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Traffic Arrest – Probable Cause – Crossing Median

Village of Whitefish Bay v. David W. Czirr, No. 2010AP92, District I, 6/22/10

court of appeals decision (1-judge; not for publication); for Czirr: Rex Anderegg; BiC; Resp.; Reply

Driving across median, even for very brief period of time, establishes probable cause to arrest for traffic offense:

¶14      Next, Czirr does not specifically argue that momentarily being on top of the median cannot constitute a violation of WIS. STAT. § 346.15 as a matter of law. There is no controlling case law with respect to § 346.15, but our supreme court’s analysis of a similar traffic violation is instructive. In Popke, the court concluded that where the driver’s vehicle briefly operated left of the center of the road, the officer had probable cause to believe that the driver had violated WIS. STAT. § 346.05 (2005-06) (prohibiting a person from driving left of center), and could, on that basis, initiate a traffic stop. See Popke, 317 Wis. 2d 118, ¶¶15, 17-18.  Similarly, while Czirr may have only briefly traveled on the median, that act gave the officer probable cause to initiate the traffic stop.

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