Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs April 3, 2018 at Jackson
from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. II-CR170166
James G. Martin III, Judge
Defendant, James Larry Williams, entered a guilty plea to
driving under the influence (DUI), reserving a certified
question of law challenging whether there existed sufficient
probable cause that a violation of Tennessee Code Annotated
section 55-8-123(1) had occurred or reasonable suspicion
based upon the totality of the circumstances to justify a
traffic stop of the Defendant's vehicle. Following our
review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
W. Bussart, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, James
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent
C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney
General; and Tristan R. P. Poorman and Christopher K. Vernon,
Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
March 13, 2017, the Williamson County Grand Jury returned an
indictment charging the Defendant with DUI and DUI per se,
which is driving under the influence with a blood alcohol
content of .08% or greater. See Tenn. Code Ann.
§ 55-10-401(1), (2). On April 5, 2017, the Defendant
filed a motion to suppress "any illegally obtained or
inadmissible evidence, " which was followed by a
supplementary memorandum on June 26, 2017, specifying the
evidence to be suppressed as the arresting officer's
"dash cam video" and "all evidence flowing
from the stop."
hearing was held on the motion to suppress on July 7, 2017.
At the hearing, Deputy William Harris of the Williamson
County Sheriff's Office testified that shortly before
midnight on April 28, 2016, he received a be-on-the-lookout
report (BOLO) involving a silver Infiniti with a possible tag
identification travelling southbound on Hillsboro Road. The
deputy was at the intersection of Hillsboro Road and South
Berry's Chapel Road when he observed a silver Infiniti
turn onto Cotton Lane. Deputy Harris began to follow the
vehicle and confirmed through dispatch that the tag number of
the vehicle matched the tag number in the BOLO report. The
deputy testified that while following the vehicle, he
observed it "cross the fog line on the right side, and
then bounce and cross the left double yellow line three
times" prior to making the decision to stop the vehicle.
Harris's dash cam video was entered into evidence and
played for the court. The deputy indicated to the court the
times during the video at which he observed the vehicle's
crossing the fog line and also crossing the center line.
cross-examination, Deputy Harris conceded that the road was
dark and did not have lighting, the road did not have
shoulders, the lines were faded, mailboxes were close to the
road, and the road "follow[ed] the contour[s] of the
land . . . [with] dips[, ] . . . mounds[, ] and curves."
The deputy also conceded that there would be times when a
prudent driver would not be expected to "navigate this
roadway perfectly within the lane." The deputy
acknowledged that several of the residential driveways on
that road were gravel driveways, but he denied observing any
gravel in the road that night.
Defendant offered as proof a portion of Deputy Harris's
dash cam video that was digitally brightened for clarity. ...