from the Iowa District Court for Tama County, Kevin McKeever,
appeals the district court's order denying his motion to
suppress evidence. AFFIRMED
R. Johnson of Brinton, Bordwell & Johnson, Clarion, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Benjamin M. Parrott,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.
Schlichting appeals his conviction for operating while
intoxicated. He alleges the district court erred in denying
his motion to suppress because the officer did not have
probable cause to stop the vehicle. Because Schlichting
violated a traffic law, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
3, 2015, Trooper Jared Rude was on duty when he stopped to
fill up his patrol car with gas at the Traer Short Stop in
Traer, Iowa. As he walked into the store to pay for the gas,
the store clerk came out to inform Rude that an intoxicated
customer was leaving in a truck. The officer asked the clerk
to identify the suspect, and she pointed to a red Chevy
Colorado truck leaving the parking lot, being driven by
Schlichting. The officer returned to his patrol car and began
following the truck.
officer followed Schlichting for a short distance without
incident. Schlichting then approached a two-way stop sign.
The officer testified that while Schlichting was stopped at
the intersection, he did not have a turn signal on. After a
white vehicle passed through the intersection, Schlichting
made a left turn without using his signal. Rude was
approximately 150 to 200 feet behind Schlichting's car at
the time of the turn, and Rude stated he could see the
car's taillights clearly. Based on Schlichting's
failure to use his turn signal, Rude initiated a traffic
stop. During the stop, he observed Schlichting's
bloodshot, watery eyes and the smell of alcohol. Schlichting
then admitted to consuming alcohol that day, and Rude
arrested Schlichting after he failed a field-sobriety test.
Schlichting's breath sample revealed a blood-alcohol
content of .161 percent.
25, Schlichting was charged with operating while intoxicated,
first offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2
(2015). Schlichting filed a motion to suppress evidence,
claiming the stop violated the protections of the Fourth
Amendment of the United States Constitution. Rude and the
clerk testified at the hearing. The district court
determined, "[T]he trooper was credible when he
indicated that he did not see a turn signal on the
defendant's vehicle when he made a left-hand turn at the
intersection of Third Street and Walnut Street." The
court denied Schlichting's motion to suppress because (1)
the officer had reasonable suspicion based on the increased
reliability of a citizen's tip; and (2) the turn was
illegal, which created probable cause for Rude to stop the
vehicle. Regarding the illegality of the turn, the court
[T]he trooper was at most one-half of a block behind the
defendant's vehicle before the defendant commenced his
left turn. Therefore, the defendant's lack of signaling
in this case could have affected the trooper's vehicle. .
. . [T]he State has shown by a preponderance of the evidence
that the trooper had reasonable cause to stop the
defendant's vehicle for a violation of Iowa Code section
waived his right to a jury trial, and the court held a trial
on the minutes of evidence. The court ...