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Tag Archives: traffic stop

Criminal Practice – DWI – Suppression – Reasonable Suspicion – Weaving (access required)

State v. Kochuk A state trooper only saw defendant’s vehicle weave (both wheels of the passenger side entered the right lane for three or four seconds, then, after defendant’s vehicle later moved into the right lane, the passenger side wheels rode on top of the white line twice for three or four seconds each time), but the trooper saw no other evidence of improper driving. Under State v. Fields, 195 N.C. App. 740, 673 S.E.2d 765 (2009), “weaving can contribute to a reasonable suspicion of driving while impaired,” but the weaving must be “coupled with additional specific articulable facts, which also indicate[] that the defendant was driving while impaired.” Defendant’s weaving alone was insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – DWI – Reasonable Suspicion – Wide Turn (access required)

State v. Osterhoudt A state trooper did not violate defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when the trooper stopped defendant for crossing a double yellow line while making a right turn. Although defendant did not – as the trooper mistakenly thought – violate G.S. § 20-146(a), he did violate G.S. §§ 20-146(d) and 20-153(a).

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Estimated Speed (access required)

U.S. v. Mubdi The 4th Circuit upholds a traffic stop based on two officers’ separate visual estimates of defendant’s speed, as the officers’ radar certification training required them to visually estimate vehicle speed within a narrow margin of error; the subsequent open-air search by a drug-sniffing dog did not violate defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, and his convictions for cocaine and firearms possession are affirmed.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Suppression Motion – Insufficient Findings (access required)

State v. O’Connor Where the prosecution and the defense presented conflicting testimony as to defendant’s speed and manner of driving and whether defendant and the arresting officer made eye contact before the officer started following defendant, the trial court should have made findings of fact in support of its order granting defendant’s motion to suppress evidence from the traffic stop.

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Criminal Practice – DWI – Traffic Stop – Miranda (access required)

State v. Braswell Since traffic stops are not “custodial interrogations,” they are not subject to the mandates of Miranda. Therefore, the trial court did not err by denying defendant’s motion to suppress (1) the statements he made before being advised of his Miranda rights and (2) the results of his field sobriety tests that were performed before defendant was advised of his Miranda rights.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Probable Cause — Traffic Stop – Visual Speed Estimate — Insufficient (access required)

U.S. v. Sowards A deputy’s visual estimate of a driver’s speed – uncorroborated by radar or pacing and unsupported by any other indicia of reliability – did not provide probable cause to stop the driver for driving 75 in a 70-mph zone, and the 4th Circuit says the district court erred in denying defendant’s motion to suppress cocaine discovered in the car after the traffic stop.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Reasonable Suspicion – 65 Lbs. of Marijuana (access required)

State v. Williams Given the driver’s inability to articulate where she was coming from or going to, the conflict in the defendant-passenger’s and the driver’s stories of being family, an absent third party’s ownership of the SUV, and defendant’s and the driver’s consistency with aspects of the drug courier profile (such as the SUV’s dark tinted windows and the use of an interstate highway), a sheriff’s deputy had a reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify a search of the SUV.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Warrantless Search – Passenger’s Marijuana Pipe (access required)

State v. Watkins Even if defendant’s unsignaled lane change was not sufficient to justify a traffic stop, the lane change in combination with an anonymous tip (that a purple car would be transporting drugs in the area) and defendant’s other activities were sufficient to give an experienced law enforcement officer reasonable suspicion that some illegal activity was taking place: defendant’s slow speed while driving in the passing lane, his frequent glances in his rearview mirrors, his repeated glances over his shoulder, and the fact that he was driving a car registered to another person.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop (access required)

U.S. v. McBride Police had a reasonable articulable suspicion to detain defendant’s truck after a traffic stop, based on an experienced officer’s observations of defendant’s contacts with others at the site of a club known for drug activity, but the trial court erred reversibly in admitting prior “bad act” evidence, the 4th Circuit says.

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