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SD Supreme Court upholds Parkston DUI conviction

PIERRE -- The state Supreme Court upheld a Parkston drunken driving conviction Wednesday after the suspect claimed his rights were violated. Matthew Hopkins, who was convicted of second-offense DUI after a 2015 incident in Parkston, filed an appe...

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(Daily Republic file photo)

PIERRE - The state Supreme Court upheld a Parkston drunken driving conviction Wednesday after the suspect claimed his rights were violated.

Matthew Hopkins, who was convicted of second-offense DUI after a 2015 incident in Parkston, filed an appeal with the South Dakota Supreme Court to suppress evidence in his case, claiming the officer should have read his Miranda rights.

On Sept. 25, 2015, a Parkston police officer followed a vehicle traveling at a high speed to a gas station, where the officer found Matthew Hopkins with his hands in his pockets.

Although the officer asked Hopkins multiple times to show his hands, he continued to place them back in his pockets, so the officer handcuffed him but said he was only being detained, not arrested, according to a Supreme Court opinion filed Wednesday.

The officer frisked Hopkins and smelled alcohol, court documents state. Hopkins took a preliminary breath test, failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. Hopkins admitted to drinking beer before driving, and a warrant was obtained for a blood draw, which revealed a blood-alcohol content of 0.162 percent.

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Hopkins asked the circuit court to suppress statements he made to law enforcement because he was not advised of his Miranda rights before the frisk. He also motioned to suppress all physical evidence, alleging it to be "fruit of the poisonous tree."

The motions were denied, and the circuit court found Hopkins guilty of DUI. Hopkins then admitted to the incident being his second DUI offense.

Hopkins appealed to the Supreme Court, but the justices came to same conclusion, saying the encounter did not constitute a "custodial interrogation," in which he would have to be read his Miranda rights, saying someone in Hopkins' position would likely understand the detention did not constitute an arrest.

"At that point in time and under these circumstances, we conclude that a reasonable person would have understood that the detention would be temporary and brief as the officer checked for weapons to ensure her safety," the Supreme Court opinion said.

Because the high court determined Hopkins' constitutional rights were not violated, it did not address his concerns about suppressing physical evidence.

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