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State v. Dowdy

Supreme Court of North Dakota

February 21, 2019

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Alexis Dowdy, Defendant and Appellant

          Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Thomas J. Schneider, Judge.

          Karlei K. Neufeld, Assistant State's Attorney, Bismarck, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Danny L. Herbel, Bismarck, ND, for defendant and appellant.

          OPINION

          CROTHERS, JUSTICE.

         [¶ 1] Alexis Dowdy appeals from a judgment entered after she conditionally pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. Dowdy argues the arresting officer improperly added inaccurate and coercive language to the statutorily required implied consent advisory, and she did not voluntarily consent to chemical testing. The district court found Dowdy was read a complete implied consent advisory and she voluntarily consented to chemical testing. We affirm.

         I

         [¶ 2] North Dakota Highway Patrol Officer Jeremy Rost stopped Dowdy in Bismarck for making an improper turn. Dowdy admitted she consumed five alcoholic beverages. After administering field sobriety tests, Rost arrested Dowdy for driving under the influence. Rost read Dowdy the North Dakota implied consent advisory and took her to the Burleigh Morton detention center for a chemical breath test. The test revealed Dowdy's blood alcohol concentration of 0.168 percent.

         [¶ 3] Dowdy moved to suppress the results of her chemical breath test, arguing Rost did not read her an accurate implied consent advisory. She also argued she did not voluntarily consent to the breath test. The district court denied Dowdy's motion after reviewing the evidence, including a video of the traffic stop. The court found Rost read her an accurate and complete implied consent advisory and she voluntarily consented to the breath test. Dowdy conditionally pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

         II

         [¶ 4] Our standard of review for a district court's decision on a motion to suppress evidence is well established:

"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 we conclude there is insufficient competent evidence to support the decision, or unless the decision goes against the manifest weight of the evidence."

State v. James, 2016 ND 68, ¶ 5, 876 N.W.2d 720 (quoting City of Dickinson v. Hewson, 2011 ND 187, ¶ 6, 803 N.W.2d 814). Whether a finding of fact meets a legal standard is a question of law, which is fully reviewable on appeal. State v. White, 2018 ND 266, ¶ 6, 920 N.W.2d 742.

         III

         [¶ 5] Dowdy argues the district court erred in denying her motion to suppress because Rost read her an inaccurate implied consent advisory. She also claims her consent to the chemical breath test was not voluntary because Rost's ...


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