Appeal from the District Court of Stark County, Southwest Judicial District, the Honorable Dann E. Greenwood, Judge.
Thomas A. Gehrz, Dickinson, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.
Thomas F. Murtha IV, Dickinson, N.D., for defendant and appellant.
Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.
[¶1] Kyle Lynn Baxter appeals from a criminal judgment entered on a conditional plea of guilty to refusal to submit to an onsite screening or chemical test. Because we conclude the criminal refusal statutes do not violate Baxter's rights under the Fourth Amendment and N.D. Const. art. I, § 8, the unconstitutional conditions doctrine, or the due process clause, we affirm.
[¶2] On November 21, 2013, a Stark County deputy sheriff pulled over Baxter's vehicle in Dickinson after observing the vehicle with frost on the windshield weaving, being driven in the opposite lane of traffic, and almost hitting the curb. The deputy noticed a very strong odor of alcohol on Baxter and that he was lethargic and slow to respond to questions. After Baxter failed a field sobriety test, the HGN test in which he " [s]cored six out of the possible six clues," the officer read him the implied consent advisory and asked him to take an onsite screening test with an Intoximeter. Baxter refused. The deputy placed Baxter under arrest, took him to the law enforcement center, again read him the advisory, and asked him to take a chemical test. Baxter again refused.
[¶3] Baxter was charged with refusing to submit to an onsite screening or chemical test in violation of N.D.C.C. § 39-08-01(1)(e). Baxter moved to suppress evidence, arguing the criminal refusal statutes violate his rights under the State and Federal Constitutions. The district court rejected Baxter's arguments and denied the motion. Baxter conditionally pled guilty under N.D.R.Crim.P. 11(a)(2), reserving the right to appeal the court's order denying his motion to suppress.
[¶4] Baxter argues the criminal refusal statutes violate his rights under the Fourth Amendment and its state counterpart, the unconstitutional conditions doctrine, and the due process clause.
[¶5] In Beylund v. Levi, 2015 ND 18, ¶ 17, 859 N.W.2d 403, we explained:
The determination whether a statute is unconstitutional is a question of law, which is fully reviewable on appeal. All regularly enacted statutes carry a strong presumption of constitutionality, which is conclusive unless the party challenging the statute clearly demonstrates that it contravenes the state or federal constitution. Any doubt about a statute's constitutionality must, when possible, be resolved in favor of its validity. The power to declare a legislative act unconstitutional is one of the highest functions of the courts, and that power must be exercised with great restraint. The presumption of constitutionality is so strong that a statute will not be declared
unconstitutional unless its invalidity is, in the court's judgment, beyond a reasonable doubt. The party challenging the constitutionality of a statute has the ...