This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Dakota County District Court
File No. K7-03-802
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Debra Elizabeth Schmidt, Dakota County Attorneys Office, 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Davi Elstan Forte Axelson, Assistant State Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Forsberg, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
On appeal from conviction of first-degree driving while impaired and first-degree refusal to submit to testing, appellant argues that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt. Because the record supports the jury’s verdict, we affirm.
Appellant Dorian Rech was arrested shortly after two law enforcement officials witnessed him driving his snowmobile into a parked snowmobile. The accident occurred despite the officers activating the emergency lights on both their trucks, four people standing in clear view nearby, and the officers’ attempts to gain Rech’s attention. The record reveals that following the collision (1) the officers noticed that Rech was mumbling and difficult to understand, and that his eyes were glassy, bloodshot, and watery; (2) the officers found bottles of beer in his snowmobile; and (3) he failed numerous field sobriety tests.
Upon being handcuffed, Rech immediately became belligerent and uncooperative. The officers were forced to drag Rech to one of their vehicles, and once he was inside, he began to kick at the back door and window. This contentious behavior continued when one of the officers attempted to read Rech an implied consent advisory at the jail; according to the record, the officer was unable to complete the advisory because of Rech’s continued screaming and yelling.
Rech was charged with, and subsequently convicted of, first-degree driving while impaired, a violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 169A.20, subd. 1(1) (2002); 169A.24, subd. 1(1), 2 (2002); 169A.276, subd. 1(a) (2002); 609.101 (2002); and first-degree refusal to submit to testing, a violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 169A.20, subd. 2 (2002); 169A.24, subd. 1(1), 2; 169A.276, subd. 1(a); 609.101. He now appeals the conviction, asserting that the state has failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove these violations beyond a reasonable doubt.
In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, an appellate court’s review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the jurors to reach the verdict that they did. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). The reviewing court will not disturb the verdict if the jury, acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude the defendant was guilty of the charged offense. State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).
Here, the record is replete with evidence supporting the driving-while-impaired conviction. First, Rech hit a parked snowmobile despite numerous indications that people, and potential obstacles, were ahead. Second, after the accident, Rech mumbled incoherently, stumbled around, smelled strongly of alcohol, and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. Third, officers found bottles of beer in his snowmobile. Fourth, Rech failed numerous field sobriety tests. All of these facts, coupled with Rech’s behavior after arrest, could lead a jury to “reasonably conclude the defendant was guilty of the charged offense.” See State v. Thurmer, 348 N.W.2d 776, 778-79 (Minn. App. 1984).
Further, the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, supports the jury’s verdict that Rech refused to consent to testing. “[T]he implied-consent law imposes on a driver a requirement to act in a manner so as not to frustrate the testing process.” State v. Collins, 655 N.W.2d 652, 658 (Minn. App. 2003). If a driver’s conduct does frustrate the process, it will amount to a refusal to test. Id. Here, Rech became uncooperative and belligerent as soon as he was placed under arrest. The officers were forced to drag Rech to one of their vehicles, he kicked at the back door and window, and he screamed “no” numerous times when one of the officers attempted to read the implied consent advisory. As this behavior clearly “frustrated the testing process,” the record amply supports conviction.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.