Appellate court: Minnesota drivers don’t have to use innermost lane when turning left onto two-lane road

Minnesota law does not require drivers turning left from a single turn lane onto a two-lane road to enter the innermost lane, an appellate court clarified Tuesday.

In a reversal of a district court ruling, the appellate court said a Minnesota man’s DWI arrest from September 2018 was unlawful.

The appellant, Kevin Birkland, had his license revoked as a result of the arrest. He and his attorneys claimed the police officer who arrested him did not have reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation to stop his car.

According to the appellate court ruling, just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2018, Birkland turned left from Christmas Lake Road into the right, outermost lane of Hwy. 7 in Shorewood, Minn. He was pulled over by a South Lake Minnetonka Police officer and submitted to a breath test.

The District Court concluded that the law required Birkland to turn into the innermost lane, but the appellate court asserted, “the statute is silent on which lane the driver must enter after turning.”

The statute reads, “after entering the intersection the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection to the right of the centerline of the roadway being entered.”