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Forum News Service, Published May 14 2013

Bogus stop can still lead to DUI charge, South Dakota Supreme Court rules

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. - Even though the reason he was stopped turned out to be bogus, a Jerauld County man still must face a drunken driving charge.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that a circuit judge was wrong to suppress evidence of drunken driving obtained after Brian Amick was pulled over in 2011. A sheriff’s deputy stopped Amick because the deputy could not see a rear license plate on Amick’s vehicle. There was in fact a dealer plate in the rear window, and Amick used that fact to persuade a judge to suppress evidence of drunken driving obtained during the stop.

But in a decision filed May 8, the state Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision by the judge that had suppressed the evidence and dismissed Amick’s drunken driving case.

The Supreme Court found that even if the deputy had seen Amick’s valid temporary license, he is still permitted to make contact with Amick, explain the reason for the stop and tell him he is free to go.

Because Amick saw an open beer bottle in Amick’s pickup, he was then justified in expanding the stop to investigate his new suspicion of criminal activity, the decision says.

The Supreme Court remanded the case back to circuit court.