The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Schwartz (Decided July 23, 2018, Minnesota Court Of Appeals, Unpublished) which stands for the proposition that even a very minor traffic offense will justify the stop of a motor vehicle.
In Schwartz, St. Cloud police officer Darin Vessel was on routine patrol in downtown St. Cloud. He observed a vehicle exit a parking ramp, followed the vehicle, and observed two suspected traffic violations. First, Officer Vossen observed the vehicle cross over the centerline during a right turn. Next, Officer Vossen observed the vehicle travel on the centerline. Officer Vossen stopped the vehicle and identified its driver as appellant Ashley Amy Schwartz. Based on his subsequent observations of Schwartz's appearance, Officer Vossen arrested her for DWI.
After the Defendant was convicted, she appealed arguing that the stop of her vehicle was illegal. Schwartz acknowledged that she violated traffic laws, but she argue dthat the violations did not justify the stop of her vehicle because they were "brief and minimal." She further argued that the violations "did not interrupt traffic or pose a risk to public safety."
The Minnesota Court of Appeals, rejected her contention stating:
"These arguments are unavailing because 'no matter how insignificant the traffic law,' a violation provides the requisite particularized and objective basis for a traffic stop. Anderson, 683 N.W.2d at 823; see also State v. McKinley, 305 Minn. 297, 304,232 N.W.2d 906, 911 (1975) ("All that is required is that the stop not be the product of mere whim, caprice, or idle curiosity)."
The Court of Appeals noted that her driving conduct violated Minnesota Statute § 169.18 ("Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway") and, therefore, affirmed her conviction.
Moral Of The Story: There is no such thing as being just a little bit pregnant.