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Third Court of Appeals Affirms Trial Court’s Granting Suppression in DWI Case

Motion to suppress in DWI case affirmed by appellate court

In an opinion released this week the Third court rejected the state’s argument that the trial court erroneously granted the defense’s motion to suppress in DWI case. This case is another good example of why a trial court’s findings, specifically credibility findings, are often the lynch pin to a successful outcome before an appellate court. You don’t want to argue a successful suppression issue and then have the rug pulled from underneath you on appeal because the credibility findings are not in your favor. This case is also a great example of how an ALR hearing can be a necessary tool to a favorable outcome before a trial court.

In State v. Prince the officer came up with a list of traffic offenses the defendant committed for the first time at the motion to suppress.[1] After granting the defense motion to suppress, the trial court expressly found that the officer’s testimony concerning the reasons for the stop were not credible.[2] A major factor that the trial court considered was that the officer’s testimony at a prior ALR hearing did not mention any of the reasons he later provided at the suppression hearing.[3] The Third Court of Appeals ultimately did not disturb the trial court’s ruling where there was an “absence of any testimony found credible by the trial court that supported the suspected traffic violations.”[4]

[1] “During his cross-examination, Officer Weston agreed that he did not list each traffic violation in his police report or in his affidavit for arrest and that the only offense he described in general terms in his arrest affidavit was the failure to maintain a single lane. Additionally, Officer Weston stated that he understood that trial [*6] courts make a determination regarding reasonable suspicion based on the totality of the circumstances and that officers should include all the information that they have in their reports. Relatedly, Officer Weston conceded that his memory of the events in question “was fresher” when he documented the incident in his official report and in his arrest affidavit. Furthermore, Officer Weston admitted that he did not mention all of the Transportation Code provisions or state that Prince was driving recklessly during his testimony at the automatic-license-revocation hearing because at the time he was unaware of which specific provisions applied. Moreover, although Officer Weston related that he knew what types of driving constitute violations of the Transportation Code and explained that he was aware of all of the traffic violations at the time of the traffic stop even though he did not mention all of them, he stated that he could not explain why during the license-revocation hearing he did not testify that Prince was driving recklessly or mention all of the traffic violations in his report.” State v. Prince, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 3466, *5-6.

[2] Id. at 10-13

[3] Id. at 18-19

[4] Id. at 20

Additional recommended reading: “Recent Third Court of Appeals Opinion on Reasonable Suspicion in a DWI Case

Do you have questions about a DWI arrest? Call 830.445.4394 or contact a board certified criminal defense attorney today.

Suppression in DWI Case

driving while intoxicated, dui, dwi, dwi arrest, dwi case, dwi traffic stop, motion to suppress, reasonable suspicion, Third Court of Appeals