Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DWI Appeal - Texas Arrest OK for Reckless Driving

In Schuring v. State of Texas, Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2011 WL 1331851 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth), the defendant was in a rollover accident, where he was given an HGN test while strapped to a backboard and arrested for DWI. He admitted that he was driving too fast and lost control. On appeal, he claimed that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest, arguing that the HGN test was invalid. On appeal, the Texas court did a "Texas two-step" around the defendant's claim:
"[T]he offense for which there is probable cause to arrest does not have to be the same offense for which the person is arrested.FN17 That is, the officer's testimony that he arrested Appellant for DWI “is inconsequential because we review whether the facts and circumstances known to the officer[ ] objectively constituted a lawful basis for [the] arrest, regardless of the officer['s] subjective understanding of the motivation or purpose of [his] actions.”

Footnote 17 stated: FN17. See Crittenden v. State, 899 S.W.2d 668, 673 (Tex.Crim.App.1995) (“[A] stop will not be invalidated based on the subjective motivation of a police officer so long as there is an objectively valid basis for the stop.”); Campbell v. State, 325 S.W.3d 223, 240 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth 2010, no pet.) (Dauphinot, J., concurring) (noting in DWI case that officer had probable cause to arrest Campbell for reckless driving)."
Concluding, the appeals court wrote:
"The facts known to Officer Moss at the time of Appellant's arrest gave the officer probable cause to arrest Appellant for reckless driving.FN20 Consequently, we do not address the validity of the trial court's conclusions that Officer Moss could have arrested Appellant for public intoxication or had probable cause to arrest him for DWI.FN21 Because Officer Moss had probable cause to arrest Appellant for reckless driving, we hold that the trial court did not err by denying Appellant's motion to suppress.

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