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People v. Burton

Superior Court of California, Appellate Division, Ventura

June 6, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
DAVID BURTON, Defendant and Appellant

Pub. order by Supreme Ct. 8/28/13

APPEAL from a judgment from the trial court in the Superior Court of Ventura County, Case Number 2010028438 Kent M. Kellegrew, Judge.

Gregory D. Totten, District Attorney and W. Taylor Waters, Deputy District Attorney, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Stephen P. Lipson, Public Defender and Kenneth N. Hamilton, Deputy Public Defender, for Defendant and Appellant.

BY THE COURT:[*]

STATEMENT OF CASE

Appellant contests his convictions for violating Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a), 23152(b), and special allegations of Vehicle Code Sections 23578, 23575(a)(1), 23577(a)(1). Appellant was arrested on August 10, 2010. Criminal charges were filed against Appellant on December 22, 2010. A pretrial motion to suppress evidence, Penal Code Section 1538.5, was heard and denied by the Honorable Judge Ryan Wright on February 2, 2012. Jury trial commenced on February 7, 2012 and the jury returned verdicts of guilty and true findings on the special allegations on February 10, 2012. This appeal ensued.

GROUNDS ON APPEAL

Appellant contests the denial of his motion to suppress. Appellant asks this court to rule that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution mandates that a warrantless misdemeanor arrest is only reasonable when the misdemeanor is committed, ‘in the officer’s presence.’ For the reasons stated below, we decline to do so.

FACTUAL SUMMARY

There are no real factual disputes between Appellant and Respondent. The issue on appeal is limited to whether Vehicle Code Section 40300.5 violates the provisions of the Fourth Amendment because it allows for the arrest, under certain circumstances, of a misdemeanant suspected of driving under the influence when the offense was not committed in the officer’s presence. A summary of the testimony offered at the suppression hearing reveals that a civilian witness observed Appellant acting erratically, and concluded that Appellant appeared intoxicated or drunk. The same witness saw appellant, get in a red truck and drive on to the freeway. The witness called police and provided them with Appellant’s license plate number and a description of what he had observed. Twenty minutes later Officer Haumann located the red truck that matched the description provided by the witness. Appellant was standing near the truck. Officer Haumann noticed signs of intoxication and smelled the odor of alcohol coming from Appellant. Appellant was unsteady on his feet and swayed as he walked. Appellant was ultimately arrested for violating Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) after Officer Haumann confirmed that Appellant had been driving the truck recently.

DISCUSSION

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The factual findings of the trial court are to be upheld if they are supported by ‘substantial evidence.’ People v. Lebya (1981) 29 Cal.3d 591, 596-597. People v Madrid (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1050. A reviewing court takes a de novo approach to analyzing whether the trial court selected the appropriate standard of law and ...


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