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Trial court errantly suppressed DUI evidence

November 5, 2013

A Marion Superior Court should not have suppressed evidence of intoxication of a man who was taken to a roll-call station on suspicion of drunken driving, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Police pulled over William Gilbert after they said he ran a stop sign. Police said they detected the odor of alcohol and Gilbert stumbled as he exited his vehicle, at which time he was taken in for testing.

“These observations are sufficient to constitute probable cause, and therefore, Gilbert’s arrest and transport to the roll call site did not violate his rights under the Fourth Amendment,” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote.

The state dismissed the charges against Gilbert after evidence was suppressed, but pursued this appeal, State of Indiana v. William Gilbert, 49A05-1303-CR-140.

The trial court didn’t rule based on Gilbert’s argument that officers failed to inquire about his false teeth, thus rendering breath test results inadmissible. The Court of Appeals, though, was chomping to address the question and found Guy v. State, 823 N.E.2d 274, 275 (Ind. 2005), provided guidance. In that case, an argument that a tongue stud made breath tests inadmissible was rejected.

“We believe our supreme court’s decision in Guy precludes Gilbert’s argument that his false teeth make the breath test results inadmissible,” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote for the panel.
 

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