State v. Heinrichs

Larry J. Denny

Practice Area:DUI / DWI

Outcome:DUI - Conviction REVERSED - DUI DISCHARGED!

Description:Sheriff's Deputy William E. Grice was conducting a routine patrol of the Greenville Country Club at about 1:00 a.m. on July 29, 1986. Although he was aware of "alarm drops" that had been registered from the country club in the past, and was concerned about possible theft and vandalism, he had no more concern about the possibility of theft and vandalism occurring at the country club that particular night than elsewhere on his beat. When Deputy Grice was about one hundred feet inside the entrance to the country club access drive he noticed a car coming towards him in the opposite direction. This was the car driven by Heinrichs. Deputy Grice noticed that the car coming towards him had Champaign County license plates. Deputy Grice turned on his flashing lights, effecting a stop of Heinrichs' vehicle. After both vehicles came to a stop alongside each other, Deputy Grice rolled down his window and asked Heinrichs if there were any vehicles back at the country club. At this time, Deputy Grice could not observe more than just the roof of the country club, did not know if the country club was closed or open, and would not have known if there had been as many as one hundred cars parked at the country club. Heinrichs' response to the deputy's inquiry was, "How in the fuck should I know." Deputy Grice then asked Heinrichs, "Didn't you just come from back there?" To this question Heinrichs answered, "Hell, I don't know." The incongruity of Heinrichs' evasive and profane answers contrasted with his well-dressed appearance and nice-looking vehicle led the deputy to park his cruiser, walk back to Heinrichs' vehicle, and ask to see his license. Deputy Grice had to move his cruiser because at the point of the initial stop he was too close to Heinrichs' vehicle to open his door. When Grice walked up to Heinrichs' car and approached within a foot of Heinrichs, he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. Deputy Grice asked Heinrichs if he had been drinking, to which Heinrichs answered that he "had had a couple of drinks." At this point, Deputy Grice asked Heinrichs to exit his vehicle to take a field sobriety test. OUTCOME: There were insufficient specific and articulable facts to justify the investigative stop of the automobile being driven by Heinrichs. Heinrichs' sole assignment of error having been sustained, and it being clear from the record that all of the evidence against Heinrichs was obtained as a result of the unlawful investigative stop, Heinrichs' conviction and sentence were reversed, and he was ordered discharged.

937-224-0039