Delivered and Filed: July 19, 2006. DO NOT PUBLISH.
Appeal from the 399th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas, Trial Court No. 2004-CR-6478, Honorable Juanita A. Vasquez-Gardner, Judge Presiding. Affirmed.
Sitting: Alma L. LÓPEZ, Chief Justice, Catherine STONE, Justice, Sandee Bryan MARION, Justice.
A jury found defendant, Jesus Rios, guilty of driving while intoxicated (habitual) and the trial court assessed punishment at twenty-five years' confinement. On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. We affirm.
BACKGROUND On the night of June 14, 2004, defendant, driving alone in his truck, struck another vehicle from behind that was stopped at a red light. Shan King was the driver and Crystal Smith was the passenger of the vehicle that was struck. After pulling over temporarily, defendant drove away from the accident. Shan and Crystal pursued defendant, with defendant stopping and exiting his vehicle several times before eventually evading Shan and Crystal. During the stops, Crystal attempted to convince defendant to remain and await police assistance, but defendant did not comply. Crystal observed several signs that defendant was intoxicated, including "erratic" driving, a "heavy alcohol" smell on defendant's breath, and that defendant was "barely able to hold himself up." Crystal eventually called the police with a cell phone, but no officers could assist her due to an ongoing, unrelated dead body (DOA) investigation at a nearby residence. By coincidence, defendant drove past the scene of the DOA investigation and two police officers, Officer James Diehl and Sergeant Randall Smith, observed defendant in his truck. Neither noted any overt violations of the law, but they believed that defendant was acting in a suspicious and abnormal manner. Defendant continued down the street and finally parked at an auto shop on the corner. Minutes later, Shan and Crystal stopped at the scene of the investigation and informed the police about the accident and pursuit, providing a description of the vehicle. The police realized the connection between the hit-and-run and the truck that drove by, and went to search for the truck. Minutes later, Officer Diehl's field training officer discovered the truck at an auto shop and directed Officer Diehl to go watch the driver. Officer Diehl approached the vehicle and saw defendant sitting in the driver's seat with the door closed. The officer opened the truck door and asked defendant to step out of the vehicle. As defendant stepped from the vehicle, Officer Diehl "held onto him" so that defendant could stand. Officer Diehl noticed that defendant had "very bloodshot eyes" and he smelled "alcohol coming from his breath." While standing next to the truck, defendant swayed constantly in small circles. A few minutes later, Sergeant Smith arrived at the auto shop from the DOA investigation. Crystal and Shan identified defendant as the individual involved in the accident. Upon speaking with defendant, Sergeant Smith immediately detected "a strong odor of alcohol" on defendant's breath and that his "speech was slurred." Officer Caesar Rodriguez then arrived and took over the hit-and-run investigation. On arrival, Officer Rodriguez spoke with both Sergeant Smith and Officer Diehl. Sergeant Smith told Officer Rodriguez that defendant "seemed to be very much intoxicated." Officer Rodriguez then spoke with defendant and noticed "a strong odor of some form of intoxicant" on his breath. Officer Rodriguez also observed that defendant's speech was "confused and slurred." When questioned about the accident, defendant first denied that the truck had been driven, then indicated that another individual at the shop had driven the truck. Officer Rodriguez questioned the other individuals at the shop to determine whether one of them had driven the vehicle; they answered that they had not driven it and were unacquainted with the defendant. Defendant refused to take any field sobriety tests and Officer Rodriguez arrested defendant for driving while intoxicated ("DWI"). Defendant later refused to take a breath test.
