Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Indreland v. Montana Department of Justice

Supreme Court of Montana

June 18, 2019

RYAN DEAN INDRELAND, Petitioner and Appellant,
v.
MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, MOTOR VEHICLE DIVISION, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: February 27, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DV 17-965 Honorable Karen Townsend, Presiding Judge.

          For Appellant: David M. Maldonado, Stevenson Law Office, Missoula, Montana.

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Tammy A. Hinderman, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana.

          Kirsten Pabst, Missoula County Attorney, Mark Hardelnan, Deputy County Attorney, Missoula, Montana.

          OPINION

          LAURIE McKINNON JUDGE.

         ¶1 Ryan Dean Indreland (Indreland) appeals from an order of the Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County, denying his petition to reinstate his driver's license after it was suspended following his refusal to submit to a post-arrest blood or breath test under § 61-8-402, MCA. We affirm and address the following issue:

Did the District Court err by determining that the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe Indreland was driving under the influence?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2 In September 2017, a woman called 911 to report a suspected drunk driver operating a truck on a main road in Missoula. She told the 911 operator the truck's license plate number and explained that the truck had business decals, specifically indicating the telephone number and website address on the truck. The 911 operator inquired why the caller believed the person was drunk, and the woman said the driver almost rear-ended her sister, was swerving, and almost ran into an underpass pillar. She stated that, when they drove by the truck, the driver's head was hanging down and it looked like he was sleeping. She declined to provide her name or indicate that she would sign a complaint.

         ¶3 The same woman called 911 a few minutes later and spoke with the same operator. The woman indicated that the driver had pulled into a parking lot and parked behind a restaurant. She said the driver was still sitting in the truck and identified the truck as a silver Dodge Dakota. The woman again stated that she did not wish to identify herself by name or sign a complaint. The 911 operator told the woman that a Highway Patrol Trooper was in the area looking for the truck. The woman saw Trooper Panas pull into the parking lot, pulled her car up to Trooper Panas's patrol vehicle, and had an interaction with the Trooper that lasted approximately five seconds during which she pointed out the offending truck.

         ¶4 Trooper Panas later testified that, when he pulled into the parking lot, a female in a white SUV flagged him down, described the truck driver's erratic driving, and pointed out the truck. Trooper Panas noted that the truck was parked crookedly, outside of the lines of two parking spaces, and pulled up behind the truck. The truck matched the woman's description as to type, color, license plate number, and business decals. He noted the driver was just sitting in the truck, not moving or indicating that he was going to get out.

         ¶5 Trooper Panas approached the truck and asked the driver to roll down his window. When the driver eventually complied, Trooper Panas immediately detected an odor of alcohol. He also noted the driver paused a lot during their interaction, seemed sluggish, had trouble finding documents, and had bloodshot eyes. Trooper Panas eventually identified Indreland as the driver, placed him under arrest for driving under the influence, and asked him to submit to a breath or blood test. Indreland refused the test. Because Indreland refused to provide a breath or blood test, his license was suspended pursuant to Montana's implied consent law, § 61-8-402, MCA.

         ¶6 Indreland subsequently filed a petition to reinstate his driver's license in District Court. He argued Trooper Panas did not have sufficient particularized suspicion to request Indreland submit to a test because the woman who called 911 was not a reliable informant. The State argued the woman was reliable and that her calls, coupled with Trooper Panas's independent observations, amounted to sufficient particularized suspicion to request the test. The District Court ultimately agreed with the State, determining the woman was a reliable informant. The District Court accordingly determined that Trooper Panas had sufficient particularized suspicion to request Indreland submit to testing under § 61-8-402, MCA, and denied Indreland's petition to reinstate his driver's license. Indreland appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶7 We review a district court's ruling on a driver's license reinstatement petition to determine whether the district court's findings of fact are clearly erroneous and whether its conclusions of law are correct. Brown v. State, 2009 MT 64, ¶ 8, 349 Mont. 408, 203 P.3d 843. The suspension of a driver's license is presumed correct and, accordingly, the petitioner bears the burden of proving the suspension was improper. Brown, ¶ 8.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶8 Title 61, chapter 8, part 4, MCA, criminalizes driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and also contains Montana's implied consent laws. People who operate or who are in actual physical control of vehicles on Montana's public roadways are considered to have impliedly consented to two types of tests: (1) a pre-arrest preliminary alcohol screening test to estimate the person's alcohol concentration; and (2) a post-arrest blood or breath test to determine the presence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Sections 61-8-402, -409, MCA.

         ¶9 Regarding the first type of test-the pre-arrest preliminary alcohol screening test- a person operating or in actual physical control of a vehicle on Montana's public roadways is considered to have consented to a preliminary alcohol breath test. Section 61-8-409(1), MCA. An officer having a particularized suspicion that the person was driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or in violation of §§ 61-8-410 or -465, MCA, may request the driver take the test. Section 61-8-409(1), MCA. The officer's suspicion must be particular to the driver's operation of or control over a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If an officer pulled a driver over for a reason unrelated to concerns about driving under the influence of alcohol but, upon interacting with the driver, gained a particularized ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.