FROM FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE KIMBERLY BUNNELL, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 16-CR-01069
FOR APPELLANT: Steven Nathan Goens Department of Public
Advocacy Frankfort, Kentucky.
FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky
Stephen F. Wilson Assistant Attorney General Frankfort,
BEFORE: CLAYTON, CHIEF JUDGE; SMALLWOOD AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.
Guy Carr appeals from a Judgment and Final Sentence of
Imprisonment rendered by the Fayette Circuit Court. Carr
argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to
suppress evidence obtained during a traffic stop. For the
reasons stated below, we find no error and AFFIRM the
Judgment on appeal.
evening of September 16, 2016, Carr was operating a motor
vehicle on New Circle Road in Lexington, Kentucky. Lucinda
Eaton was a front seat passenger in the vehicle. Kentucky
State Trooper Trevor Harris was on patrol that evening and
observed Carr's vehicle weaving in the slow lane. He then
observed the vehicle move twice from the driving lane to the
shoulder and back again. Trooper Harris followed Carr's
vehicle as it exited New Circle Road onto the ramp toward
Alumni Drive, where Carr used the left turn signal when
executing a right turn. Harris also observed Carr's
vehicle almost strike a curb.
Harris pulled over Carr's vehicle and questioned Carr
about his driving. It was lightly raining at the time of the
traffic stop, and Carr stated that the windshield of his
vehicle was foggy which made it difficult to see the roadway.
Trooper Harris observed that the windshield was indeed
partially obscured by condensation. Harris would later
testify that though he had not noticed anything that would
indicate that Carr was impaired, he could not rule out
intoxication because of Carr's evasive behavior including
withholding eye contact.
and Eaton provided identification to Trooper Harris, who then
checked to see if either had any active warrants. After
finding none, Harris printed a warning for careless driving
189.290). Before giving Carr the printed warning, Trooper
Harris asked Carr to exit the vehicle and speak with him.
Harris testified that he did this to explain the printed
warning, and to further investigate Carr's possible
impairment. Upon speaking to Carr outside the vehicle,
Trooper Harris noticed that Carr's pupils were dilated
and that his speech was slurred. Carr failed two field
sobriety tests, after which Carr consented to a body search.
Trooper Harris found Carr to be in possession of a pill
bottle containing three wrapped papers with an off-white
substance inside. Harris believed the substance to be heroin.
then arrested Carr, and placed him in the back of his patrol
vehicle. Harris returned to Carr's vehicle, and found
Eaton to be in the midst of a suspected drug overdose. After
EMS was summoned and Eaton was transported to a hospital,
Harris searched Carr's vehicle incident to arrest and
found another pill bottle with the name of Carr's mother
on it. Harris then Mirandized Carr, and Carr gave
incriminating statements including admissions that he
ingested illegal drugs, had purchased heroin and gave heroin
was charged with various offenses, and the matter proceeded
in Fayette Circuit Court. Carr then sought to suppress all
evidence obtained after Trooper Harris printed the warning
and returned to the driver's window of Carr's
vehicle. A suppression hearing was conducted where Carr's
counsel argued that he should not have been detained beyond
the completion of the purpose of the stop. Counsel argued
that there was no reason to detain Carr after the warning was
printed, and that the evidence and statements obtained after
that point should be suppressed. The motion was denied by way
of an Order entered on April 19, 2017, and this appeal
through counsel, now argues that the Fayette Circuit Court
erred in failing to suppress the statements and evidence
obtained after Trooper Harris printed the careless driving
warning and determined that Carr had no active warrants. Carr
maintains that Harris acted unreasonably in asking him to
exit the vehicle so Harris could explain and deliver the
written warning, and that the physical evidence and
statements obtained during this portion of the detention
should have been suppressed. Carr also argues that his
consent to search his person was not an independent act of
reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress
evidence, we defer to the trial court's findings of fact
to the extent they are supported by substantial evidence and
are not clearly erroneous. Davis v. Commonwealth,
484 S.W.3d 288, 290 (Ky. 2016) (citations omitted). We review
the trial court's conclusions of law de novo.
Id. In the matter before us, the facts are not in
dispute and Carr does not argue that the initial vehicle stop
was unwarranted. Our review, then, is limited to a de
novo consideration of the trial court's application
of the law to the facts.
traffic stop can become unlawful if it is prolonged beyond
the time reasonably required to issue a traffic citation.
Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 407, 125 S.Ct.
834, 837, 160 L.Ed.2d 842 (2005). A seizure arising from a
traffic stop remains lawful only so long as unrelated
inquiries do not measurably extend the duration of the stop.
Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S., 135 S.Ct.
1609, 1615, 191 L.Ed.2d 492 (2015). "[A]n officer cannot
detain a vehicle's occupants beyond completion of the
purpose of the initial traffic stop unless something happened
during the stop to cause the officer to have a reasonable and
articulable suspicion ...