State v. Huckin, No. 17996

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtFLANIGAN; MONTGOMERY, P.J., and PREWITT
Citation847 S.W.2d 951
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Timothy John HUCKIN, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 17996
Decision Date02 March 1993

Page 951

847 S.W.2d 951
STATE of Missouri, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Timothy John HUCKIN, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 17996.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Southern District,
Division Two.
March 2, 1993.

Page 952

Joseph B. Phillips, Stockton, for defendant-appellant.

John A. Watkins, Pros. Atty., Dade County, Greenfield, for plaintiff-respondent.

FLANIGAN, Judge.

The trial court, sitting without a jury, found defendant Timothy Huckin guilty of driving while intoxicated, § 577.010, 1 and he was sentenced, as a prior offender, to a jail term of 14 days, 12 days of which were suspended for two years on unsupervised probation. Defendant appeals.

Defendant's first point is that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict and the trial court erred in ruling otherwise because "there was not admissible evidence of intoxicated driving" for the reason that "the evidence failed to show

Page 953

that the officer had probable cause as a matter of law to stop defendant's vehicle."

The findings of the trial court in a jury-waived criminal case have the force and effect of a verdict of a jury. Mo.Const. art. I, § 22(a); State v. Northern, 472 S.W.2d 409, 411 (Mo.1971). Defendant's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence requires this court to determine whether there is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror might have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Dulany, 781 S.W.2d 52, 55 (Mo.banc 1989). We accept as true all of the evidence favorable to the state, including all favorable inferences drawn from the evidence, and disregard all evidence and inferences to the contrary. Id. This court considers any portions of defendant's evidence which would support a finding of guilty "because defendant, by putting on evidence, takes the chance of aiding the State's case." State v. Johnson, 447 S.W.2d 285, 287 (Mo.1969).

"A person commits the crime of 'driving while intoxicated' if he operates a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition." § 577.010.1.

State's witness James Hanak, a police officer for the city of Greenfield, testified that in the early morning of March 30, 1991, he was on duty while parked at the intersection of Wells Street and Highway 160. He observed a Chrysler, driven by defendant, heading south. Hanak testified: "The Chrysler appeared to swerve a couple of times as it was heading toward me. I followed it as soon as it passed my position. Huckin's driving was erratic. The Chrysler would drift toward the center line, the tire would hit the center line and drift back toward the shoulder of the road. This happened four times. I stopped the Chrysler with my activated red lights. I approached the vehicle and defendant rolled down the window. I could detect an odor of intoxicants coming from the vehicle. There was a woman passenger. Defendant's eyes were glassy and somewhat bloodshot and the pupils were dilated. There was a strong odor of intoxicants in the vehicle. I gave defendant some field sobriety tests. He tried to do the one-leg stand test twice and failed it both times. I had him do a heel-to-toe test and he was unable to keep his balance. I placed him under arrest and read him his rights. He said he had had a couple of beers. I offered to give him a breathalyzer test. He didn't blow into the machine sufficiently to get a sample. I tried that more than once. I recorded it as a refusal. I observed him for half an hour. I have had 17 years in law enforcement and have observed people in an intoxicated condition. In my opinion he was intoxicated."

Defendant's wife testified as a defense witness that prior to being stopped by Officer Hanak she and defendant had been at a tavern and shared a pitcher of beer. Defendant admitted that he drank as many as three mugs of beer at the tavern.

The state introduced evidence of one prior conviction of an alcohol-related traffic offense.

In support of his first point, defendant argues that the state's evidence showed that he was driving his vehicle within the speed limit and "drifting between the center line and the shoulder in his lane of traffic but not going over either." The foregoing conduct, says defendant, "does not constitute probable cause to believe that defendant is driving while intoxicated, and it is an unconstitutional stop and seizure of defendant and all evidence obtained from defendant after the stop was not admissible and defendant should have been acquitted."

Defendant attempts to base his argument upon the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution proscribing unreasonable searches and seizures. Defendant's first point makes no mention of the Fourth Amendment, and defendant did not comply with the requirements for preserving the constitutional issues for appeal. Those requirements are set forth in State v. Root, 820 S.W.2d 682, 685 (Mo.App.1991), and need not be re-stated. This court, in the exercise of its discretion under Rule 30.20, reviews defendant's first point for possible plain error. The state makes no appearance as respondent.

Page 954

In Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 663, 99 S.Ct. 1391, 1401, 59 L.Ed.2d 660 (1979), the Court said:

[W]e hold that except in those situations in which there is at least articulable and reasonable suspicion that a motorist is unlicensed or that an automobile is not registered, or that either the vehicle or an occupant is otherwise subject to seizure for violation of law, stopping an automobile and detaining the driver in order to check his driver's license and the registration of the automobile are unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.... We hold only that persons in automobiles on...

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10 practice notes
  • State v. Tompkins, No. 92-1090
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 2 Septiembre 1993
    ...(holding vehicle weaving within its lane continuously for two blocks provided sufficient basis for investigatory stop); State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 955 (Mo.Ct.App.1993) (holding vehicle drifting to center line and back toward shoulder four times within own lane gave rise to reasonable ......
  • State v. Heyer, No. 71452
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 20 Enero 1998
    ...a reasonable suspicion, based upon specific and articulable facts, that defendant was involved in criminal activity. See State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 954 (Mo.App. S.D.1993) (noting reasonable suspicion may arise from "an observation of conduct not constituting a traffic violation but me......
  • State v. Malaney, No. 18468
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 9 Marzo 1994
    ...of mind are irrelevant and not subject to inquiry. State v. Mease, 842 S.W.2d 98, 105-106 (Mo. banc 1992); See also State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 954 (Mo.App.1993); State v. Childress, 828 S.W.2d 935, 945 (Mo.App.1992). A traffic stop may be justified by observation of conduct which may ......
  • State v. Peterson, No. 21630
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 4 Marzo 1998
    ...itself even constitute a traffic violation but merely an unusual operation." Bunts, 867 S.W.2d at Page 857 280(citing State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 955 In the instant case, there was evidence from which the trial court could find that the stop by Trooper Heath was not pretextual, but rat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • State v. Tompkins, No. 92-1090
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 2 Septiembre 1993
    ...(holding vehicle weaving within its lane continuously for two blocks provided sufficient basis for investigatory stop); State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 955 (Mo.Ct.App.1993) (holding vehicle drifting to center line and back toward shoulder four times within own lane gave rise to reasonable ......
  • State v. Heyer, No. 71452
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 20 Enero 1998
    ...a reasonable suspicion, based upon specific and articulable facts, that defendant was involved in criminal activity. See State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 954 (Mo.App. S.D.1993) (noting reasonable suspicion may arise from "an observation of conduct not constituting a traffic violation but me......
  • State v. Malaney, No. 18468
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 9 Marzo 1994
    ...of mind are irrelevant and not subject to inquiry. State v. Mease, 842 S.W.2d 98, 105-106 (Mo. banc 1992); See also State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 954 (Mo.App.1993); State v. Childress, 828 S.W.2d 935, 945 (Mo.App.1992). A traffic stop may be justified by observation of conduct which may ......
  • State v. Peterson, No. 21630
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 4 Marzo 1998
    ...itself even constitute a traffic violation but merely an unusual operation." Bunts, 867 S.W.2d at Page 857 280(citing State v. Huckin, 847 S.W.2d 951, 955 In the instant case, there was evidence from which the trial court could find that the stop by Trooper Heath was not pretextual, but rat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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