Writ of Certiorari is denied.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers, at
DAVID A. DEMERS
Circuit Judge, Appellate Division
Copies furnished to:
Heather Rose Cramer, Assistant General Counsel
Sean B. Kelley, Esquire
Bureau of Administrative Reviews