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Police had reasonable basis to stop car for failing to signal

State v. Deborah K. Salzwedel, 2014AP301-CR, District 4, 9/4/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

The circuit court’s finding that Salzwedel’s act of turning without signaling affected the movement of other traffic was not clearly erroneous, and therefore the officer had a reasonable basis to stop Salzwedel for violating § 346.34(1)(b).

¶13    I uphold the circuit court’s finding of fact as to the second turn—that [Deputy] Miltimore was affected by Salzwedel’s turning without using her signal—because it is not clearly erroneous…. Miltimore testified, and Salzwedel does not refute, that Miltimore was in the lane “right behind” Salzwedel’s vehicle during the second turn. Miltimore testified that Salzwedel’s second turn was “a quick left turn in front of [him] without using [her] turn signal,” and that he “had to brake because she [braked].” Based on this testimony, the circuit court’s finding that Miltimore was affected by Salzwedel’s second turn without using her signal was not clearly erroneous. Based on that finding, I conclude that a reasonable police officer could have believed that a violation of Wis. Stat. § 346.34(1)(b) occurred, such that Deputy Miltimore had probable cause to stop Salzwedel’s vehicle.

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