People v. Lubienski, 2016 IL App (3d) 150813 (September). Episode 232 (Duration 5:04)
Will crossing the line once justify a traffic stop?
The passenger tires briefly cross the white fog line and touch the gravel shoulder when turning right. The decision to stop the truck was reasonable in light of 625 ILCS 5/11-709(a).
Under People v. Hackett, 2012 IL 111781, an investigatory stop is proper where a police officer observes a vehicle deviate from his lane, as an investigatory stop in this situation allows the officer to inquire further into the reason for the lane deviation, either by inquiry of the driver or verification of the condition of the roadway where the deviation occurred.
It’s All About Reasonable Suspicion
The investigatory stop does not need to be supported by probable cause.
Probable cause would require affirmative testimony that defendant deviated from his proper lane of travel and that no road conditions necessitated the movement.
However, an officer would have reasonable, articulable suspicion for an investigatory stop without first considering whether the circumstances he or she observed would satisfy each element of a particular offense.
Here, there was reasonable, articulable suspicion that defendant had committed a traffic violation, and thus it was proper for him to effectuate an investigatory stop of defendant’s vehicle to determine the reason for the infraction.
It was not necessary for the court to determine whether the officer reasonably believed it was “practicable” for defendant to have remained in his lane.
The answer to that particular question would only be implicated when determining whether the officer had probable cause to cite defendant for a violation of section 11-709(a).
The fact that defendant did not commit any subsequent violations is also irrelevant, as the officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion for the stop immediately upon defendant’s crossing of the fog line – just once.