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State of Montana v. Kristin Elizabeth Kelm

April 30, 2013

STATE OF MONTANA, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
KRISTIN ELIZABETH KELM, DEFENDANT AND APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fifteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Sheridan, Cause No. DC 46-2011-9 Honorable Katherine M. Bidegaray, Presiding Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Beth Baker

Submitted on Briefs: January 23, 2013

Decided: April 30, 2013

Filed:

Clerk

Justice Beth Baker delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶1 The State of Montana appeals an order of the Montana Fifteenth Judicial District Court, Sheridan County, granting defendant Kristin Kelm's motion to suppress evidence. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the action for further proceedings.

¶2 We address the following issues on appeal:

¶3 1. Did the District Court incorrectly conclude that, because the arresting officer did not follow § 46-6-312, MCA, all evidence gathered after Kelm's arrest should be suppressed?

¶4 2. Did the District Court incorrectly conclude that the officer's failure to advise Kelm of her Miranda rights at the time of her arrest required suppression of all evidence obtained after her arrest?

¶5 3. Did the District Court incorrectly conclude that evidence seized from Kelm's vehicle must be suppressed?

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

¶6 In the early-morning hours of February 19, 2011, Sheridan County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Krause (Krause) observed a blue pickup truck driven by Kristen Kelm cross the center line of a Plentywood, Montana street and drive onto the local highway. Krause followed Kelm for several miles and "observed [her] vehicle weaving within its lane touching both the fog line and the center line and then actually crossing the center line two or three times."

¶7 Krause initiated a traffic stop on Kelm's vehicle and she pulled over to the side of the road. When Krause approached the driver's-side window, Kelm immediately provided her driver's license. Krause informed Kelm that he had stopped her for crossing the center line of the highway. He then remarked to Kelm that her eyes looked "bloodshot and glassy" and asked if she had been drinking. Kelm denied that she had consumed alcohol that evening.

¶8 Without having Kelm get out of the car, Krause proceeded to administer a horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN) to help determine whether Kelm was intoxicated. He observed a "lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes as well as distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation in both eyes" and gave her a score of four out of a possible six points, which indicated intoxication. Krause again asked Kelm if she had been drinking alcohol, and she admitted to consuming one drink.

ΒΆ9 After Krause had finished administering the HGN test, he determined that Kelm needed to pass standardized field sobriety tests before she could resume driving. Because the temperature was minus-one degree Fahrenheit and ice and snow covered the highway, Krause asked Kelm if she would agree to perform sobriety tests at the Sheridan County Jail, where the climate-controlled conditions would give her the best chance of passing the tests. Kelm agreed, turned off her truck, and gave her keys to Krause. In accordance with department policy, ...


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