The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week Is State v. DeRoche (Decided October 17, 2016, Minnesota Court of Appeals, Unpublished), which stands for the proposition that just about any suspicion by a police officer will be deemed "reasonable" to justify a stop of a motor vehicle.
In DeRoche, the police officer observed appellant driving his vehicle in the early morning hours on a frontage road in a commercial area near a trailer dealership. The officer was aware that the trailer dealership had been burglarized in the past one or two months, and other commercial properties in the area had experienced thefts. The officer observed appellant drive from the frontage road onto a private driveway, 10-15 feet past a sign reading "Private Property. No Trespassing." The vacant property, which occasionally hosts a flea market, is adjacent to the trailer dealership. Appellant's vehicle sat in the driveway for one to two minutes. The area was dark and unlit. When the officer approached in a marked squad to investigate, appellant backed out of the private drive to turn around, and the officer stopped appellant.
The district court upheld the validity of the stop and on appeal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed, stating:
"Based on these circumstances and rational inferences drawn from them, an officer could reasonably suspect appellant of committing property crimes of nearby businesses. This reasonable suspicion justified the officer's stop of appellant's vehicle."
At least Justice Ross had the good sense to dissent from the majority decision as he correctly notes:
"Reasonable suspicion is a low standard. But it is a standard of some degree. If driving briefly just onto a vacant lot somewhere near a different lot where a theft occurred "maybe a month or two" earlier allows police to force a stop for a police investigation, then the standard is virtually meaningless. I respectfully dissent because we must distinguish between a mere "hunch" (undeveloped, vague speculation), which can never justify a police stop, and reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime has occurred or is about to occur, which does justify a police stop. This is a pure-hunch case."
MORAL OF THE STORY: If you are out late at night, don't get lost as you are likely to be pulled over by the police!
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a Minnesota DWI, feel free to contact Minneapolis DWI Lawyer, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI questions.