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Reasonable Suspicion – Continued Detention

City of Oshkosh v. Richard A. Selquist, 2010AP862, District 2, 9/1/10

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Selquist: Walter Arthur Piel, Jr.; BiC; Resp.; Reply

The police had reasonable suspicion to continue temporary detention of Selquist and to request filed sobriety testing while investigating a traffic accident:

¶7        …  In reviewing whether the officer’s further investigation and request for field sobriety tests were warranted, we apply the same standard as for an initial stop. State v. Betow, 226 Wis. 2d 90, 94-95, 593 N.W.2d 499 (Ct. App. 1999). …

¶9        Selquist asserts that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion that he was impaired based onWilson’s acknowledgment that upon initial contact he did not find Selquist’s behavior suspicious. Selquist further contends that, even with individual contact, Wilson’s suspicions of intoxication did not rise to the level required under the Fourth Amendment. However, Selquist’s argument ignores the circumstances under whichWilson was conducting his investigation. Initially, Wilson was trying to clear the mounting traffic at the scene. Thus, he had only momentary contact with all parties to the accident for the limited purpose of determining whether they were injured and whether their cars were drivable before instructing them to relocate to a less trafficked area for further investigation. Given the circumstances, it was not unreasonable for the officer to have failed to notice that Selquist was intoxicated. However, upon talking to him individually in a less distracted environment, Wilson noticed that Selquist had the odor of intoxicants on his breath and was slurring his speech, not to mention Selquist admitted to consuming alcoholic beverages and could not recall when he had stopped.

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