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Traffic Stop – Reasonable Suspicion, OWI

Shawano Co. v. William P. Pari, No. 2009AP2338-FT, District III, 6/15/10

court of appeals decision (1-judge; not for publication); for Pari: John S. Bartholomew; BiC; Resp.; Reply

¶10    We agree that Pari’s minimal deviations within the traffic lane do not alone give rise to reasonable suspicion that he was operating while intoxicated. See id., ¶¶18-21. Nor do we place great emphasis on that fact here when considering the totality of the circumstances. “‘Indeed, if failure to follow a perfect vector down the highway [was] sufficient reason[] to suspect a person of driving while impaired, a substantial portion of the public would be subject each day to an invasion of their privacy.’” Id., ¶20 (quoting United States v. Lyons, 7 F.3d 973, 974 (10th  Cir. 1993)).

¶11     Pari was not, however, stopped solely due to his minimal lane deviations. In addition, he was driving eight miles under the speed limit on the open highway. Uelman testified that in his experience this was unusual. Pari also drove over the fog line not once, but twice in a relatively short distance.  This occurred at 3 a.m., not long after “bar time.” Additionally, his steering was jerky rather than smooth as he navigated the highway’s curve. Taking all these facts together, it was reasonable to suspect Pari may have been driving while intoxicated.


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