Supreme Court Reverses and Remands DUI Case, Finding that a Slight or Subtle Traffic Violation is Still a Traffic Violation
In State v. Stephen Howard, 2016 VT 49 (April 29, 2016), the Vermont Supreme Court reversed and remanded the trial court’s dismissal of a DUI case.
Issue: The trial court dismissed the DUI case, finding that the trooper who conducted the traffic stop in question “did not have a reasonable and articulate suspicion that defendant committed a traffic violation.” The state appealed.
Holding: The Court reversed and remanded, finding that there was proper basis for the trooper to perform a stop. To properly perform a stop, the officer just needs a reasonable and articulate suspicion that the driver is either engaged in criminal activity or has committed a traffic violation. Defendant in this case drove his car slightly over the center line in the road, which was enough for the trooper to have a reasonable and articulate suspicion that defendant had committed a traffic violation. Because the trooper had a reasonable and articulate suspicion that defendant committed a traffic violation, the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.