State v. Osterhoudt, 222 N.C. App. 620 (Aug. 21, 2012)

(1) The trial court erred in connection with its ruling on a suppression motion in an impaired driving case. The trial court failed to look beyond whether the defendant’s driving was normal in assessing whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. (2) The officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle based on observed traffic violations notwithstanding the officer’s mistaken belief that the defendant also had violated G.S. 20-146(a). The officer’s testimony that he initiated the stop after observing the defendant drive over the double yellow line was sufficient to establish a violation of G.S. 20-146(d)(3-4), 20-146(d)(1), and 20-153; therefore regardless of his subjective belief that the defendant violated G.S. 20-146(a), the officers testimony establishes objective criteria justifying the stop. The stop was reasonable and the superior court erred in holding otherwise. The court noted that because the officer’s reason for the stop was not based solely on his mistaken belief that the defendant violated G.S. 20-146(a) but also because the defendant crossed the double yellow line, the case was distinguishable from others holding that an officer’s mistaken belief that a defendant has committed a traffic violation is not an objectively reasonable basis for a stop.