from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Thomas J. Schneider, Judge.
Melanie P. Dornonville de la Cour, Bismarck, N.D., for
plaintiff and appellee.
R. McCabe, Bismarck, N.D., for defendant and appellant.
1] Donald Weisz appeals from the district court's
criminal judgment and the order denying his motion to
suppress. We affirm, concluding there was sufficient
competent evidence of probable cause to arrest Weisz for
being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the
influence of intoxicating liquor.
2] In January 2017, Officers Taylor Roman and Luke Kern were
called to the scene of an accident. Upon arriving, Officer
Roman saw a vehicle, which had crashed into a Capital
Electric box, in the ditch along with fresh tire tracks in
the snow, leading off the road. The vehicle's license
plate read "WEISZ02, " and by entering this plate
into the officers' vehicle registration system, Officer
Roman identified Weisz as the owner of the vehicle and
discovered Weisz's address was on a nearby cross street.
3] The officers did not see anyone in the vehicle, but
Officer Kern saw footprints leading away from the
driver's side of the vehicle. The vehicle was unlocked.
Officer Roman did not find any keys in the vehicle. The
officers saw an individual walking downhill toward the
vehicle. That individual stumbled and tripped over himself as
he approached the vehicle. Officer Kern testified that he saw
this person fall down. The individual identified himself as
Weisz. The officers noted that Weisz smelled of alcohol, his
speech was slurred, he had poor balance, and his eyes were
4] Weisz stated he was traveling from the East 40, a
restaurant and bar about 1.5 miles away from the accident.
Officer Kern testified that Weisz stated, "I came from
East 40, " as opposed to "we." The officers
testified it was a cold night, and Weisz's walking
direction was not consistent with having walked from the East
40. Weisz was arrested for being in actual physical control
of a vehicle while intoxicated. He moved to suppress
evidence, and the district court denied his motion. Weisz
entered a conditional plea of guilty.
5] Weisz argues that because the City of Bismarck lacked
probable cause to arrest him, the district court erred by
denying his motion to suppress.
When reviewing a district court's ruling on a motion to
suppress, we defer to the district court's findings of
fact and resolve conflicts in testimony in favor of
affirmance. We affirm the district court's decision
unless, after resolving conflicting evidence in favor of
affirmance, we conclude there is insufficient competent
evidence to support the decision, or unless the decision goes
against the manifest weight of the evidence. Questions of law
are fully reviewable.
State v. Haverluk, 2000 ND 178, ¶ 7, 617 N.W.2d
652 (citations omitted).
6] An officer may arrest a person without a warrant
"[o]n a charge, made upon reasonable cause, of driving
or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under
the influence of alcoholic beverages." N.D.C.C. §
29-06-15(1)(f). Reasonable cause is synonymous with probable
cause. State v. Hensel, 417 N.W.2d 849, 852 (N.D.
1988). "To establish probable cause, it is not necessary
that the officer possess knowledge of facts sufficient to
establish guilt; all that is necessary is knowledge that
would furnish a prudent person with reasonable grounds for
believing a violation has occurred." Id. In