State v. Cole, ___ N.C. App. ___, 822 S.E.2d 456 (Nov. 20, 2018)

In this DWI case, the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered after a roadside breath test. Specifically, the defendant asserted that the results of roadside sobriety tests and intoxilyzer test should be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree of an illegal search and seizure caused by an unlawfully compelled roadside breath test. The court disagreed. An officer observed the defendant exit a bar after midnight and swerve several times within his driving lane; after the initial traffic stop—the legality of which the defendant did not challenge—the officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol, the defendant presented his debit card when asked for his driver’s license, and the defendant initially denied but later admitted drinking alcohol. These facts were sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion to justify prolonging the initial stop to investigate the defendant’s potential impairment, including administering the roadside sobriety tests. These findings, in conjunction with findings regarding the defendant’s performance on the roadside sobriety tests supported a conclusion that the officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant for DWI, justifying the later intoxilyzer test. Therefore, the trial court properly refused to suppress the results of the roadside sobriety tests and the intoxilyzer test.