DUI Case Law Update: State v. Houck

In State v. Houck, 2011-Ohio-6359, the Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld a decision of the lower court on defendant’s Motion to Suppress.  The issue involved an arrest for OVI which was made after an officer alleged the defendant was weaving within his lanes and crossing the center line ONCE.  Just one problem.  When the video was viewed at the motion to suppress hearing, no weaving and no crossing of the center line was observed.  “In this case, the video tape introduced at trial affirmatively demonstrates Appellee’s vehicle did not appear to swerve back and forth and does not appear to drive left of center.” Id. at 12.

Based on the video evidence, the trial court granted the motion.  The State appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeals.  The Court, however, held, “When reviewing the traffic stop in the case sub judice under the totality of the circumstances, we agree with the trial court the officer did not have a reasonable, articulable suspicion upon which to base the initial stop of Appellee.” Id. at 17.  The Court relied on several cases to stand for the principle that, “In Ohio, when a driver commits only a de minimis marked-lanes violation, there must be some other evidence to suggest impairment before an officer is justified in stopping the vehicle. See State v. Gullett (1992), 78 Ohio App.3d 138, 145, 604 N.E.2d 176, 180–181. In Gullett, the Fourth District Court of Appeals concluded that the mere crossing of an edge line on two occasions did not constitutionally justify the stop. Similarly, this court has held that where there is no evidence of erratic driving, ‘other than what can be considered as insubstantial drifts across the lines,’ there is not sufficient evidence to justify an investigative stop. State v. Drogi (1994), 96 Ohio App.3d 466, 469, 645 N.E.2d 153, 155.”

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter@DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.