This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat.  480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).


State of Minnesota,


Warren Curtis Triplett,

Filed August 13, 1996
Schumacher, Judge

Hennepin County District Court
File No. 95076820

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 
Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)

Surell Brady, Minneapolis City Attorney, Kara Einess, Assistant 
City Attorney, 300 Metropolitan Centre, 333 South Seventh Street, 
Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Respondent)

David DeSmidt, 3001 Hennepin Avenue South, Suite 309B, 
Minneapolis, MN 55408 (for Appellant)

	Considered and decided by Norton, Presiding Judge, 
Schumacher, Judge, and Harten, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

	Warren Curtis Triplett appeals his conviction for refusal to 
submit to chemical testing, arguing that the trial court should have 
suppressed evidence because it was obtained as a result of an 
illegal traffic stop.  We affirm.


	A Minneapolis police officer was on routine patrol near the 
intersection of First Avenue Northeast and Central Avenue.  
Central runs north-south, and First is a one-way street that runs 
southwest from Central.  There is a traffic island with a semaphore 
at the intersection.  The officer observed a van, driven by Triplett, 
travel northbound on Central and turn left on First.  Rather than 
turn into the nearest lane of First, Triplett drove around the traffic 
island, turning left beyond the island.  Believing the van had 
illegally turned into the wrong lane, the officer stopped it.  He 
smelled alcohol and noticed that Triplett's eyes were bloodshot and 
watery.  Triplett admitted that he had had a few drinks.  After field 
sobriety tests indicated that Triplett was intoxicated, the officer 
arrested Triplett.  At the police station, Triplett refused to take a 
breath test.  He was charged with driving under the influence and 
refusal to submit to chemical testing, in violation of Minn. Stat. 
 161.121, subds. 1a, 1(a), 3(c)(1), 3(c)(2) (1994).
	A Rasmussen hearing was held concerning the officer's 
authority to stop Triplett.  Testimony indicated that "DO NOT 
ENTER" signs at the intersection had mistakenly been turned 180 
degrees the previous spring or summer when repair work was done 
on the traffic island.  The "DO NOT ENTER" signs erroneously 
directed motorists northbound on Central not to turn into the 
nearest lane of First.  At the same time, a "ONE WAY" sign would 
indicate that such a turn was proper.  The officer testified that he 
did not notice that the signs were turned around, but admitted that 
if he had noticed the signs, he would not have stopped Triplett.  
Triplett testified that he made his turn as he did because of the "DO 
NOT ENTER" signs. 
	Triplett moved to suppress evidence obtained as a result of 
an illegal traffic stop.  The trial court denied the motion, stating:
The officer reasonably believed the signs were in the right 
place and that, therefore, the defendant violated the law.  
The officer acted properly; the stop was justified.
A jury found Triplett guilty of refusal to submit to chemical 
testing, but not guilty of driving while under the influence.


	To make an investigatory stop, an officer must have 
"specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational 
inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion."  
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 1880 (1968).
Minnesota case law shows how very low the threshold is to 
stop a vehicle in order to carry out the duty to investigate 
possible violations of the law.
State v. Claussen, 353 N.W.2d 688, 690 (Minn. App. 1984).  An 
actual violation of traffic laws is not required.  Marben v. State, 
Dep't of Pub. Safety, 294 N.W.2d 697, 699 (Minn. 1980).
	Triplett argues that the trial court erred by finding that the 
officer "reasonably believed" that the signs were properly 
positioned, especially given the fact that the signs may have been 
turned around for several months.  We disagree.  The officer 
testified that he did not notice the signs' improper position.  It was 
reasonable for the officer to assume that the traffic signs were 
correctly placed and to believe that Triplett violated the law when 
he made the left-hand turn.  Although the officer's belief that a law 
had been violated may have been mistaken, the stop is nonetheless 
valid.  Investigatory stops have been upheld even when the 
detaining officer made a mistake about the factual grounds for the 
stop.  See State v. Johnson, 392 N.W.2d 685, 687 (Minn. 1986) (if 
officer "acted reasonably in stopping the car which he mistakenly 
(but reasonably) believed to be the same one he had been 
following, then the stop was valid"); City of St. Paul v. Vaughn, 
306 Minn. 337, 342-43, 237 N.W.2d 365, 369 (1975) (stop valid 
where officers were mistaken as to identity of driver, believing it 
was man who had suspended license, when in fact it was his