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Weaving at bar time justified traffic stop

City of Oshkosh v. Brian D. Hamill, 2020AP867, District 2, 12/2/20 (1-judge opinion; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

The facts are just that simple. At 2:38 a.m. (bar closing time) an officer observed Hamill’s Jeep drifting to the right line of its lane, then to the center for 30-40 feet, then to the left centerline, and then to the right line of its lane. It was undisputed that Hamlin’s Jeep never crossed over either lane marker. And yet the circuit held that these facts gave the officer reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigator traffic stop.

The court of appeals affirms based on State v. Post, 2007 WI 60, 301 Wis. 2d 1, 733 N.W.2d 634, which held that while weaving within a single traffic lane does not give rise to reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop of a vehicle, it can when it occurs at the time bars close.

¶6     …. While “weaving within a single traffic lane does not alone give rise to the reasonable suspicion necessary to conduct an investigative stop of a vehicle,” id., ¶2, the court’s determination was based on the totality of the circumstances rather than one particular fact. The court examined the manner of the weaving (right-left-right drift in a relatively short period of time) coupled with the time of day—at “bar time,” which our supreme court has called “significant.” See id., ¶36. Under the totality of the circumstances, [Officer] Franklin had reasonable suspicion to stop Hamill, and the stop did not violate Hamill’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. ….




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