CASE: State v Griffin (Opinion No. 451PA12, April 12, 2013)
When a driver stops in the middle of a roadway and turns away from a licensed checkpoint, a law enforcement officer has "reasonable suspicion" that the driver may have been violating the law and the subsequent stop and investigation of the driver is constitutional.
On January 5, 2009, Trooper Scott Casner of the North Carolina Highway Patrol was conducting a license checkpoint on Highway 306 close to two intersections. The checkpoint at issue was marked and illustrated by activated blue lights of North Carolina Highway Patrol cars. At approximately 9:55 p.m. Trooper Casner observed a vehicle approaching the checkpoint. Then the vehicle, although not at an intersection, stopped in the middle of the road and initiated a three-point turn thus beginning to turn left and continuing onto the shoulder of the road. Suspecting that the driver was attempting to avoid the checkpoint, Trooper Casner stopped the driver before he could complete the turn and leave the area. Casner's investigation of the driver ultimately led to him being charged with DWI (DUI or drunk driving).
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