Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
THE 27TH DISTRICT COURT OF BELL COUNTY NO. 78725, THE
HONORABLE JOHN GAUNTT, JUDGE PRESIDING
Justices Goodwin, Baker, and Triana
J. BAKER, JUSTICE.
a traffic stop, Michael Lance Wood was charged with driving
while intoxicated. See Tex. Penal Code § 49.04.
The indictment alleged that Wood had previously been
convicted of driving while intoxicated on three prior
occasions. See id. § 49.09(b)(2). After his
arrest, Wood filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized
during the traffic stop. The district court conducted a
hearing regarding the motion to suppress and later granted
the motion. The State appeals the district court's order
granting the motion to suppress. See Tex. Code Crim.
Proc. art. 44.01(a)(5). We will reverse the district
court's order and remand for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
out above, Wood was charged with driving while intoxicated
and filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained during a
traffic stop, and the district court held a hearing regarding
the motion. In his motion, Wood argued that Officer Matthew
Hicks did not have reasonable suspicion to believe that an
offense occurred before he initiated the traffic stop that
ultimately resulted in Wood's arrest. During the
suppression hearing, Officer Hicks was the only witness to
Hicks testified that he observed "a lit cigarette come
out of the driver['s] window" of the vehicle that
Wood was driving and then "fall to the street."
Officer Hicks also related that the cigarette did not cause a
fire when it hit the ground. Further, Officer Hicks testified
that after seeing the cigarette land on the road, he
initiated a traffic stop. In addition, Officer Hicks stated
that he ultimately arrested Wood for driving while
intoxicated after asking Wood to perform various
field-sobriety tests. During Officer Hicks's testimony, a
video recording from his dashboard camera was admitted into
evidence and played for the district court. The video shows
what appears to be a cigarette being tossed from Wood's
car and landing on the road in front of Officer Hicks's
the hearing, the district court issued an order granting
Wood's motion to suppress and also issued the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:
3. While following the vehicle, [Officer Hicks] observed a
lit cigarette come out of the driver's window and fall
into the street in front of his patrol unit.
4. No fire was started by the cigarette.
5. [Officer Hicks] conducted a traffic stop for littering. .
11. The littering statute, Health & Safety Code Sec.
365.012 was amended . . . to add (a-1) which made disposing
of lighted litter, including a cigarette[, ] an offense only
if a ...