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Oringderff v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana

April 24, 2017

SHELTON LYNN ORINGDERFF, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

          Submitted: December 27, 2016

         On Appeal from the 354th District Court Hunt County, Texas Trial Court No. 29370

          Before Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.

          OPINION

          Ralph K. Burgess Justice

         Shelton Lynn Oringderff was convicted of the offense of felony driving while intoxicated (DWI) in violation of Sections 49.04 and 49.09(b) of the Texas Penal Code and was sentenced to fifty years' incarceration. On appeal, Oringderff claims that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress evidence and that the remaining evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. We overrule both points of error and affirm the trial court's judgment.

         I. The Trial Court Did Not Err in Denying Oringderff's Motion to Suppress Evidence

         A. Factual And Procedural History

         Oringderff moved the trial court to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop by Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) Trooper Damon Williams. In his motion to suppress, Oringderff alleged that Williams "did not have probable cause to stop [him and that] the stop and all evidence obtained from it were . . . illegal under the [F]ourth [A]mendment [to] the U[nited] S[tates] Constitution and [A]rticle 1, [S]ection 9 of the Texas Constitution."[1] The trial court set Oringderff's motion to suppress for hearing on at least one occasion, but the motion was not argued on that or any other date. Rather, during the course of a pretrial conference where the parties and the trial court discussed possible dates for a suppression hearing, Oringderff's counsel stated that he was ready to hear the trial court's ruling on the motion to suppress if the court had made a decision.

         In response to Oringderff's statement, the trial court informed the parties that it had reviewed (1) an audio recording of a 911 call alerting law enforcement to the possibility of a drunk driver and (2) an audio/video recording of Oringderff's traffic stop captured by the dashboard camera (dash cam) in Williams' patrol car. The trial court asked if either party had any additional evidence to present on the suppression issue, and both parties said that they did not. At that point, the trial court denied Oringderff's motion to suppress.

         B. Applicable Law and Standard of Review

         A traffic stop constitutes a Fourth Amendment seizure, and reasonable suspicion is required to conduct such a stop. See Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 439 (1984); see also Ford v. State, 158 S.W.3d 488, 492 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005). As the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has noted,

A police officer has reasonable suspicion to detain if he has specific, articulable facts that, combined with rational inferences from those facts, would lead him to reasonably conclude that the person detained is, has been, or soon will be engaged in criminal activity. This standard is an objective one that disregards the actual subjective intent of the arresting officer and looks, instead, to whether there was an objectively justifiable basis for the detention. It also looks to the totality of the circumstances; those circumstances may all seem innocent enough in isolation, but if they combine to reasonably suggest the imminence of criminal conduct, an investigative detention is justified.

Derischweiler v. State, 348 S.W.3d 906, 914 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011) (footnotes omitted). The

         United States Supreme Court has also held that

"reasonable suspicion" necessary to justify such a stop "is dependent upon both the content of information possessed by police and its degree of reliability." Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 330 (1990). The standard takes into account "the totality of the circumstances-the whole picture." [United States v.] Cortez, [449 U.S. 411');">449 U.S. 411, 147 (1981)]. Although a mere "'hunch'" does not create reasonable suspicion, Terry [v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 27 (1968)], the level of suspicion the standard requires is "considerably less than proof of wrongdoing by a preponderance of the evidence, " and ...

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