from the Hendricks Superior Court No. 32D04-1806-CM-826. The
Honorable Mark A. Smith, Judge.
Attorney for Appellant Zachary J. Stock Attorney at Law, P.C.
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Chandra K. Hein Deputy Attorney General
Edgar Santiago appeals his conviction for Class A Misdemeanor
Driving While Suspended,  arguing that the trial court erred when
it admitted evidence of his suspended driver's license
because the prolonged stop violated the Fourth Amendment to
the United States Constitution. Finding no error, we affirm.
On June 19, 2018, Avon Police Department Officer Mercedes
Spicer was patrolling in her fully marked police car when she
stopped behind a Toyota truck at a red light. Officer Spicer
ran a license plate check of the truck and discovered that it
belonged to a man named Valentine Hernandez and that
Hernandez's license had been suspended. Officer Spicer
spotted the driver of the truck and saw that he, too, was a
man. With this information, she turned on her patrol lights
and conducted a traffic stop under the suspicion that the
driver, who Officer Spicer believed was Hernandez, was
operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
Officer Spicer then approached the driver's side of the
vehicle and told the driver, who was later identified as
Santiago, that she had stopped the vehicle because the
owner's driver's license had been suspended.
Santiago, the sole occupant of the vehicle, told Officer
Spicer that his cousin owned the truck and that he was not
Valentine Hernandez. To confirm this information, Officer
Spicer asked Santiago for his driver's license, but
Santiago handed her a Mexican identification (ID) card
identifying him as Edgar Santiago. Officer Spicer clarified
that she wanted to see his driver's license and not just
an ID card; Santiago replied that he did not have a
Officer Spicer returned to her police car and ran a search of
Santiago using his Mexican ID. She discovered that
Santiago's driver's license had been suspended and
that he had a prior conviction for driving while suspended.
Consequently, Officer Spicer arrested Santiago and had the
On June 20, 2018, the State charged Santiago with Class A
misdemeanor driving while suspended. Soon after, Santiago
filed a motion to suppress evidence that his driver's
license was suspended, arguing that the prolonged
investigatory stop violated the Fourth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. The trial court denied his motion
to suppress. At Santiago's February 25, 2019, bench
trial, Santiago renewed his objection to the admission of the
evidence, which the trial court overruled. The trial court
found Santiago guilty as charged. During sentencing later
that same day, the trial court imposed fines without any
period of probation or incarceration. Santiago now appeals.
Santiago raises one argument on appeal-namely, that the trial
court erred when it admitted evidence of his suspended
driver's license because the prolonged investigatory stop
violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. Specifically, Santiago contends that this
evidence was obtained during an unconstitutional extension of
an initially valid traffic stop.
As a general matter, the Fourth Amendment to the United
States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable
searches and seizures. "[T]he Fourth Amendment's
'protections extend to brief investigatory stops of
persons or vehicles that fall short of traditional
arrest.'" Armfield v. State, 918 N.E.2d
316, 319 (Ind. 2009) (quoting United States v.
Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 273 (2002)). And evidence that is
the product of an unlawful seizure is inadmissible under the
Fourth Amendment. Hanna v. State, 726 N.E.2d 384,
389 (Ind.Ct.App. 2000) (holding that evidence obtained from
illegal searches and seizures is "fruit of the poisonous
tree" and is inadmissible in a court of law).
Reversal of a trial court's decision to admit evidence is
appropriate only where the decision is clearly against the
logic and effect of the facts and circumstances. Joyner
v. State, 678 N.E.2d 386, 390 (Ind. 1997).
"Moreover, we will sustain the trial court['s]
[decision on the admission of evidence] if it can be done on
any legal ground apparent in the record." Jester v.
State, 724 N.E.2d 235, 240 (Ind. 2000). However, we will
review a trial court's conclusions of law de novo, giving
no weight to the legal analysis below. Sanders v.
State, 989 N.E.2d 332, 334 (Ind. 2013). In reviewing
determinations of reasonable suspicion specifically, we look
at the totality of the circumstances of each case ...