Minnesota Appeals court finds in favor of Minnetonka driver who turned left into wide right lane

The decision could have implications for driving laws in Minnesota.
Author:
Publish date:
Driving left turn

When you're turning left onto a road that has two lanes, is it okay to turn into the lane furthest on the right?

That's the question that the Minnesota Court of Appeals handled this week, in the case of a 58-year-old Minnetonka man who was pulled over for going wide right on his left turn, and was later cited for drunken-driving.

But the appeals court found in favor of driver Kevin Birkland, who argued that police didn't have sufficient probable cause to pull him over simply for "turning left into the outermost lane of a four-lane roadway."

It comes after he was pulled over just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2018, at Christmas Lake Road and Highway 7 in Shorewood, with Birkland turning left and positioning his car in the far right lane of eastbound Hwy. 7 (see picture at top of page).

There are occasions at intersections where there are two left-turn lanes that requires drivers in the left-lane to take the innermost lane after turning, and the driver in the right-lane take the outermost lane after turning.

But Christmas Lake Road only has one left turn lane, and per Minnesota statute, in such a situation the only clear requirement of a driver is that they turn left, and that they are to the right of the centerline after turning.

The appeals court agreed with Birkland's argument that "the statute is unambiguous, and that a plain reading shows that the statute is silent on which lane the driver must enter after turning."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

It overturned an earlier district court ruling that stated turning into the outermost lane violates Minnesota road laws.

As a result, it rescinded the district court's decision to revoke Birkland's license for 90 days, which will be removed from his record, and he should recoup the fines he previously paid.

However, the decision could still be subject to a Supreme Court appeal.

Next Up

State Capitol.

Lawmakers reach agreement on eviction moratorium off-ramp

It would replace the governor's executive order that has been in place during the pandemic.

Pixabay - keys home house

Median sale price of Twin Cities homes hit whopping $350,000 in May

High demand and low supply is the reality for buyers throughout much of the state.

Sheldon Richardson

Report: Vikings working on reunion with Sheldon Richardson

The defensive tackle played with Minnesota in 2018.

June 7 - New Platform - CROP

Ospreys started a nest on a coop's power pole - so they built a new home for them

A small electrical cooperative went out of its way to help the hopeful osprey pair.

vaccine

In 13 MN counties, the adult vaccination rate is below 50%

Todd County is the lowest, with a 37.8% adult vaccination rate.

scared dog

Keeping your pet safe and calm during fireworks, summer events

Pets are more sensitive to loud noises, and fireworks are known to stress out many dogs.

Pixabay - hospital emergency room sign

Sheriff: 25-year-old woman run over after falling off towed ATV

It happened on a rural forest road in Smokey Hollow Township.

Screen Shot 2021-06-14 at 8.45.06 AM

Loved ones identify woman killed in Uptown as Deona Marie Erickson

She was among the protestors Sunday night when a motorist drove through the crowd.

University of Minnesota

U of M won't require COVID-19 vaccination for fall semester

The university's president called it "a complex and personal issue."

enbridge energy line 3

MN appeals court upholds Line 3 pipeline approval

The decision is a blow to Tribal leaders and environmentalists fighting the project.

Related

Small crack in your windshield? Police can't pull you over, court rules

Unless it's obstructing your vision, police need another reason to pull you over.

Hey, lane-weaving drivers, where y'all going so fast?

70mph isn't quick enough for them, so they feel the need to dodge between lanes.

Bill would crack down on left lane slowpokes in Minnesota

The lawmaker behind it suggests it would improve traffic flow.

Minnesota Supreme Court rules on rights for those suspected of DWIs

The court ruled individuals do not have a right to legal counsel before deciding to comply with a blood test if the police have a warrant.

Appeals court upholds Minneapolis' $15 minimum wage

A local company said the city's minimum wage law conflicted with the state minimum wage.

enbridge energy line 3

MN appeals court upholds Line 3 pipeline approval

The decision is a blow to Tribal leaders and environmentalists fighting the project.

Breyona cotton

Charges: Driver who killed pedestrian says she thought she'd hit deer

The 30-year-old has been charged with two traffic crimes.