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Two-week-old driver’s license check was good enough to justify traffic stop

State v. Sarah J. Katula-Talle, 2019AP1622-CR, District 3, 10/6/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

A police officer had contact with Katula-Talle while responding to a domestic disturbance call. The department’s standard procedure in those situations is to run a driver’s license and warrant check on everyone the officers have contact with. The check on Katula-Talle showed she was revoked for an OWI-related offense. Two weeks later the officer saw her driving and stopped her on suspicion she was operating after revocation. (¶¶3-5). Was the two-week-old check enough to justify the stop, or was it only enough to give the officer a hunch?

¶13     We conclude that, under the totality of the circumstances, [Officer] Tenold had reasonable suspicion to believe that Katula-Talle had violated Wis. Stat. § 343.44(1)(b) by driving with revoked privileges. Tenold testified that at the time of the traffic stop, he knew: (1) Katula-Talle’s driving privileges were revoked on February 18, 2018, two weeks before the stop; (2) her driving privileges were revoked due to an OWI-related incident; (3) OWI-related revocations generally last at least six months; and (4) her revocation had been in effect for approximately two months. Therefore, under the totality of these circumstances, Tenold could reasonably suspect that Katula-Talle’s license remained revoked when he saw her driving on March 3.

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