To be pulled over in Ohio, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has occurred or is about to occur. Reasonable suspicion is less than probable cause, but must be more than an unparticularized suspicion or hunch. In determining whether reasonable suspicion existed, a court will consider the totality of the circumstances.
The strange thing, however, about this standard for reasonable suspicion is that even legal conduct, under certain circumstances, can justify a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. U.S. v. Sokolow. However, this typically requires a series of lawful acts that, when viewed together, give law enforcement justification for further investigation.
So, what if you are driving below the posted speed limit? Will this allow law enforcement to pull you over? This question was posed in State v. Bacher. Specifically, the question was whether a motorist traveling significantly under the speed limit can justify reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop.
Bacher was driving on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph. Bacher was traveling approximately 42 mph. Based on this, an officer pulled over Bacher. During the traffic stop, the officer observed a strong odor of alcohol and asked Bacher to perform field sobriety tests. Bacher agreed, failed the tests, and was arrested for DUI / OVI.
Bacher filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop and, therefore, all evidence derived from the traffic stop (i.e., field sobriety tests) must be suppressed. The trial court agreed and suppressed the evidence. The state appealed.
The appellate court began its opinion by stating that “the Fourth Amendment applies even to fools.” The court found that driving 40 mph in a 65 mph zone, while ill-advised, is not illegal unless there is a posted minimum speed limit. The statute in Ohio for slow-speed requires that the slow-moving vehicle “impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” Thus, slow driving, by itself, does not create a reasonable suspicion of DUI / OVI.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI Attorney
If you have been charged with DUI / OVI in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your DUI / OVI case.
Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for DUI / OVI Defense:
Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, Gahanna, Sunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, Mt. Gilead, Pataskala, Granville, Whitehall, Franklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Union County, Madison County and Delaware County