State v. Lindsey:  Another Close Call on Probable Cause for DWI

Do the following facts provide probable cause to arrest for impaired driving?

An officer pulls behind a vehicle at a stoplight around 3 a.m. and sees that its registration is expired.  He activates his blue lights, and the defendant turns into a nearby parking lot. When the officer approaches the car, the defendant tells him that his license is revoked for DWI.  The officer smells a medium odor of alcohol coming from the defendant’s breath and sees that the defendant’s eyes are red and glassy. The officer performs an HGN test, noting 5 of 6 indicators of impairment. The defendant tells the officer that he had three beers at 6 p.m. the previous evening. 

The court of appeals answered this question earlier this week in State v. Lindsey, ___ N.C. App.  ___ (2016).  Its answer, and the outcome of the case, may surprise you.

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