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Extension of traffic stop was reasonable despite lack of evidence driver had used an intoxicant

State v. Julie A. Bilquist, 2014AP426-CR, District 3, 9/23/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

The totality of the circumstances justified extending Bilquist’s detention to investigate whether she was driving while intoxicated despite the lack of indicia—e.g., odor of an intoxicant; glossy, bloodshot eyes; slurred speech—suggesting she had consumed an intoxicant.

¶13      …. As our supreme court noted in State v. Lange2009 WI 49, ¶37, 317 Wis. 2d 383, 766 N.W.2d 551, “[a]lthough evidence of intoxicant usage—such as odors, an admission, or containers—ordinarily exists in drunk driving cases and strengthens the existence of probable cause, such evidence is not required. The totality of the circumstances is the test.” ...


¶16      Based on the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that [Officer] Kenney had reasonable suspicion to extend Bilquist’s detention to conduct field sobriety tests. As the circuit court pointed out, “[T]he introduction to the defendant was that she is speeding away from a marked police car. That, by itself, is irregular behavior.” Kenney articulated specific facts, and rational inferences from those facts, indicating impaired driving. There was the timing of the traffic stop in the early morning hours on a weekend, Bilquist’s excessive speed in front of the marked police car, and Bilquist’s reaction (as well as lack thereof) to Kenney’s attempts to pull her over. These driving behaviors, combined with Kenney’s impressions that Bilquist was speaking oddly, seemed untruthful, and was driving on a license revoked due to a previous OWI-related offense, were sufficient to create reasonable suspicion that Bilquist was operating her vehicle while intoxicated. See Lange, 317 Wis. 2d 383, ¶¶28-29, 32-33 (time of night of traffic stop, defendant’s driving, and defendant’s prior conviction for OWI are relevant factors in OWI investigation). …

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