State v. Kochuk, 366 N.C. 549 (Jun. 13, 2013)

The court, per curiam and without an opinion, reversed the decision of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, State v. Kochuk, 223 N.C. App. 301 (2012), for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion. An officer was on duty and traveling eastbound on Interstate 40, where there were three travel lanes. The officer was one to two car lengths behind the defendant’s vehicle in the middle lane. The defendant momentarily crossed the right dotted line once while in the middle lane. He then made a legal lane change to the right lane and later drove on the fog line twice. The officer stopped the vehicle, and the defendant was later charged with DWI. The dissenting opinion stated that this case is controlled by State v. Otto, 366 N.C. 134 (2012) (reasonable suspicion existed to support vehicle stop; unlike other cases in which weaving within a lane was held insufficient to support reasonable suspicion, weaving here was “constant and continual” over three-quarters of a mile; additionally, the defendant was stopped around 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night). The defendant was weaving within his own lane, and the vehicle stop occurred at 1:10 a.m. These two facts coupled together, under Otto’s totality of the circumstances analysis, constituted reasonable suspicion for the DWI stop.