State of Utah v. McBride

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State v. McBride. Filed April 8, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS

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State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,

v.

Michael Cleve McBride,
Defendant and Appellant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION
(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981226-CA

F I L E D
April 8, 1999
  1999 UT App 111 -----

Second District, Farmington Department
The Honorable Rodney S. Page

Attorneys:
Scott L. Wiggins, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Kathi Sjoberg and Melvin C. Wilson, Salt Lake City, for Appellee

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Before Judges Billings, Davis, and Orme.

DAVIS, Judge:

Defendant Michael Cleve McBride entered a conditional guilty plea to driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, in violation of Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-44 (Supp. 1998). See State v. Sery, 758 P.2d 935 (Utah Ct. App. 1998). Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence of the violation. We affirm.

In order for a traffic stop to pass constitutional muster, it must be supported by reasonable suspicion. See St. George v. Carter, 945 P.2d 165, 168 (Utah Ct. App. 1997), cert. denied, 953 P.2d 449 (Utah 1998). In determining whether an officer had the necessary reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop, we look to the totality of the circumstances. See id.; see also State v. Case, 884 P.2d 1274, 1276 (Utah Ct. App. 1994).

"[A]n informant's tip constitutes reasonable suspicion to justify a detention or seizure of a vehicle and its driver if the information is reliable, provides sufficient detail of criminal activity, and is confirmed by the investigating officer." St. George, 945 P.2d at 169; accord Kaysville City v. Mulcahy, 943 P.2d 231, 235-36 (Utah Ct. App. 1997), cert. denied, 953 P.2d 449 (Utah 1997). Defendant does not argue that the officer did not have the necessary reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop based upon the Arctic Circle manager's information provided to dispatch and then relayed to the arresting officer. Instead, defendant argues that because the officer did not immediately proceed to the Arctic Circle parking lot to investigate defendant, but waited until defendant began driving down the street before he stopped him, the informant's tip cannot be relied on to support a determination of reasonable suspicion. Thus, defendant contends that, based only upon the turn, there was insufficient evidence to establish an articulable reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Although "'officers are encouraged to investigate the suspect immediately, rather than to allow the suspect to drive so that the officer may observe the driving,'" Kaysville City, 943 P.2d at 236, here the officer spent less than sixty seconds in the parking lot across the street from the Arctic Circle to observe and corroborate the information from dispatch before he tried to cross the street and approach defendant. When the officer was attempting to cross the street, defendant left the Arctic Circle parking lot. The officer immediately got behind defendant's truck. Defendant and the officer had traveled less than an eighth of a mile before a traffic stop was initiated after defendant's wide right turn. Evaluating the totality of these circumstances, we conclude that there were "'sufficient "specific and articulable facts" to support reasonable suspicion.'" St. George, 945 P.2d at 168 (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 1880 (1968)).

Because the only issue on appeal is the justification of the initial stop, and we conclude that the officer was justified in stopping defendant, the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence of the violation is affirmed.
 
 

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James Z. Davis, Judge

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WE CONCUR:
 
 

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Judith M. Billings, Judge
 
 

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Gregory K. Orme, Judge