This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Kevin Lawrence Stroeing, petitioner,
Commissioner of Public Safety,
Carver County District Court
File No. C602474
James L. Berg, 1059 Stoughton Avenue, P.O. Box 85, Chaska, MN 55318 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Lisa M. Dahlquist, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Wright, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
In this appeal from an order sustaining the revocation of his driving privileges under Minnesota’s Implied Consent Law, Minn. Stat. §§ 169A.50-.53 (2000), appellant Kevin Stroeing argues that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to believe that he had been driving while under the influence of alcohol. Because the evidence is sufficient to establish a temporal connection between Stroeing’s intoxication drinking and driving, the district court did not err. We affirm.
On February 28, 2002, Officers Joseph Carlson and Kyle Gibbons responded to a dispatch. Officer Gibbons received information that the principal of Chaska Middle School East was outside the school talking to an intoxicated male. Officer Carlson was advised that a “possibly intoxicated parent [was] preparing to leave with [a] son or daughter in a vehicle.” The officers arrived at the school within a minute of each other, at approximately 4:26 p.m.
Officer Gibbons arrived first and found Stroeing talking to the principal. An elementary-school-aged child, who was later identified as Stroeing’s daughter, sat in a vehicle located five to ten feet from Stroeing and the principal. As he spoke with Stroeing, Officer Gibbons observed signs of extreme intoxication. Stroeing’s balance was very poor, his breath smelled of alcohol, and Officer Gibbons could tell from Stroeing’s “overall appearance” that he was intoxicated. From Stroeing, Officer Gibbons learned that Stroeing drank two beers earlier at his home in Chanhassen and that Stroeing drove to the school one to two hours earlier to watch his son play in an after-school basketball game. After the game, Stroeing got into an argument with a teacher. The principal intervened and asked another teacher to call the police. Stroeing also told Officer Gibbons that he intended to drive his daughter home. Because of Stroeing’s apparent level of intoxication and because there was no indication that Stroeing consumed any alcohol while at the game, Officer Gibbons believed, based on his experience and training, that Stroeing had consumed more than two beers prior to driving to the basketball game.
Based on Stroeing’s overall appearance, demeanor, and statements, Officer Gibbons conducted field sobriety tests, which indicated that Stroeing was intoxicated. Officer Gibbons arrested Stroeing, transported him to the Chaska police station, and administered an Intoxilyzer test. The results of the test showed that Stroeing had an alcohol concentration of .10 or more. The Commissioner of Public Safety subsequently revoked Stroeing’s driver’s license under Minn. Stat. § 169A.52, subd. 4(a) (2000).
Officers Gibbons and Carlson testified at the implied-consent hearing. The district court sustained the revocation. Stroeing now appeals.
Stroeing does not dispute that he was intoxicated when Officer Gibbons administered the field sobriety test. But he argues that Officer Gibbons lacked probable cause to invoke the implied-consent law. When reviewing a probable-cause determination in an implied-consent case, we consider whether, under the totality of the circumstances, the police officer “had a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed at the time of invoking the implied consent law.” Groe v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 615 N.W.2d 837, 840 (Minn. App. 2000) (quotation omitted), review denied (Minn. Sept. 13, 2000).
To invoke the implied-consent law, a peace officer must have probable cause to believe that a person has been driving under the influence of alcohol. Minn. Stat. § 169A.51, subd. 1(b) (2000).
Probable cause exists when all the facts and circumstances would warrant a cautious person to believe that the suspect was driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Llona v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 389 N.W.2d 210, 212 (Minn. App. 1986) (quotation omitted); Dietrich v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 363 N.W.2d 801, 803 (Minn. App. 1985). An officer need not observe the suspect’s driving behavior, but may rely on affirmative statements regarding pre-driving alcohol consumption. See State v. Harris, 295 Minn. 38, 42, 202 N.W.2d 878, 880-81 (1972); Johnson v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 366 N.W.2d 347, 350 (Minn. App. 1985). To establish probable cause, the state must establish a sufficient temporal connection between the driver’s intoxication and his or her operation of a motor vehicle. Dietrich, 363 N.W.2d at 803. A police officer is not required to know the exact time the driving occurred. See Delong v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 386 N.W.2d 296, 298 (Minn. App. 1986) (sufficient temporal connection exists when officer stopped to investigate motor home stuck on highway median and owner demonstrated signs of intoxication and gave sequence of events), review denied (Minn. June 13, 1986). But the officer must establish, by direct or circumstantial evidence, a time frame showing a connection between the drinking and the driving. Id.; see Eggersgluss v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 393 N.W.2d 183, 185 (Minn. 1986) (establishing sufficient temporal connection when driver’s and passenger’s statements regarding time of accident provided time frame); Hasbrook v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 374 N.W.2d 592, 594 (Minn. App. 1985) (showing sufficient temporal connection when officer located suspect at gas station nearby within minutes of accident, and officer noticed signs of intoxication, and suspect admitted driving into ditch). Proof of probable cause is inadequate when the record contains no evidence connecting the time of the officer’s observations with the time of the driving. Hedstrom v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 410 N.W.2d 47, 49 (Minn. App. 1987); cf. Dietrich, 363 N.W.2d at 803 (holding signs of intoxication following car accident did not establish probable cause absent evidence to establish necessary temporal connection).
Here, by his own admission, Stroeing drank beer at his home in Chanhassen and then drove to an after-school basketball game. The record establishes that, when Officer Gibbons arrived at the school between one and two hours later, he found Stroeing exhibiting signs of extreme intoxication. Because there is nothing in the record to indicate that Stroeing consumed alcohol after arriving at the school and he does not raise the affirmative defense of post-driving consumption, Stroeing’s level of intoxication one to two hours after driving to the school establishes a sufficient temporal connection between Stroeing’s intoxication and his driving. On these facts, we conclude that Officer Gibbons had probable cause to believe Stroeing was under the influence of alcohol when Stroeing drove to the school. Because the evidence is sufficient to establish a temporal connection between Stroeing’s drinking and driving, the district court did not err in sustaining the revocation of Stroeing’s driver’s license.