Published on: Friday, August 25, 2023

Car in Hooksett, N.H. is traveling in the right lane and doesn't signal as the 2-lane road turns into a 1-laner. A cop stops the car and finds that the passenger has outstanding warrants and was carrying a bag of drugs. Yikes! But wait! The passenger argues state law does not require a signal when lanes merge, only when a vehicle has to change lanes. And this particular road doesn't drop the right lane but just has the lanes equally blend together. District court: Word. Indeed, "the two lanes gradually and almost imperceptibly blend into one lane." First Circuit: This was no reasonable mistake of fact or law. Affirmed and evidence suppressed.

The case is United States v. Potter, 22-1579 (1st Cir. Aug. 22, 2023).