State v. Sharp

In State v. Sharp, 2014 WL 3534945 (Del. Ct. Comm. Pl. May 5, 2014), the police officer arrived at the scene of a two-car accident and noted that Clinton Sharp, one of the drivers involved in the accident, had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and a strong odor of alcohol. The officer noted all of these facts in the affidavit of probable cause. The court had to determine whether Sharp's slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, strong odor of alcohol, and his involvement in a car accident were sufficient to establish probable cause. The court held that the mere fact that Sharp had been involved in a two-car accident provided no weight to a finding of probable cause that Sharp had been driving under the influence because "the affidavit does not assign fault to the defendant, nor does it include a description of the accident that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the accident was attributable to the defendant." Having noted Sharp's involvement in a two-car collision and the lack of apportionment of blame to Sharp in the affidavit, the court determined that the combination of slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and strong odor of alcohol were insufficient for a finding of probable cause upon which a search warrant could issue. In Sharp, the collision involved two moving vehicles, either of which could have been at fault.