from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Gary P.
Strausser, District Associate Judge.
defendant appeals her conviction for operating while
Timothy J. Tupper of Tupper Law Firm, Davenport, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Martha E. Trout, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
Brewer appeals her conviction for operating while
intoxicated. We find substantial evidence in the record
supports her conviction. We affirm Brewer's conviction.
after 8:00 a.m. on May 21, 2017, law enforcement responded to
a call in Muscatine. The encounter was recorded on the patrol
car and police station cameras. At the designated
intersection, the officer discovered a vehicle parked at an
angle where the driver had driven onto the corner with the
back of the vehicle protruding into the intersection. The
vehicle was not running, and no keys were in the ignition. A
passer-by told the officer she found Brewer asleep with the
driver door open; Brewer thought the passerby was her mother.
was awake in the driver's seat of the vehicle, talking
with the passerby, with the keys in her purse when the
officer arrived. The car belonged to Brewer, and she spent
time looking for her registration and car insurance. The
officer could smell alcohol on Brewer's breath. Brewer
admitted to drinking the night before. Brewer exhibited red,
glassy eyes, heightened emotions, and slurred speech. In the
car next to Brewer was a full container of biscuits and gravy
that appeared to be fresh from a gas station. When asked how
she got there, she replied, "Apparently I drove."
She refused to take a preliminary breath test, stating she
knew she would fail. The officer placed Brewer under arrest
and drove her to the police station in his patrol car. By the
time the officer and Brewer arrived at the station, she
claimed she had not been the driver. At the station, Brewer
took three field sobriety tests, each showing markers of
intoxication. Brewer again refused to provide a breath sample
was charged with operating while under the influence of
alcohol or a drug, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2
(2017). A jury trial was held December 13-14. At the end of
the State's evidence, Brewer moved for judgment of
acquittal. The court denied the motion. The jury found Brewer
guilty of operating while intoxicated, first offense. Brewer
appeals, claiming the State failed to prove she operated the
motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or
alcohol. She claims the evidence does not show she
drove or operated the vehicle, and her proximity is not
substantial evidence to support the verdict.
review sufficiency of evidence claims for correction of
errors at law. State v. Thomas, 847 N.W.2d 438, 442
(Iowa 2014). We will consider all evidence in the record,
including all reasonable inferences fairly drawn from the
evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the State.
State v. Reed, 875 N.W.2d 693, 704 (Iowa 2016). We
will uphold a verdict supported by substantial evidence in
the record. State v. Showens, 845 N.W.2d 436, 440
(Iowa 2014). "Evidence is substantial when 'a
rational trier of fact could conceivably find the defendant
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.'" State v.
Howse, 875 N.W.2d 684, 688 (Iowa 2016) (quoting
State v. Thomas, 561 N.W.2d 37, 39 (Iowa 1997)).
vehicle was not in motion and its engine was not running when
the officer arrived. However, circumstantial evidence may
establish a defendant had operated a vehicle while
intoxicated when driving to the location the vehicle is
parked. State v. Hopkins, 576 N.W.2d 374, 377-78
(Iowa 1998); State v. Boleyn, 547 N.W.2d 202, 205
(Iowa 1996). Circumstantial evidence consists of evidence
observed by a witness and an inference by which a conclusion
is drawn. See Hopkins, 576 N.W.2d at 378.
"Circumstantial and direct evidence are equally
was initially discovered asleep in the driver's seat of
her vehicle with the door open. When the officer arrived she
was still in the driver's seat and had the keys in her
possession. There was no indication of any other driver. The
vehicle was "parked" with the front end pulled into
a corner with the remainder of the vehicle protruding into
the intersection. She initially reacted to a question of how
she got there by saying, "Apparently I drove."
Brewer was very emotional throughout the encounter and
exhibited considerable confusion. She told officers she had
been drinking the night before and had been dropped off at
her house. A fresh container of food was found on the
passenger seat of the car. She identified a passer-by as her
mother. She refused to take a breath test, stating she knew
she would fail. Brewer performed three field sobriety tests,
showing signs of intoxication.
a jury could reasonably infer Brewer had been operating her
vehicle the morning of May 21, and the jury could reasonably
find Brewer was under the influence of alcohol or another
drug based on ...