County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL LAW – Traffic Stop– trial court erred in
denying motion to suppress- the officer did not have the requisite founded
suspicion of DUI to conduct a lawful traffic stop- the only evidence regarding
the driving was that the vehicle was drifting to the left towards the center median and suddenly
turned right. Order reversed. Piper v. State, 0604498CFAES, (
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THE STATE OF
Appellee. Lower No: 06264514WTES
County Judge William Sestak
A.R. Mander, III, Esq.,
Jeffrey A. Herzog, Esq. A.S.A.,
ORDER AND OPINION
Appellant was arrested and charged by citation
with the offenses of Driving While Under the Influence, Driving While License
Suspended, Refusal to Submit to Testing.
In addition, appellant was issued traffic citations for the infractions
of Failure to Drive in a
Appellant filed a Motion to Suppress and after hearing, appellant entered pleas of no contest to the charges of Driving While Under the Influence and Driving While License Suspended, with an express reservation of her right to appeal.
At the hearing on the motion to suppress , Officer Cooper testified that while on patrol, he began following appellant’s vehicle for approximately two minutes. He testified that as he followed the vehicle he observed the vehicle start to drift to the left towards the center median concrete curbing. The vehicle then suddenly turned to the right. He observed this pattern of driving seven times and then initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court reverses the trial court’s decision because the record does not competently or substantially support the officer’s stop of appellant’s vehicle.
As argued by
appellant, this case is factually indistinguishable from Carnes v. State,
CRC 02-2987CFAES (
Likewise, in the
instant case, Officer Cooper did not indicate in his report, nor did he
testify, that there was any reason for stopping appellant’s vehicle other than
the vehicle was drifting to the left towards the center median and suddenly
turned right. From this limited
evidence, this Court finds that the record does not competently or
substantially support the officer’s stop of appellant’s vehicle on the basis of
failure to maintain a single lane because there is no evidence that appellant
went beyond a single lane or that the officer stopped appellant to determine whether
she was ill, tired, or impaired. Dobrin v. DHSMV, 874 So. 2d 1171 (
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the decision of the trial court is REVERSED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at New Port Richey,
Primary Appellate Judge
Daniel D. Diskey
A.R. Mander, III, Esq.
Jeffrey A. Herzog, Esq. A.S.A.
Honorable William Sestak
County Court Judges/