Appellate Court Rules 4th Amendment Does Not Prohibit Wellness Check

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The Ninth Circuit Court, sitting in the court's appellate capacity, reversed the trial court's decision granting defendant's Motion to Suppress certain evidence in the matter of The State of Florida v. Stillman. In this matter, law enforcement had received an anonymous tip of suspected drunk driving. When the officer located the vehicle, it was parked with the driver still in the driver's seat. The police officer approached the automobile in order to conduct a "wellness check." The appellate court overturned the trial court and determined that this was a consensual encounter and not a temporary detention. The court also ruled that it wasn't a seizure once the law enforcement officer had witnessed indicators of distress as he approached defendant's automobile & attempted to determine whether the defendant needed assistance, & that once defendant rolled down his window and the police officer smelled alcohol, the officer had developed reasonable suspicion in order to begin an investigatory stop.

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