This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed June 7, 2005
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 04049898
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Rolf A. Sponheim, Assistant City Attorney, City of Minnetonka, 14600 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, MN 55435 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Shumaker, Judge, and Poritsky, Judge.*
Mark John Olson was charged with driving while impaired by alcohol and driving
with a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 0.10 in violation of Minn.
Stat. §§ 169A.20, subd. 1(1), (5), subd. 3, .27 (2002). After a hearing, the district court
suppressed evidence of a preliminary breath test (PBT) and dismissed the
charges against respondent. The State of
Because even without the PBT, there was sufficient evidence to give police probable cause to arrest respondent, we reverse and remand for trial.
D E C I S I O N
to appeal from a district court’s pretrial order, the state must show that the
district court has clearly erred in its order and that the error, unless
reversed, will have a critical impact on the state’s ability to successfully
prosecute the defendant. State v. Horner, 617 N.W.2d 789, 792 (
officer may lawfully arrest a person for a violation of Minn. Stat.
§ 169A.20 (2004) (driving while impaired) upon probable cause. Minn. Stat. § 169A.40, subd. 1 (2004). Probable cause to arrest requires something
more than mere suspicion and something less than the evidence necessary for a
specific area of DWI law, probable cause to arrest may be based on objective
indications such as slurred speech, an odor of alcohol, bloodshot or watery
eyes, and an uncooperative attitude. State v. Kier, 678 N.W.2d 672, 678 (
The officer here observed the following facts before arresting respondent: (1) speeding; (2) swerving from fog line to centerline; (3) the smell of alcohol; (4) observations made at 1:15 a.m., 15 minutes after bar-closing time; (5) slurred speech; (6) watery, bloodshot, glassy eyes; (7) an admission of drinking; and (8) an admission of having taken a prescribed narcotic (Vicodin) while drinking. These observations are more than sufficient to establish probable cause.
district court here emphasized that all of these observed behaviors could be
explained by innocent causes. But “[t]he
fact that there might have been an innocent explanation for [defendant’s]
conduct does not demonstrate that the officers could not reasonably believe
that [the defendant] had committed a crime.”
Because we conclude that the district court clearly erred in dismissing the charges against respondent, we reverse and remand this matter for trial.
Reversed and remanded.
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.