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Traffic stop, field sobriety tests lawful

State v. Faith A. Parafiniuk, 2018AP1956, District 2, 3/27/19 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

The stop of Parafiniuk’s car was supported by reasonable suspicion and the officer had sufficient reason to extend the stop to administer field sobriety tests.

A police officer testified he was completing a turn onto a road when a vehicle entered the roadway from an adjacent parking lot directly in front of him, causing him to brake to avoid a collision. The vehicle then quickly pulled into a gas station on the opposite side of the road. (¶2). Parafiniuk argues the evidence did not clearly show whether the officer had fully completed his turn and was “approaching” her by the time she entered the roadway, but the circuit court’s findings doom this argument:

¶7    The circuit court determined the traffic stop was lawfully initiated after it found that Parafiniuk had entered the roadway without yielding to approaching vehicles, contrary to Wis. Stat. § 346.18(4). …. The precise status of his turn notwithstanding, the officer testified that he “hit the brakes in order to avoid a collision” with her vehicle. That being the case, we see no reason to disrupt the circuit court’s factual findings and conclude that there was reasonable suspicion to initiate the stop.

The circuit court’s findings of fact doom Parafiniuk’s challenge to the field sobriety tests, too.

¶8     …. The circuit court found that, before the tests were conducted and in addition to the dangerous driving behavior, the officer noticed Parafiniuk’s body movements and speech were unusual in comparison with the[] prior interactions [the officer had with her]. The record supports these findings. It also shows the officer had observed Parafiniuk’s bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, and uneasy balance by that point. Collectively, this evidence establishes that the stop was lawfully extended.

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