from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William A.
Price, District Associate Judge.
defendant appeals his conviction for operating while
Alexander Smith and Benjamin Bergmann of Parrish Kruidenier
Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann, L.L.P., Des
Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Martinez Lobo appeals his conviction for operating while
intoxicated (OWI). He contends a state trooper impermissibly
stopped his car, and the district court should have granted
his motion to suppress evidence gathered after the seizure.
We find the district court properly denied the motion to
suppress and affirm Martinez's conviction.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
1:40 on a Sunday morning in May 2017, Iowa State Trooper
Benjamin Lampe was patrolling Interstate 80 in Polk County.
Driving eastbound, the trooper noticed a red Chevrolet Camaro
merging onto the interstate from the Second Avenue onramp.
The Camaro caught his attention because "[w]hen he
merged on, he did not merge into or onto Interstate 80
eastbound until the very last moment, crossing, basically,
the white solid line markers, what we call the
area, before merging onto the interstate kind of at the last
minute or last second of the ramp." The driver also left
his turn signal on for a "considerable distance"
driver's actions prompted Trooper Lampe to continue to
observe the Camaro. He activated his in-car video camera.
Trooper Lampe testified:
But [the driver of the Camaro], he made several lane
violations that drew my attention further. He made lane
violations to the left of the lane, crossing the white hash
marker, and then also on the right side as well, which
would-at that time, was a solid white line initially. And he
was basically, what I consider, weaving within his lane and
actually crossing outside of his traveled portion of his lane
multiple times. I believe I counted roughly five to the left
and two to the right before I made the traffic stop.
trooper observed the Camaro over the distance of about three
and one-half miles.
signaling the Camaro to pull over, the trooper could smell
the odor of alcohol while speaking to the driver, Martinez
Lobo, through the passenger-side window. When the trooper
moved Martinez Lobo into his patrol car, he noticed the
suspect's eyes were watery and bloodshot. The trooper
conducted field sobriety tests, the results of which
suggested Martinez Lobo was impaired. Martinez Lobo refused a
breath test at the police station.
State charged Martinez Lobo with OWI, in violation of Iowa
Code section 321J.2 (2017), a serious misdemeanor. Martinez
Lobo filed a motion to suppress, claiming the traffic stop
was not warranted. At the suppression hearing, Trooper Lampe
testified considering the time of night and defendant's
driving, "I did suspect that there was something going
on, either the driver is for some reason distracted or
possibly impaired." He stated defendant committed lane
violations by "[g]oing outside your designated travel
portion of your lane." The video of the incident was
presented into evidence.
The court denied the motion to suppress, ruling from the
The court finds that this is not an isolated incident . . .
but rather a series of seven incidents of crossing or driving
on the dashed lines or fog line and, as well, as leaving the
turn signal on for approximately a minute, or slightly more,
and driving across a part of the gore area in the attempt to
switch lanes to remain on Interstate 80 rather than go off
the East 14th Street exit.
The court further finds that the court observed no actual
violations of any Code section. So this case will rise or
fall on whether or not the trooper had, or at the time of the
stop, a reasonable articulable reason or reasons for an
Based upon all of the foregoing findings, the court finds
that the trooper did have a reasonable articulable reason or
reasons for the investigatory stop: The consistent weaving
within the lane, crossing the dashed lines to the left on
five occasions, driving on the fog line on two occasions;
leaving the turn signal on for approximately a mile after the
necessity to have a turn signal on was over, that being
having already switched lanes; as well as crossing over and
through a part of the gore area at East 14th Street in order
to change lanes.
the suppression motion was denied, Martinez Lobo stipulated
to a trial on the minutes of testimony. The district court
made an oral finding Martinez Lobo was driving under the
influence. The court entered judgment on the OWI offense.
Martinez Lobo appeals, challenging only the suppression
Standard of Review
Lobo argues the investigative stop violated both his state
and federal constitutional rights to be free from
unreasonable search and seizure. See U.S. Const.
amend. IV; Iowa Const. art. I, § 8. Because his claim is
constitutional in nature, we review it de novo. See State
v. Tyler, 830 N.W.2d 288, 291 (Iowa 2013). De novo
review entails an "independent evaluation of the
totality of the circumstances as shown by the entire
record." Id. (quoting State v. Pals,
805 N.W.2d 767, 771 (Iowa 2011)). While we give deference to
the district court's factual findings, we are not bound
by them. Id.