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Officer had reasonable suspicion to extend traffic stop

Dane County v. Brenna N. Weber, 2017AP1024, District 4, 1/11/18 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Weber was legitimately stopped for speeding, but argues there was insufficient basis for the officer to extend the traffic stop to conduct field sobriety tests. The court of appeals holds the totality of the circumstances justified the continued detention.

¶12     The first indicia that Weber was operating while intoxicated was the “medium” odor of intoxicants emanating from her vehicle. See, e.g. State v. Krause, 168 Wis. 2d 578, 587-88, 484 N.W.2d 347 (Ct. App. 1992). Additionally, Weber was driving her car far in excess of the speed limit at bar time and admitted to consuming alcohol. See State v. Valenti, [2016AP662], unpublished slip op. ¶10 (WI App. Sept. 7, 2016). When considered together, these factors give rise to a reasonable suspicion to extend the traffic stop to have Weber perform field sobriety tests.


¶14     Weber also asserts that Deputy Schneider had no reason to doubt Weber’s explanation regarding the odor of the intoxicants and that her explanation did not raise an inference of impairment. …. Reasonable suspicion exists even if there could be an alternative, innocent explanation for a factor. [State v.] Hogan, [2015 WI 76,] 364 Wis. 2d 167, ¶36[, 868 N.W.2d 124]. Moreover, Deputy Schneider was not obligated to accept Weber’s explanation. See [State v.] Colstad, [2003 WI App 25,] 260 Wis. 2d 406, ¶21[, 659 N.W.2d 394]. Rather, Deputy Schneider was required to consider independent factors in the aggregate. Hogan, 364 Wis. 2d 167, ¶37.

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