≡ Menu

Fourth Amendment reasonableness requirement doesn’t mandate field sobriety tests be done a location sheltered from inclement weather

Portage County v. Sean Michael Dugan, 2021AP454 & 2021AP455, District 4, 8/5/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Dugan was stopped in a snowstorm. The officer had him do field sobriety tests at the scene of the stop, in a rut in the snow crated by the squad’s tires. (¶¶3-4). Having Dugan do the FSTs in the snow didn’t make his detention unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

A person subject to a stop may be moved to someplace in the “vicinity” of the stop during the duration of the stop without transforming the detention into an arrest. State v. Quartana, 213 Wis. 2d 440, 570 N.W.2d 618 (Ct. App. 1997); State v. Blatterman, 2015 WI 46, 362 Wis. 2d 138, 864 N.W.2d 26. That rule has been used to justify moving a person to do FSTs, as the unpublished decisions here, here, here, and here illustrate. But that doesn’t mean an officer must move a person to a place more conducive to the investigation. Nor does any statute impose such a requirement. (¶15).

In addition, Dugan doesn’t support his claim with reference to  any particular standard of reasonableness. (¶16). Finally, there’s no evidence the weather conditions made any difference in the outcome of the tests administered (walk-and-turn; one-leg stand; HGN). (¶¶4, 17). So no unreasonable detention here.

There was also ample evidence to conclude the officer had probable cause to arrest Dugan. (¶19).

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment