State v. Wilson, ___ N.C. App. ___, 793 S.E.2d 737 (Dec. 6, 2016)

aff’d per curiam, 370 N.C. 389 (Dec. 22, 2017)

In this impaired driving case, the court held, over a dissent, that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress where no seizure occurred. An officer went to a residence to find a man who had outstanding warrants for his arrest. While walking towards the residence, the officer observed a pickup truck leaving. The officer waved his hands to tell the driver—the defendant—to stop. The officer’s intention was to ask the defendant if he knew anything about the man with the outstanding warrants; the officer had no suspicion that the defendant was the man he was looking for or was engaged in criminal activity. The officer was in uniform but had no weapon drawn; his police vehicle was not blocking the road and neither his vehicle’s blue lights nor sirens were activated. When the defendant stopped the vehicle, the officer almost immediately smelled an odor of alcohol from inside the vehicle. After the defendant admitted that he had been drinking, the officer arrested the defendant for impaired driving. Because a reasonable person would have felt free to decline the officer’s request to stop, no seizure occurred; rather, the encounter was a consensual one.

There was dissenting opinion in this case.