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Traffic Stop – Weaving

County of Sheboygan v. John A. Taylor, 2010AP2819, District 2, 3/23/11

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Taylor: Kirk B. Obear, Casey J. Hoff; case activity

Weaving within lane supported reasonable suspicion for OWI stop, State v. Post, 2007 WI 60, 301 Wis. 2d 1, 733 N.W.2d 634 (“repeated weaving by a driver within a single lane does not alone give rise to the reasonable suspicion necessary for a traffic stop”), distinguished.

¶4        Comparing the facts in Post with the facts here, this is the stronger case.  Taylor did not drive in a “smooth” pattern, but drove at or near the center line three times, then braked and corrected himself.  He did not come within twelve inches of the center line; he was at or near the center line.  The deputy thought that this was evidence of impaired driving.  He was worried about the driver’s safety the third time that Taylor went toward the center line.  In addition, the timing here was significant—unlike in Post, it was bar closing time when Taylor was pulled over.  See id., ¶36.  All these circumstances provided reasonable suspicion and justified the stop.  Taylor’s actions amounted to more than a “slight deviation”—the kind of driving that would not make a person’s driving reasonably suspect.  Rather, his driving behavior is what alerted the deputy to the suspicion that Taylor was driving while intoxicated.  Seeing as how this deputy had forty-five operating while intoxicated arrests in the previous year alone, we think this deputy would know suspicious driving behavior when he saw it.

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