State v. Verity, 2010-Ohio-1151, 2009CA00156 (OHCA5)

This case originated in the Massillon Municipal Court.  Verity was arrested for OVI and at the motion to suppress, the Trooper testified that he administered the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests according to NHTSA guidelines but he did not testify as to what those guidelines are. The trial court overruled the Motion to Suppress and Verity appealed to the Fifth District.  Shot down, right? No, the judgment was reversed. “Appellant claims the trial court erred in finding the standardized field sobriety tests were conducted in substantial compliance with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines. It is appellant’s position that theNHTSA guidelines were not in evidence and therefore his motion to suppress should have been granted. We agree.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals held that since the NTHSA manual was not admitted into evidence (“trial court denied appellant”s attempt to admit an unauthenticated copy and refused to take judicial notice of the document”), and since there was no testimony as to what the NHTSA procedures actually are, the trial court erred by finding substantial compliance.