Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion affirming a trial court’s decision to grant a defendant’s motion to suppress in an Arizona DUI case. The case required the court to review the state’s claim that reasonable suspicion supported the traffic stop. After viewing dashcam footage from the officer’s vehicle, the trial court granted the defendant’s motion. The appellate court affirmed.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s written opinion, the defendant was driving shortly after 2 a.m. when he was pulled over by a police officer, who claimed that the defendant did not come to a complete stop at a stop sign. During the stop, the officer observed evidence suggesting the defendant was intoxicated, and the defendant was ultimately arrested and charged with DUI.
In a pre-trial motion to suppress, the defendant showed the dashcam footage from the officer’s vehicle, arguing that he came to a complete stop and that there was no basis for the traffic stop. The prosecution argued that the dashcam footage was not a good representation of the officer’s perspective, and that, according to the officer, the defendant admitted he should have come to a complete stop sooner than he did. The defendant did not acknowledge making that statement, and it could not be heard on the video. The prosecution told the judge that the officer was available to testify, but he was not called by the prosecution.
The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, finding that there was no traffic offense committed, and thus, there was no reason to stop his vehicle. The prosecution appealed the trial court’s ruling.
On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s ruling in favor of the defendant. The court noted that the prosecution could have called the police officer to testify at the hearing, but choose not to do so. Additionally, the video was not presented to the appellate court. Thus, the court explained that, “where evidence is not in the record on appeal, we assume it would support the trial court’s decision.” The court rejected the prosecution’s argument that the trial court should have called the officer to testify, explaining that the burden rested with the prosecution and that it was the court’s error for not calling the witness. The court also held that it was the prosecution’s burden to ensure that the appellate record contained all the necessary evidence, including the video. Ultimately, the court assumed that the dashcam video would have been helpful to the defense, and affirmed the granting of the defendant’s motion to suppress.
Have You Been Arrested for an Arizona DUI?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with an Arizona misdemeanor DUI offense, contact Attorney James E. Novak for immediate assistance. Attorney Novak is a knowledgeable and dedicated Arizona criminal defense attorney with extensive experience handling all types of DUI cases. To learn more about how Attorney Novak can help you defend your freedom from the charges you are facing, call 480-413-1499 today to schedule a free consultation.