Appeal from the 1st Multicounty Court at Law Nolan County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2, 421
consists of: Wright, C.J., Willson, J., and Bailey, J.
M. BAILEY JUSTICE.
Texas Department of Public Safety appeals from the county
court's order restoring Pedro Monroy Arciniega's
driving privileges. In its order, the county court reversed
an administrative law judge's decision that authorized
the Department to suspend Arciniega's driver's
license based upon his refusal to submit a breath specimen
after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 724.035 (West
2011). The county court found that the administrative law
judge erroneously determined that reasonable suspicion
supported the initial stop. In its sole issue, the Department
asserts that the county court erred in holding that there was
no reasonable suspicion to stop Arciniega. We reverse and
reviewing an administrative suspension, courts use a
substantial evidence standard of review. Mireles v. Texas
Dep't of Pub. Safety, 9 S.W.3d 128, 131 (Tex. 1999).
A court applying the substantial evidence standard of review
may not substitute its judgment for that of the agency.
Id. The issue for the reviewing court is not whether
the agency's decision was correct, but only whether the
record demonstrates some reasonable basis for the
agency's action. Id. Courts must affirm
administrative findings in contested cases if there is more
than a scintilla of evidence to support them. Id. An
administrative decision may be sustained even if the evidence
preponderates against it. Id.
review the trial court's decision de novo. Tex.
Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Gonzales, 276 S.W.3d 88, 91
(Tex. App.-San Antonio 2008, no pet.). This means that we
independently assess the administrative law judge's
decision under the substantial evidence standard of review.
Id. Whether substantial evidence exists to support
an administrative law judge's order is a question of law.
Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Alford, 209 S.W.3d
101, 103 (Tex. 2006). The true test is not whether the agency
reached the correct conclusion, but whether some reasonable
basis exists in the record for the action taken by the
agency. See Tex. Health Facilities Comm'n v. Charter
Med.-Dallas, Inc., 665 S.W.2d 446, 452 (Tex. 1984). The
reviewing court is not bound by the reasons given by an
agency in its order, provided there is a valid basis in the
record supporting the agency's action. See id.
administrative license-suspension hearing, the Department
bears the burden of proving several elements, the first of
which is that "reasonable suspicion or probable cause
existed to stop or arrest the person." Transp. §
724.042(1). The only contested element in this case is
whether the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to
stop Arciniega. The administrative law judge made the
following finding on this element:
FINDING OF FACT 1: On July 19, 2014, Police Officer M. Campa,
Sweetwater Police Department, at approximately 10:50 p.m.,
personally observed a motor vehicle, i.e., a white pickup
truck being driven by Defendant north bound on Sam Houston, a
public place in Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas.
Defendant's vehicle was approach-ing a stopped vehicle at
a rate of speed that appeared to Campa to be dangerous.
Defendant's vehicle did not brake until late, and had to
maneuver to one side to avoid a collision. Campa made a stop
of Defendant. On July 19, 2014, reasonable suspicion to stop
or probable cause to arrest the Defendant existed.
we must determine whether substantial evidence supports the
administrative law judge's finding that reasonable
suspicion existed for Officer Campa to stop Arciniega. In
that respect, we stand in the same position as the county
court, and we review the administrative law judge's order
without deference to the county court's judgment. See
Alford, 209 S.W.3d at 103.
scope of review is confined to the administrative record.
Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Hirschman, 169
S.W.3d 331, 336 (Tex. App.-Waco 2005, pet. denied);
see Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 2001.175(e)
(West 2016). The evidence in this administrative record is
quite brief in that it only consists of three documents
offered by the Department. One of the three documents was the
"Peace Officer's Sworn Report" prepared by
Officer Campa. The opening paragraphs of his narrative stated
On July 19, 2014 at approximately 20:50 [hours] I Officer
Campa was parked in front of the Mi Familia restaurant
located on the 500 blk of Sam Houston Street running radar,
and scanning the intersection for traffic violations.
I observed a white pickup traveling north on Sam Houston
approaching the intersection behind a white car which had
stopped at the stop sign on Sam Houston. The truck was
traveling at a fast rate of speed, and did not appear to be
slowing down when approaching the white car, at this point I
believe the truck was going to strike the stopped car from
the rear. The trucked then braked hard, and made an evasive
move to the left of the white car, barely missing striking
the car from behind.
I then initiated a traffic stop on the truck by activating my
emergency overhead lights.
paragraphs of Officer Campa's narrative are the only
portion of his report addressing ...