Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch was charged with DUI after he was allegedly spotted weaving.
If Lynch was only spotted weaving, then the case should be dismissed. Period.
This should be true even if Lynch was crossed over lane lines on a couple of occasions. This is because a minor incursion over a lane line is not a traffic violation and does not provide an officer with “reasonable suspicion” to stop a vehicle to investigate a crime.
Lynch’s DUI occurred in California. Therefore, United States v. Colin should be persuasive. In United States v. Colin, at 2:05 a.m. a California police officer observed a vehicle drift onto a solid white fog line and watched the car’s wheels travel along the fog line for about ten seconds. Subsequently, the vehicle drifted to the left side of the right lane, signaled, and moved into the left lane. Thereafter, the officer observed the vehicle drift to the left lane where its left wheels traveled along the solid yellow line for about ten seconds. As a result, the officer stopped the vehicle for a violation of California Vehicle Code §21658(a) (lane straddling) and California Vehicle Code §23152(a) (DUI). Colin, 314 F.3d at 441.
The officer in Colin testified as follows:
“Most people who travel the highway travel the main portion of the lane which is pretty much the center of the lane. To travel the extreme right for an extended period of time and then travel to the extreme left portion of the lane and then make the lane change and then travel again to the extreme left portion of that lane, those are irregular driving patterns.”
Following the stop, a search of the vehicle revealed marijuana and methamphetamine. The defendant moved to suppress the evidence on the grounds that the stop was unlawful. On appeal the Ninth Circuit concluded that the officer “lacked the requisite reasonable suspicion to stop [the vehicle] for lane straddling.” The Ninth Circuit further concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support reasonable suspicion that the driver was under the influence. The court reasoned that the officer observed the vehicle for only 35-45 seconds before pulling it over, the driver drove within the speed limit, and properly activated his turn signals before making lane charges. The court reached this conclusion despite the officer’s testimony that the driver was “possibly” driving under the influence because the vehicle’s wheels touched the fog line for 10 seconds, and then touched the yellow line on the far left for another 10 seconds.
If Lynch was only spotted weaving a couple of times then United States v. Colin should apply.
As a result, Lynch’s DUI should be thrown out of court.
Platt & Buescher have been providing successful DUI defense for over 20 years. Contact a DUI defense attorney at 360-678-6777 for a free consultation with a DUI lawyer about your Seattle, Oak Harbor, or Whidbey Island DUI charges.