may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
David Nathaniel Lean, petitioner,
Commissioner of Public Safety,
Filed December 8, 1998
Hennepin County District Court
File No. IC475436
Samuel A. McCloud, Kelly Vince Griffitts, Suite 1000 Circle K, Box 216, Shakopee, MN 55379 (for appellant)
Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, Ann M. Offermann, Michael Pahl, Assistant Attorneys General, 525 Park Street, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55103 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
Appellant David Nathaniel Lean appeals the district court's order sustaining the revocation of his driving privileges under the implied consent law. We affirm.
In the early morning hours of October 26, 1997, a Champlin police officer observed a parked vehicle facing an unoccupied pickup truck in an unpaved, ungraded cul-de-sac that was under construction and not commonly traveled. The officer had noticed the pickup truck in the cul-de-sac earlier in his shift, and seeing a second vehicle there, he decided to investigate.
Unable to see the second vehicle or its occupants well, the officer drove his squad car into the cul-de-sac. As he approached, the second vehicle pulled out and attempted to leave the area. The officer pulled alongside the vehicle and indicated to the driver that he should stop.
The officer asked the driver--appellant David Nathaniel Lean--if he needed assistance. Lean told the officer that he was lost and was trying to find a friend's house in Minneapolis. The officer ultimately arrested Lean for DWI. He refused to submit to testing, and the Commissioner of Public Safety revoked Lean's driving privileges pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 169.123, subd. 4(c) (1996).
On April 9, 1998, the district court, concluding that the stop "was objectively reasonable and well within the law," sustained the revocation of Lean's driving privileges. This appeal followed.
Lean argues that the district court erred in concluding that Lean was lawfully seized. When reviewing the validity of a stop based on given facts, this court asks whether, as a matter of law, the arresting officer's "observations provided an adequate basis for the stop." Berge v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 374 N.W.2d 730, 732 (Minn. 1985).
To justify the stop of a motorist, a police officer "must have a `particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular persons stopped of criminal activity.'" Klotz v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 437 N.W.2d 663, 665 (Minn. App. 1989) (quoting United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417-18, 101 S. Ct. 690, 695 (1981)), review denied (Minn. May 24, 1989). This determination is based on a totality of the circumstances. Cortez, 449 U.S. at 418, 101 S. Ct. at 695 ("[A] trained officer draws inferences and makes deductions * * * that might well elude an untrained person.").
But there is no requirement that an officer actually see a violation. Berge, 374 N.W.2d at 733. Mere suspicion of criminal activity, reasonably inferable from the officer's observations, warrants an intrusion. Id. And "[t]he factual basis required to support a stop is minimal." Klotz, 437 N.W.2d at 665 (citing Marben v. State, Dep't of Pub. Safety, 294 N.W.2d 697, 699 (Minn. 1980)). As long as the stop was "`not the product of mere whim, caprice, or idle curiosity,'" it will be upheld. Id. (quoting Marben, 294 N.W.2d at 699). Here, the stop was not the product of mere whim, caprice, or idle curiosity because the circumstances provided the officer with a particularized and objective basis to justify stopping Lean's vehicle.
First, the facts surrounding the stop, specifically the time (approximately 1:25 a.m.) and place (an unpaved, ungraded cul-de-sac under construction and not commonly traveled), were unusual. Second, the officer had checked throughout his shift on an abandoned pickup truck parked in the cul-de-sac. When he saw a second vehicle parked facing the truck, the officer decided to investigate. Third, it is clear from the officer's initial question--asking Lean "if everything was okay"--that the officer also was motivated by his duty to offer assistance. See Kozak v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 359 N.W.2d 625, 628 (Minn. App. 1984) (noting officer's duty to make reasonable investigation of vehicles parked along roadways to offer assistance and to inquire into physical condition of occupants).
Because the circumstances provided the officer with a particularized and objective basis to justify stopping Leans vehicle, we affirm the district courts order sustaining the revocation of Leans driving privileges.