State v. IversonAnnotate this Case
A state traffic patrol officer stopped Defendant’s vehicle after observing a cigarette butt being thrown from the passenger side of the vehicle. Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence of drunk driving obtained by the officer during the stop, claiming that the officer lacked authority to seize his vehicle to investigate the violation of a state statute prohibiting littering. The circuit court granted the motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) an officer of the state traffic patrol is constitutionally authorized to stop a vehicle based solely on the officer’s observation of the commission of a non-traffic civil forfeiture offense by an occupant of that vehicle; and (2) in this case, the officer had probable cause to believe that an occupant of Defendant’s vehicle had violated the statute prohibiting littering by throwing a cigarette butt onto the highway. Remanded.