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Police had reasonable suspicion to detain driver to do field sobriety tests

State v. Jay G. Jacomet, 2021AP2186-CR, District 2, 10/12/22 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Under the totality of the circumstances, the police had a reasonable basis to suspect Jacomet was operating while intoxicated, so detaining him for field sobriety testing was lawful.

¶9     At the time he directed Jacomet to perform field sobriety tests—and thus began the temporary detention of Jacomet—the officer was aware of the following: (1) a reliable caller had reported to dispatch observing a male driver of a white Cadillac SUV who had difficulty standing and talking and appeared to be intoxicated; (2) the caller reported observing the driver of the Cadillac subsequently crossing the center line; and (3) Jacomet was the male driver the caller had called about and, just minutes later, the officer personally observed Jacomet with significantly slurred speech and a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his breath. In addition, it was around 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night, and our supreme court has stated that time of day “does lend some further credence” to an
officer’s suspicion of intoxicated driving, [State v.] Post, [2007 WI 60,] 301 Wis. 2d 1, ¶36, [733 N.W.2d 634,] and “[i]t is a matter of common knowledge that people tend to drink during the weekend when they do not have to go to work the following morning,” State v. Lange, 2009 WI 49, ¶32, 317 Wis. 2d 383, 766 N.W.2d 551. Based upon these facts, we have no problem concluding that when the officer temporarily detained Jacomet for field sobriety tests, he had reasonable suspicion that Jacomet had been operating his motor vehicle while intoxicated, thus legally justifying the detention.

The officer drove up the driveway of the residence (a long, shared one, per the briefs) and approached Jacomet, who was in but then apparently came out of the front of the garage, which is where the officer encountered him and observed indicia of intoxication. (¶¶4-5). If you’re wondering whether there’s an argument the officer unlawfully entered onto the curtilage of property without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment, well, that was an argument Jacomet made in the circuit court and in his brief-in-chief on appeal, though it’s not sufficiently developed in the latter. (¶1). It doesn’t help that the state’s brief responded robustly to the curtilage argument, and Jacomet didn’t file a reply brief.

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