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Arrest — Probable Cause — Specific Examples: Seatbelt Violation

State v. Pedro L. Nieves, 2007 WI App 189, PFR filed 7/6/07
For Nieves: Ralph Sczygelski


¶9 For purposes of this appeal, the propriety of the initial traffic stop is not challenged. Rather, Nieves argues that he should not have been arrested for his “innocuous seatbelt violation.” He was not. Indeed, Wis. Stat. § 347.48(2m)(gm) expressly forbids an arrest based solely on a seatbelt violation. The sole issue, therefore, is whether there existed probable cause to arrest Nieves for obstructing an officer, thus legitimizing the ensuing search.

Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113 (1998), distinguished on basis that there, search was conducted incident to mere “citation” rather than, as here, criminal arrest, ¶¶15-16.


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