from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Terry R.
direct appeal, the defendant challenges his convictions and
Alexander Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble
Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
Royer appeals his convictions for operating while
intoxicated, third offense, in violation of Iowa Code section
321J.2 (2015); leaving the scene of an accident resulting in
injury, in violation of Iowa Code sections 321.261 and
321.263; driving while barred as a habitual offender, in
violation of Iowa Code sections 321.560 and 321.561; and
driving while revoked, in violation of Iowa Code section
321J.21. He raises several challenges to his convictions and
sentences, and we address them in turn.
begin first with the facts and circumstances of the offenses.
This case arises out of a 2015 car accident. Royer was
operating a motor vehicle and failed to stop at a stop sign.
A van struck Royer's vehicle, causing several injuries to
Royer, Royer's passenger, Scott Hall, and the occupants
of the van. Royer exited the vehicle, fled the scene, and
went to a nearby apartment complex. Police Sergeant James
Archer found Royer. Archer observed Royer had bloodshot eyes
and slurred speech. Archer detected the odor of an alcoholic
beverage on Royer's breath. Before Royer was taken to the
hospital for medical treatment, Archer asked Royer to take a
preliminary breath test (PBT). Royer refused once he learned
no one died in the accident. He refused again when Archer
suggested taking the breath test could establish his
sobriety. After Royer received medical treatment at a local
hospital, Iowa State Patrol Trooper Durk Pearston transported
Royer to the local police station. Pearston asked Royer if he
would to take a PBT, and Royer declined. At the time of the
accident, Royer's driver's license was barred as a
habitual offender and revoked pursuant to chapter 321J.
was charged with operating while intoxicated, third offense,
leaving the scene of an accident causing injury, driving
while barred as a habitual offender, driving while revoked,
and operating a motor vehicle without the owner's
consent. The matter proceeded to trial by jury. The jury
found Royer guilty of all counts except operating a motor
vehicle without the owner's consent. The district court
ordered the sentences for leaving the scene of the accident
causing injury to be served consecutively to the sentence for
operating while intoxicated. The district court ordered the
remainder of the sentences to be served concurrently with the
sentence for operating while intoxicated. Royer timely filed
first challenges several related evidentiary rulings.
Specifically, Royer contends it was error for the district
court to allow Archer and Pearston to testify Royer refused
to submit to PBTs. Evidentiary rulings are reviewed for an
abuse of discretion. State v. Rodriquez, 636 N.W.2d
234, 239 (Iowa 2001). "An abuse of discretion occurs
when the trial court exercises its discretion 'on grounds
or for reasons clearly untenable or to an extent clearly
unreasonable.'" Id. (quoting State v.
Maghee, 573 N.W.2d 1, 5 (Iowa 1997)).
no abuse of discretion here. A recent decision of this court
upheld the admissibility of evidence showing the defendant
refused to submit to a PBT. See State v. Smidl, No.
12-2182, 2014 WL 69751, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Jan. 9, 2014)
("Evidence of a decision to take a PBT or a refusal to
submit to a PBT, however, is not deemed inadmissible under
section 321J.5(2)."). It is well established
"[a]dmissions may be implied by the conduct of a
defendant subsequent to a crime when such conduct indicates a
consciousness of guilt." Id. (citing State
v. Nance, 533 N.W.2d 557, 562 (Iowa 1995)). The jury was
free to infer from Royer's refusal to take the PBTs that
he knew he was intoxicated. See id. (stating
"evidence of Smidl's refusal to submit to a PBT was
admissible to show her consciousness of guilt"). We
decline Royer's request to depart from our prior
the testimony were improper, the error was not prejudicial.
State v. Redmond,803 N.W.2d 112, 127 (Iowa 2011)
("An erroneous evidentiary ruling is harmless if it does
not cause prejudice."). There was overwhelming evidence
of Royer's intoxication, including testimony from Archer,
Pearston, and treating paramedics, all of whom observed Royer
shortly after the accident. In addition, the jury was also
shown video footage of Royer taken in the hours immediately
after the accident. The evidence showed Royer was unsteady on
his feet, displayed slurred and slowed speech, and was
agitated. Officers also found a vodka bottle on the
driver's side ...