State v. Tague, No. 02-1802.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtWIGGINS, Justice.
Citation676 N.W.2d 197
PartiesSTATE of Iowa, Appellant, v. Steven Eugene TAGUE, Appellee.
Decision Date25 February 2004
Docket NumberNo. 02-1802.

676 N.W.2d 197

STATE of Iowa, Appellant,
v.
Steven Eugene TAGUE, Appellee

No. 02-1802.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

February 25, 2004.

Rehearing Denied March 19, 2004.


676 N.W.2d 200
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Darrel Mullins, Assistant Attorney General, William E. Davis, County Attorney, and Marc Gellerman, Assistant County Attorney, for appellant

Kent A. Simmons, Davenport, for appellee.

WIGGINS, Justice.

This appeal involves a decision by the district court sustaining Steven Tague's motion to suppress evidence obtained after an officer stopped Tague's vehicle for crossing the left edge line of a divided highway. The district court ordered all evidence gained as a direct result of the stop suppressed and inadmissible at trial. The State filed an application for discretionary review, which we granted. We do not believe the police had sufficient grounds to stop Tague's vehicle. This stop violated Tague's rights as guaranteed by article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution. The officer did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop Tague's vehicle when it briefly crossed the left edge line. We affirm the ruling of the district court.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on July 22, 2002, police officer Michael Gonzales of the Le Claire Police Department was traveling north in his patrol vehicle on Cody Road in Scott County, Iowa. Cody Road is a fourlane highway, with two lanes of traffic heading north and two lanes heading south. A painted median divides these lanes. Officer Gonzales observed a vehicle driven by Tague enter Cody Road and proceed northbound in the inside lane. Officer Gonzales observed Tague's vehicle for about a mile. Just as the vehicles approached the Interstate 80 junction, Officer Gonzales observed the left tires of Tague's vehicle cross over the left edge line of Cody Road and return to the roadway. At that point, Officer Gonzales activated his vehicle's overhead emergency lights and stopped Tague's vehicle. When Officer Gonzales asked Tague for his driver's license, he detected the odor of alcohol on Tague. He also noticed a slight slur to Tague's speech and that Tague had bloodshot, watery eyes. Officer Gonzales asked Tague if he had been drinking. Tague responded that he had a couple of alcoholic beverages.

Officer Gonzales conducted a field sobriety test, which resulted in Tague's arrest for operating under the influence. Officer Gonzales also issued Tague a citation for driving left of center in violation of Iowa Code section 321.297 (2001).

Officer Gonzales transported Tague to the police station where he administered a breath test. The breath test showed Tague had a .201 blood alcohol content. The State charged Tague with operating while intoxicated, third offense, and driving under suspension while barred as a habitual offender. Tague moved to suppress the evidence of his intoxication, alleging the officer who stopped Tague's vehicle lacked reasonable cause to make the stop and detain Tague in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution.

At the hearing on the motion to suppress, Officer Gonzales testified he did not observe Tague driving erratically and could not recall whether Tague's vehicle was weaving on the roadway. When asked to describe the movement of Tague's vehicle,

676 N.W.2d 201
he testified he observed both left tires just barely, but completely cross the left edge line and "then they came back" on the roadway. The district court granted the motion to suppress and ordered all evidence gained as a direct result of the stop, including the Data Master breath test results, suppressed and inadmissible at trial. The State filed an application for discretionary review, which we granted

II. Issue.

This court must determine whether there was probable cause or reasonable suspicion to legally stop Tague's vehicle and detain him under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution.

III. Scope of Review.

This controversy arises from an alleged violation of a constitutional right, making our review de novo. State v. Naujoks, 637 N.W.2d 101, 106 (Iowa 2001). The court makes an "independent evaluation of the totality of the circumstances as shown by the entire record." State v. Turner, 630 N.W.2d 601, 606 (Iowa 2001). We give considerable deference to the trial court's findings regarding the credibility of the witnesses, but are not bound by them. Turner, 630 N.W.2d at 606; State v. Liggins, 524 N.W.2d 181, 186 (Iowa 1994).

IV. Analysis.

A. Probable Cause. When a peace officer observes a violation of our traffic laws, however minor, the officer has probable cause to stop a motorist. State v. Mitchell, 498 N.W.2d 691, 693 (Iowa 1993). "Probable cause exists if the totality of the circumstances as viewed by a reasonable and prudent person would lead that person to believe that a crime has been or is being committed and that the arrestee committed or is committing it." State v. Bumpus, 459 N.W.2d 619, 624 (Iowa 1990). The State has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the officer had probable cause to stop the vehicle. See State v. Cadotte, 542 N.W.2d 834, 836 (Iowa 1996), abrogated on other grounds by Turner, 630 N.W.2d 601.

On the morning of July 22, 2002, Officer Gonzales stopped and cited Tague for violating Iowa Code section 321.297's prohibition against driving left of center. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, he testified that he stopped Tague's vehicle to check on the driver's safety. At that same hearing, the county attorney argued Tague violated section 321.306 regulating laned roadways. The validity of the search and seizure does not depend on the actual motivation of Officer Gonzales when he made the stop. State v. Cline, 617 N.W.2d 277, 280-81 (Iowa 2000), abrogated on other grounds by Turner, 630 N.W.2d 601. The State is not limited to the reasons stated by Officer Gonzales in justifying the challenged stop. Id.

