This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).






State of Minnesota,





Dinora Alicia Ortega,



Filed August 22, 2006


Worke, Judge


Polk County District Court

File No. K3-05-169


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101; and


Ronald Irvin Galstad, Erin A. Muldoon, Galstad, Jensen & McCann, P.A., 1312 Central Avenue N.E., P. O. Box 386, East Grand Forks, MN  56721 (for respondent)


David D. Dusek, Hammarback, Dusek & Associates, PLC, 712 DeMers Avenue, P.O. Box 4, East Grand Forks, MN 56721 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Worke, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

WORKE, Judge

          On appeal from a conviction of DWI, appellant argues that a police officer did not have a reasonable, articulable suspicion to justify an investigatory stop.  We affirm. 


            “When reviewing pretrial orders on motions to suppress evidence, we may independently review the facts and determine, as a matter of law, whether the district court erred in suppressing—or not suppressing—the evidence.”  State v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 98 (Minn. 1999).

An officer is permitted to conduct a limited investigatory stop of a motorist if the state can show that the officer had a “particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular persons stopped of criminal activity.”  Berge v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 374 N.W.2d 730, 732 (Minn. 1985) (quoting United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417-18, 101 S. Ct. 690, 694-95 (1981)).  Generally, “if an officer observes a violation of a traffic law, however insignificant, the officer has an objective basis for stopping the vehicle.”  State v. George, 557 N.W.2d 575, 578 (Minn. 1997).  But an officer need not observe a violation of the traffic laws to stop a vehicle; rather, an investigatory stop is valid if it “was not the product of mere whim, caprice or idle curiosity, but was based upon ‘specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion.’”  State v. Pike, 551 N.W.2d 919, 921-22 (Minn. 1996) (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 1880 (1968)).  In determining whether an officer had a particularized and objective basis to conduct a stop, “the court should consider the totality of the circumstances and should remember that trained law-enforcement officers are permitted to make ‘inferences and deductions that might well elude an untrained person.’” State v. Kvam, 336 N.W.2d 525, 528 (Minn. 1983) (quoting Cortez, 449 U.S. at 418, 101 S. Ct. at 695). 

Appellant Dinora Alicia Ortega argues that a police officer did not have a reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop her vehicle.  The undisputed facts show that an officer observed appellant leave the parking lot of a bar and attempt to make an unauthorized left turn onto a highway, abruptly turn to the right rather than complete the prohibited turn, and then weave from side to side within her traffic lane.  The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that “if an officer observes a driver weaving within his [or her] lane in an erratic manner, . . . then the officer is justified in stopping the vehicle to investigate the cause of the problem.”  Id.; see also State v. Ellanson, 293 Minn. 490, 491, 198 N.W.2d 136, 137 (1972).  The supreme court further held that “[t]his is particularly true in a case in which the driver has also just been seen leaving the parking lot of a liquor store.”  Kvam, 336 N.W.2d at 528.   Because the officer observed appellant weave from side to side within her lane after leaving the parking lot of a bar, the district court did not err in finding that a reasonable, articulable suspicion existed to conduct an investigatory traffic stop of appellant’s vehicle.