In Wisconsin, if a cop taps on your window just drive away

By J.D. Tuccille | Reason

Fear no more that heart-in-throat moment when a police officer knocks on your driver’s side window and you think to yourself, “oh shit. Now what?” Because the answer is to just put the car in gear and cruise away—at least, if you live in Wisconsin. Earlier this month, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that a tap on the glass does not in and of itself give people reason to assume they’ve been detained, so they’re free to go about their business.

Just don’t roll over the cop’s foot.

The decision actually came in a case that didn’t work out to the defendant’s benefit. On Christmas morning in 2011, Deputy Matthew Small of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department noticed a car with its engine running in a parking lot. He found the vehicle’s presence “suspicious.” He parked directly behind the car, approached and knocked on the driver’s side, and asked driver Daniel Vogt to roll down the window. The result was a blast of booze breath which got Vogt busted for drunk driving.

at Reason.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

Top