To determine if the police had probable cause to stop Tague for violating section 321.297 or 321.306, we must first interpret these sections. In interpreting these sections, our goal is to determine the legislature's intent when it enacted these statutes. State v. Wagner, 596 N.W.2d 83, 87 (Iowa 1999). "We do not speculate as to the probable legislative intent apart from the words used in the statute." State v. Adams, 554 N.W.2d 686, 689 (Iowa 1996); accord State v. Welton, 300 N.W.2d 157, 160 (Iowa 1981) (stating, "when a statute is plain and its meaning is clear, courts are not permitted to search for meaning beyond its expressed terms"). "Although the title of a statute cannot limit the plain meaning of the text, it can be considered in determining legislative intent." T & K Roofing Co. v. Iowa Dep't of

676 N.W.2d 202
Educ., 593 N.W.2d 159, 163 (Iowa 1999). In addition, "legislative intent is to be gleaned from the statute as a whole, not from a particular part only." De More v. Dieters, 334 N.W.2d 734, 737 (Iowa 1983). If the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, we apply a plain and rational meaning consistent with the subject matter of the statute. City of Waukee v. City Dev. Bd., 590 N.W.2d 712, 717 (Iowa 1999)

The State first claims the officer had probable cause to stop Tague for a traffic violation under section 321.297. Section 321.297, entitled "Driving on right-hand side of roadway—exceptions," provides in relevant part:

1. A vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway upon all roadways of sufficient width, except as follows:

a. When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement.
b. When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the roadway, provided, any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the roadway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard.
c. Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon.
d. Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
...
3. A vehicle shall not be driven upon
...

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179 practice notes
  • State v. King, No. 13–1061.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 26 Junio 2015
    ...confronting the officer,” including specific, articulable facts and the rational inferences drawn from them. State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 204 (Iowa 2004). The standard is more than a hunch or unparticularized suspicion, but less demanding than showing probable cause. State v. Walshire, 6......
  • U.S. v. Jones, No. 07-40002-01/02-SAC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • 7 Agosto 2007
    ...the safety of the movement was ascertained. See, e.g., Crooks v. State, 710 So.2d 1041, 1043 (Fla. App. 2 Dist.1998); State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 203 (Iowa 2004); Rowe v. State, 363 Md. 424, 769 A.2d 879, 885 (2001) State v. McBroom, 179 Or.App. 120, 39 P.3d 226, 229 (Or.App.2002); Hern......
  • Williams v. City of Burlington, Case No. 3:19-cv-00043-SMR-HCA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • 29 Enero 2021
    ...2011) (consent to search vehicle); State v. Ochoa , 792 N.W.2d 260, 292 (Iowa 2010) (warrantless search of hotel room) State v. Tague , 676 N.W.2d 197, 206 (Iowa 2004) (probable cause for traffic stop).7 Iowa also appears to require objective reasonableness under its constitution as the sta......
  • State v. Smith, No. M2013-02818-SC-R11-CD
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • 11 Febrero 2016
    ...argument to the grounds ostensibly relied upon by the officer if the proof supports the stop on other grounds. See State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 201 (Iowa 2004).Tennessee Code Annotated Section 55–8–123In State v. Davis, released simultaneously with this case, this Court determined that T......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
179 cases
  • State v. King, No. 13–1061.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 26 Junio 2015
    ...confronting the officer,” including specific, articulable facts and the rational inferences drawn from them. State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 204 (Iowa 2004). The standard is more than a hunch or unparticularized suspicion, but less demanding than showing probable cause. State v. Walshire, 6......
  • U.S. v. Jones, No. 07-40002-01/02-SAC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • 7 Agosto 2007
    ...the safety of the movement was ascertained. See, e.g., Crooks v. State, 710 So.2d 1041, 1043 (Fla. App. 2 Dist.1998); State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 203 (Iowa 2004); Rowe v. State, 363 Md. 424, 769 A.2d 879, 885 (2001) State v. McBroom, 179 Or.App. 120, 39 P.3d 226, 229 (Or.App.2002); Hern......
  • Williams v. City of Burlington, Case No. 3:19-cv-00043-SMR-HCA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • 29 Enero 2021
    ...2011) (consent to search vehicle); State v. Ochoa , 792 N.W.2d 260, 292 (Iowa 2010) (warrantless search of hotel room) State v. Tague , 676 N.W.2d 197, 206 (Iowa 2004) (probable cause for traffic stop).7 Iowa also appears to require objective reasonableness under its constitution as the sta......
  • State v. Smith, No. M2013-02818-SC-R11-CD
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • 11 Febrero 2016
    ...argument to the grounds ostensibly relied upon by the officer if the proof supports the stop on other grounds. See State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 201 (Iowa 2004).Tennessee Code Annotated Section 55–8–123In State v. Davis, released simultaneously with this case, this Court determined that T......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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