State v. Meyer, 27218.

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Citation868 N.W.2d 561
Docket NumberNo. 27218.,27218.
PartiesSTATE of South Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Aria M. MEYER, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date22 July 2015

868 N.W.2d 561

STATE of South Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
Aria M. MEYER, Defendant and Appellant.

No. 27218.

Supreme Court of South Dakota.

Considered on Briefs March 23, 2015.
Decided July 22, 2015.

868 N.W.2d 562

Marty J. Jackley, Attorney General, Ellie J. Bailey, Assistant Attorney General, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.

Donald M. McCarty of Helsper, McCarty, Mahlke & Kleinjan, P.C., Brookings,

868 N.W.2d 563

South Dakota, Attorneys for defendant and appellant.


KERN, Justice.

¶ 1.] South Dakota State University (SDSU) police stopped Defendant Aria Meyer and several others in a group on suspicion of underage consumption and for violating South Dakota's open container law. The State charged Meyer with underage consumption pursuant to SDCL 35–9–2 and driving under the influence (DUI) pursuant to SDCL 32–23–1(1). Meyer moved to suppress all evidence stemming from the stop. After an evidentiary hearing, the magistrate court denied the motion. Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, Meyer was found guilty of DUI but retained the right to appeal the court's denial of her motion to suppress. Meyer appealed to the circuit court, and it affirmed. Meyer now appeals to this Court. We affirm.


[¶ 2.] Just after midnight on September 15, 2013, SDSU student patrol officers Jack Dunteman and Brennan Albrecht were on bicycle patrol on SDSU's campus. The student officers were wearing gray uniform shirts and black pants. Dunteman spotted a group of about eight individuals in a parking lot gathered around an open tailgate of a Ford Escape. The Escape's taillights were on. As Dunteman approached, he observed the group walk toward Young Hall, which primarily houses freshman and sophomore students. According to Dunteman, some of the individuals appeared to stumble and could not walk in a straight line, but he could not identify which particular students. Dunteman arrived at the Escape and smelled the odor of alcohol. Dunteman also peered in the rear driver's-side window and saw two open Coors Light cans, one sealed Coors Light can, an open container of Bud Light Straw–Ber–Ritas, and an open bottle of UV Blue Vodka. Dunteman did not witness any of the group members consume alcohol and did not know their ages. Dunteman reported his observations to dispatch and requested a sworn officer.

[¶ 3.] Dunteman observed a patrol car driving nearby and, when it stopped, he spoke with SDSU Police Officer Jonathan Anderson. Dunteman told Officer Anderson that the group that had just crossed the street in front of his patrol car was the group Dunteman had been watching. By this time, the group members were standing outside of Young Hall approximately 20 feet from the east entrance closest to the parking lot. Officer Anderson, who was dressed in a black police uniform, proceeded to make contact with the group and observed that each individual appeared to have consumed alcohol.1 Officer Brandon Schultz arrived on the scene shortly thereafter to assist Officer Anderson. Together, Officer Anderson and Officer Schultz reviewed each of the group member's driver's licenses and determined that everyone in the group was under 21 years old. Officer Anderson asked the student officers to run a license-plate check on the Escape. The vehicle was registered to Meyer. When asked to identify herself, Meyer raised her hand and stepped forward.

[¶ 4.] Officer Anderson took Meyer to his patrol car and asked her questions. Meyer told Officer Anderson that she, along with the other group members, had

[868 N.W.2d 564

consumed alcohol that night and that she had driven the vehicle. Officer Anderson administered field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, both of which Meyer failed. Officer Anderson then arrested Meyer, read her the DUI advisement card, and administered a Miranda warning. Meyer waived her Miranda rights and said that she had consumed Straw–Ber–Ritas. Meyer also said she had driven the Escape and was under the influence of alcohol. Law enforcement obtained a warrant to draw her blood, and the blood draw indicated her blood alcohol content was 0.169%.

¶ 5.] The State charged Meyer with DUI and underage consumption. Meyer moved the court to suppress all evidence, asserting that law enforcement lacked reasonable suspicion and probable cause to make the stop. The magistrate court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion on December 9, 2013. The magistrate court denied Meyer's motion to suppress and entered findings of fact and conclusions of law. The parties entered into a stipulation whereby Meyer agreed to waive her right to a jury trial and proceed to a court trial. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss the underage consumption charge, and the parties agreed Meyer would preserve the right to...

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