Reasonable Suspicion to Stop - Weaving Within Lane of Travel 2012

F. "Bill" William Powers

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DUI / DWI Attorney - Charlotte, NC

Contributor Level 17

Posted over 2 years ago. Applies to Charlotte, NC, 2 helpful votes



Constant & Continous Weaving - Discerning Factor

Unlike the Court of Appeals cases in which weaving within a lane was found to be insufficient to support reasonable suspicion, the weaving here was constant and continual.


Prior Caselaw - Limited Weaving

In Fields the defendant weaved only three times over the course of a mile and a half. 195 N.C. App. at 741, 673 S.E.2d at 766. Similarly, in State v. Peele, there was only one instance of weaving. 196 N.C. App. 668, 671, 675 S.E.2d 682, 685, disc. rev. denied, 363 N.C. 587, 683 S.E.2d 383 (2009).


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA Definition of Weaving

"Weaving occurs when the vehicle alternately moves toward one side of the roadway and then the other, creating a zig-zag course. The pattern of lateral movement is relatively regular as one steering correction is closely followed by another."


Reasonable Suspicion vs. Probable Cause

A criminal act need not occur before an officer may initiate a stop. In Terry v. Ohio, the law enforcement officer observed lawful conduct, "a series of acts, each of them perhaps innocent in itself, but which taken together warranted further investigation." Terry, 392 U.S. at 22, 88 S. Ct. at 1880-81, 20 L. Ed. 2d at 907.


Practical Considerations of Everyday Life

reasonable suspicion standard is a "commonsense, nontechnical conception[ ] that deal[s] with ,, "the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians act." " " Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 695, 116 S. Ct. 1657, 1661, 134 L. Ed. 2d 911, 918 (1996) (quoting Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 231, 103 S. Ct. 2317, 2328, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527, 544 (1983) (quoting Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 175, 69 S. Ct. 1302, 1310, 93 L. Ed. 1879, 1890 (1949))).

Additional Resources

Court of Appeals Otto SUMMARY

North Carolina DWI DUI & Serious Felony Defense

North Carolina Supreme Court - Otto Opinion

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