This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Albert Lindberg, petitioner,
Commissioner of Public Safety,
One 1987 Chevy Blazer, MN
License No. 083 LJF, VIN
File No. CX0198
Charles A. Ramsay, Rebecca Rhoda Fisher, Ramsay & Devore, P.A., 2151 Hamline Avenue North, Suite 111, Roseville, MN 55113 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Sheila M. Fitzgerald, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Anderson, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Mulally, Judge.*
In these consolidated appeals from orders sustaining appellant Randy Albert Lindberg’s driver’s license revocation and denying his request for the return of a seized motor vehicle, Lindberg argues that the deputy sheriff who stopped him did not have a reasonable articulable suspicion that justified the stop. We affirm.
Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Deputy Reed Bye was driving east on state highway 95 when he saw Lindberg’s Chevy Blazer stopped at a stop sign at the top of an exit ramp from state highway 169. Bye then saw the Blazer make a right-hand turn onto highway 95. Bye also saw that no turn signal on the Blazer was activated while it was stopped or turning.
Bye stopped Lindberg’s vehicle, and upon speaking to Lindberg, observed indicia of intoxication, including the odor of alcohol and bloodshot, watery eyes. Lindberg was arrested for driving while impaired and refusal to test, and his Blazer was seized. Lindberg’s driver’s license was later revoked.
After a combined implied consent and forfeiture hearing, the district court sustained the revocation of Lindberg’s driver’s license and denied his request to return his seized vehicle.
Minn. Stat. § 169.19, subd. 5 (2000), provides:
A signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
Lindberg argues that because the Blazer was stopped when Bye first saw it, the Blazer was not traveling, and therefore, Minn. Stat. § 169.19, subd. 5, did not require him to be signaling a turn at that time. Lindberg also argues that Minn. Stat. § 169.19, subd. 5, did not require him to signal his turn after he began turning, and therefore, he was not required to have his turn signal activated while he was making the right turn. Lindberg concludes that because there is no evidence that he violated Minn. Stat. § 169.19, subd. 5, Bye’s mere belief that he had violated the statute was insufficient to establish an objective legal basis for the stop.
“Statutory interpretation based on undisputed facts is a question of law.” State v. Bissonette, 445 N.W.2d 843, 844 (Minn. App. 1989) (citation omitted). “On review, this court is not bound by the trial court’s determination of a question of law.” Id. (citation omitted).
If a statute is ambiguous, a court may refer to the legislative history surrounding the statute’s enactment to ascertain its legislative intent. Where the intention of the legislature is clearly manifested by plain unambiguous language, however, no construction is necessary or permitted.
Phelps v. Commonwealth Land Title Ins. Co., 537 N.W.2d 271, 274 (Minn. 1995) (citations omitted). “A statute is ambiguous if it is susceptible to more than one reasonable interpretation.” Id. (citations omitted).
Lindberg’s argument that he was not required to have his turn signal on while he was stopped at the stop sign is based on his contention that while he was stopped, he was not traveling. But even if we assume that the Blazer was not traveling when it was stopped, this argument fails.
Minn. Stat. § 169.19, subd. 5, does not require a turn signal to be activated only while a vehicle is traveling. Instead, the statute describes a period of time during which a driver must continuously signal an intention to turn. Under the statute, a driver must signal an intention to turn throughout the time that a vehicle is within 100 feet from the point where the vehicle begins to turn.
When Lindberg was stopped at the stop sign, he had not begun to turn, but he was within 100 feet of the point where he began to turn. The fact that the Blazer was stopped did not change the fact that it was within the last 100 feet that it traveled before turning. Under the plain unambiguous language of the statute, Lindberg was required to signal his turn from the time the Blazer was within 100 feet of the turn until it began to turn. Therefore, Bye’s observation that the Blazer turned without continuously having a turn signal on during the last 100 feet before beginning the turn provided an objective legal basis for stopping Lindberg’s vehicle.
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.