State v. Sauls, ___ N.C. App. ___, 807 S.E.2d 155 (Sept. 19, 2017)

The trial court did not commit plain error by allowing a trooper to testify at trial about the HGN test he administered on the defendant during the stop where the State never formally tendered the trooper as an expert under Rule 702. The court noted that during the pendency of the appeal the state Supreme Court decided State v. Godwin, ___ N.C. ___, ___ 800 S.E.2d 47, 48 (2017) (Evidence Rule 702(a1) does not require a law enforcement officer to be recognized explicitly as an expert witness pursuant to Rule 702 before the officer may testify to the results of a HGN test), which controls this case. As in Godwin, the defendant was not arguing that the officer was unqualified to testify as an expert, but only that he had to be formally tendered as such. Under Godwin “it was simply unnecessary for the State to make a formal tender of the trooper as an expert on HGN testing.”