This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).







State of Minnesota,





Tara Marie Krieger,




Filed May 29, 2007

Klaphake, Judge


St. Louis County District Court

File No. K5-05-600089


Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Tibor M. Gallo, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101-2134; and


Melanie Sue Ford, St. Louis County Attorney, St. Louis County Courthouse, 100 North Fifth Avenue West, #501, Duluth, MN  55802 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Steven P. Russett, Assistant State Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN  55414 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Tara Marie Krieger appeals from her conviction for fifth-degree controlled substance crime, arguing that the district court erred when it refused to suppress evidence that was found in her vehicle after a warrantless search.  Because the police officer had a reasonable articulable suspicion of criminal activity that supported his request for permission to search appellant’s vehicle and because appellant consented to a search, the district court did not err by refusing to suppress the evidence.


            This court reviews de novo the district court’s determination of the legality of a stop based on reasonable suspicion, and reviews the court’s findings of fact for clear error.  State v. Britton, 604 N.W.2d 84, 87 (Minn. 2000). 

            Although warrantless searches are per se unreasonable, a limited investigatory traffic stop is a well-established exception to the rule.  State v. Burbach, 706 N.W.2d 484, 488 (Minn. 2005). 

[T]he scope and duration of a traffic stop investigation must be limited to the justification for the stop . . .[a]nd any intrusion not closely related to the initial justification for the search or seizure is invalid under article I, section 10 [of the Minnesota Constitution] unless there is independent probable cause or reasonableness to justify that particular intrusion. 


Id. (quotations omitted).  The question of probable cause or reasonable suspicion is evaluated by examining the totality of the circumstances and must be “particularized” and “individualized” to the driver.  Id. (quotations omitted).

            Appellant does not challenge the original stop, which occurred because she had been involved in an accident with another vehicle.  Rather, she challenges the expansion of the stop, as it changed from an accident investigation to an inquiry into whether appellant had contraband in her vehicle.  Because an investigatory stop of a vehicle is limited by the original justification for the stop, any expansion in scope is unreasonable unless justified by a reasonable articulable suspicion of other criminal activity.  State v. Fort, 660 N.W.2d 415, 418 (Minn. 2003).  When expansion of a search is based on consent by the accused, the request must be supported by a reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity.  Burbach, 706 N.W.2d at 488.  Reasonable suspicion is not an extremely high standard, but requires “something more than an unarticulated hunch, that the officer must be able to point to [as] objectively support[ing] the suspicion at issue.”  State v. Wasson, 615 N.W.2d 316, 320 (Minn. 2000).

            Here, the officers asked for consent to search appellant’s vehicle only after discovering that (1) James Ecklund was a passenger in the vehicle when the accident occurred; (2) there was an active order for protection (OFP) prohibiting contact between appellant and Ecklund; and (3) Ecklund, who returned to the accident scene in another vehicle and who was placed under arrest for violation of the OFP, had drugs and a weapon in this other vehicle.  Appellant freely gave her consent and does not challenge the voluntariness of the consent.  Because Ecklund had been a passenger in appellant’s vehicle, officers had a reasonable suspicion that they would find contraband in appellant’s vehicle.[1] 

            We therefore affirm the district court’s order refusing to suppress evidence discovered during the search.




[1] Although additional facts were included in the police reports filed simultaneously with appellant’s arrest, we limit our review to the omnibus hearing testimony because appellant is challenging the omnibus order.  The state must offer law enforcement reports into evidence if it intends to rely on them at the omnibus hearing.  See Minn. R. Crim. P. 11.02, subd. 1.