This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Kristin Joan Knutson,
Commissioner of Public Safety,
Wright County District Court
File No. 86-C6-06-000343
William K. Bulmer II, Mark G. Giancola, Giancola Law Office, 403 Jackson Street, Suite 305, Anoka, MN† 55303 (for appellant)
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Jeffrey S. Bilcik, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN† 55101 (for respondent)
††††††††††† Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Wright, Judge.
Appellant challenges the district courtís decision sustaining the revocation of her driverís license under the implied-consent law, arguing that (1) she was seized without reasonable, articulable suspicion when the deputies asked for her identification, and (2) the deputies lacked probable cause to arrest her for impaired driving.† We affirm.
On January 1, 2006, appellant Kristin Knutson was arrested for impaired driving, and her driverís license was subsequently revoked.† Knutson petitioned the district court for review of her driverís-license revocation, arguing that she was seized without a reasonable, articulable suspicion of illegal activity and that her arrest was not supported by probable cause.† At the revocation hearing, Deputy Melissa Lauer and Deputy David Goggins of the Wright County Sheriffís Department testified that on January 1 they were dispatched to the townhouse of Timothy Lindahl to investigate Lindahlís complaint that Knutson, his former girlfriend, was pounding on his front door and would not leave the premises.† Deputy Lauer testified that Lindahl gave a description of Knutson and her car, which was parked in the visitor‑parking area near Lindahlís home.† Lindahl also advised Deputy Lauer that, although he had not seen Knutson driving her car, it had not been parked in the visitor-parking area when Lindahl returned home, which was approximately ten minutes prior to Knutson pounding on his door.† Deputy Lauer located the car Lindahl described and determined that it was registered to Knutson.† Within 40 minutes of receiving the dispatch, and approximately eight minutes after Deputy Lauer spoke with Lindahl, the deputies observed a woman crossing the street whose appearance matched Lindahlís description of Knutson.†
The deputies approached Knutson in their vehicles with the intention of advising Knutson to stay away from Lindahlís residence.† The deputies exited their vehicles and stood within two to three feet of Knutson. †Deputy Goggins asked to see Knutsonís identification.† She initially handed Deputy Goggins her credit card. †But after Deputy Goggins asked for her identification again, Knutson searched her wallet and produced her driverís license. †Both deputies testified that Knutsonís breath smelled of an alcoholic beverage, her eyes were bloodshot and watery, and her speech was slurred.† In response to their questions, Knutson advised the deputies that she had driven to Lindahlís residence, knocked on his door, and left when she saw a police vehicle approaching.† Knutson also advised that she had been drinking alcohol at a bar before she drove to Lindahlís residence but not after arriving there.† Believing that Knutson had driven with an alcohol concentration over the legal limit, in violation of Minn. Stat. ß 169A.20, subd. 1 (2004), Deputy Goggins administered field sobriety tests, all of which Knutson failed.† Knutson was then arrested.
Knutsonís driverís license subsequently was revoked under Minn. Stat. ß 169A.52 (2004 & Supp. 2005).† On review, after concluding that the deputiesí initial contact with Knutson was not a seizure and her arrest was supported by probable cause, the district court sustained the driverís-license revocation.† This appeal followed.†
D E C I S I O N
argues that the revocation of her
driverís license should be rescinded because the evidence supporting it
is the product of her unlawful seizure.† The
Not every contact between a citizen and a
law-enforcement officer constitutes a seizure.†
In re Welfare of E.D.J., 502 N.W.2d 779, 781 (
Knutson contends that, because the initial contact was with two uniformed deputies who pulled up to Knutson in squad cars at 9:32 p.m. on a public sidewalk and immediately asked Knutson for identification, a reasonable person in her position would not have believed that he or she was free to leave.† The district court determined that ďthe initial contact was not a seizure and that it was properly motivated by an attempt on the part of law enforcement to communicate a message from the victim.Ē† We agree.† The record demonstrates that Lindahl requested that the deputies ask Knutson to stay away from his residence, and the deputies approached Knutson with that intent.† Without activating their emergency lights, the deputies pulled up to the curb where Knutson was standing, exited their vehicles, and asked to see Knutsonís identification to determine whether she was the individual who had been at Lindahlís residence.† When this occurred, Knutson was not suspected of engaging in illegal activity.†
The record evidence does not support the conclusion that, because of the deputiesí conduct, a reasonable person would believe that he or she was not free to leave.† Circumstances when a reasonable person would not feel free to leave may include ďĎthe threatening presence of several officers, the display of a weapon by an officer, some physical touching of the person of the citizen, or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officerís request might be compelled.íĒ† Pfannenstein, 525 N.W.2d at 588 (quoting United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554, 100 S. Ct. 1870, 1877 (1980)).† With the exception of the presence of two deputies, all such circumstances were absent.† And because there is no evidence of otherwise offensive contact between the deputies and Knutson, the contact does not amount to a seizure.† Knutson was not seized until after the deputies observed indicia of intoxication while speaking with Knutson.† Accordingly, the district court properly rejected Knutsonís claim of an unlawful seizure.†
also contends that her arrest for driving while impaired was not supported by
probable cause because the deputies could not establish a temporal connection
between Knutsonís alcohol consumption and her driving.† When reviewing a probable‑cause
determination in an implied-consent case, we consider whether, under the
totality of the circumstances, the deputy ďhad a substantial basis for
concluding that probable cause existed at the time of invoking the implied
consent law.Ē† Groe v. Commír of Pub.
Safety, 615 N.W.2d 837, 840 (Minn. App. 2000) (quotation omitted), review
††††††††††† To invoke the implied-consent law, a
deputy must have probable cause to believe that a person has been driving while
impaired by alcohol.†
establish probable cause, the commissioner must demonstrate a sufficient
temporal connection between the driverís intoxication and the driverís operation
of a motor vehicle.† Dietrich v.
Commír of Pub. Safety, 363 N.W.2d 801, 803 (
Although neither deputy saw Knutson driving or checked the hood of Knutsonís vehicle to see if the engine was still warm, there is ample evidence in the record to establish a temporal connection between Knutsonís alcohol consumption and her driving.† Before the deputies spoke with Knutson, Lindahl had advised Deputy Lauer that Knutsonís car had arrived at his residence within ten minutes prior to her pounding on his door.† Knutson admitted that she had been drinking alcohol at a bar before she drove to Lindahlís townhouse.† And she told the deputies that she had ďjust gotten to the residenceĒ and she had not consumed any alcohol after arriving.† Deputy Goggins spoke with Knutson within 40 minutes from the time that he was dispatched to Lindahlís residence and approximately eight minutes after Deputy Lauer spoke with Lindahl.† After speaking with Knutson, both deputies concluded that Knutson was impaired by alcohol because her breath smelled of an alcoholic beverage, her eyes were bloodshot and watery, and her speech was slurred.† Based on the temporal connection between Knutsonís alcohol consumption and driving, along with her condition when the deputies spoke with her, the deputies had a substantial basis to conclude that there was probable cause to arrest Knutson for driving while impaired and to invoke the implied-consent law.†
Accordingly, the district court correctly concluded that the deputiesí initial contact with Knutson did not constitute a seizure and that the arrest and invocation of the implied‑consent law were supported by probable cause.