MOTION TO SUPPRESS We review the trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress for abuse of discretion. Swain v. State, 181 S.W.3d 359, 365 (Tex.Crim.App. 2005). The review occurs under a bifurcated standard, giving almost total deference to the trial court's determination of historical facts, while examining the court's application of law to the facts de novo. Carmouche v. State, 10 S.W.3d 323, 327 (Tex.Crim.App. 2000). Where the trial court makes no explicit findings of fact, as in the present case, the appellate court reviews the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court's ruling. Id. at 327-28. The trial court's decision will be sustained if any applicable legal theory supports the ruling. Romero v. State, 800 S.W.2d 539, 543 (Tex.Crim.App. 1990). Defendant disputes the constitutionality of his arrest, arguing that the arrest occurred without a lawful warrant, probable cause, or other lawful authority. Both the Texas Constitution and the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. See U.S. Const. amend. IV; Tex. Const. art. I, § 9. Generally, an arrest or search without a valid arrest warrant is unreasonable. Wilson v. State, 621 S.W.2d 799, 803-04 (Tex.Crim.App. 1981). A warrantless arrest is authorized only in limited circumstances. Id. To make a warrantless arrest, the officer must have both (1) probable cause with respect to the person being arrested and (2) authority to arrest under a statutory exception. State v. Steelman, 93 S.W.3d 102, 107 (Tex.Crim.App. 2002). Probable cause exists where the officer possesses a reasonable belief, based on facts and circumstances either within the officer's personal knowledge or about which the officer has reasonably trustworthy information, that an offense has been or is being committed. Torres v. State, 182 S.W.3d 899, 902 (Tex.Crim.App. 2005). We apply a "totality of the circumstances" test in determining whether probable cause existed. Id. When there has been some cooperation between law enforcement agencies or between members of the same agency, the sum of the information known to the cooperating agencies or officers at the time of an arrest is to be considered in determining whether there was sufficient probable cause to arrest. Taylor v. State, 82 S.W.3d 134, 138 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 2002, no pet.); see also Woodward v. State, 668 S.W.2d 337, 344 (Tex.Crim.App. 1982). Here, both Officer Diehl and Sergeant Smith interacted with defendant prior to the arrival of the arresting officer. They personally observed defendant exhibit numerous common signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, a heavy smell of alcohol, impaired motor abilities, and bloodshot eyes. The officers detained defendant until the arresting officer arrived, then coordinated with Officer Rodriguez and exchanged information with him. Officer Rodriguez questioned defendant himself, noting many of the same signs of intoxication that his fellow officers had observed. Finally, after defendant refused to take any field sobriety tests, Officer Rodriguez arrested him for DWI. The total knowledge possessed by Officer Rodriguez at the time of the arrest, which included his personal observations of defendant and the information provided by fellow officers and by Shan and Crystal, when taken together could permit a reasonable person to believe that defendant had been driving while intoxicated. See Miles v. State, Nos. 01-04-01080-CR, 01-04-01081-CR, 2006 WL 407788, at *3 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Feb. 23, 2006, no pet.) (concluding probable cause existed for citizen's arrest under 14.01(a) for DWI based on thirty minute observation of defendant, slurred speech, fumbling and agitated behavior, and impaired motor skills); Held v. State, 948 S.W.2d 45, 51 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1997, pet. ref'd) (holding that officer developed probable cause to arrest for DWI based on smell of alcohol, slurred speech, glassy and bloodshot eyes, leaning on car for support, and failed sobriety test). Chapter 14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure defines the statutory exceptions permitting warrantless arrests. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 14.01 (Vernon 2005). Most relevant to the present case, article 14.01(b) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure permits a peace officer to make an arrest without warrant for "any offense committed in his presence or within his view." Id. Here, the record indicates that both Officer Diehl and Sergeant Smith saw defendant drive past the scene of the DOA investigation. Although neither observed any violations of the law at that time, soon thereafter the officers found defendant at a nearby auto shop, still in his truck, in an intoxicated state. In addition, Shan and Crystal identified the defendant as the individual who drove the truck away from the hit-and-run accident. Information provided by private citizens, whose only contact with the police derives from having witnessed the criminal act of another, is inherently reliable and credible. Esco v. State, 668 S.W.2d 358, 360-61 (Tex.Crim.App. 1982). The officers' observation of defendant driving and the identification by Shan and Crystal clearly satisfy the presence or view requirement of article 14.01(b). See Steelman, 93 S.W.3d at 107 (applying rule that offense occurs within the presence or view of an officer when any of his senses afford him an awareness of its occurrence). Accordingly, Officer Rodriguez had probable cause to arrest defendant and defendant's arrest fell within a statutory exception which permitted a warrantless arrest.
CONCLUSION We overrule defendant's issues on appeal and affirm the trial court's judgment.