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Plea to OWI was valid despite lack of challenge to stop

State v. Harlan L. Schultz, 2017AP2185, 4/26/18, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Schultz moved under § 974.06 to withdraw his no contest plea to OWI 4th. He argues that his trial lawyer was ineffective for failing to file a motion challenging the traffic stop and that he didn’t understand everything he was giving up when he entered a plea. The court of appeals rejects both claims.

Trial counsel wasn’t ineffective for failing to file a suppression motion because the motion would have failed. An officer saw Schultz’s car cross the center line into the oncoming traffic lane, giving the officer probable cause to believe the driver violated § 346.05. Thus, the stop was lawful. (¶¶6-13).

Schultz’s claim that he didn’t understand he was waiving his right to a jury trial is belied by the record of the colloquy and the fact he signed a standard plea questionnaire/waiver of rights form. And, while the court did not advise him that by pleading no contest he was giving up his right to challenge the traffic stop, there is no requirement the court do that; moreover, the court found at the postconviction hearing that Schultz did indeed understand he was giving up that right. (¶¶16-18).

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