ZDL convinces Cleveland Judge that State Trooper lacked probable cause to arrest client for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol (OVI), obtains dismissal of client's charges of OVI and Possession of Marijuana

Posted by Zukerman on Monday, June 3, 2013

In City of Cleveland v. Cooper, 12 TRC 058302, ZDL obtained a dismissal of client's operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol ("OVI") and possession of marijuana charges.  State Trooper stopped client for not having his headlights on.  Upon approaching client, Trooper testified that he detected the odor of alcoholic beverage coming from inside's client's vehicle and that client admitted to consuming one beer.  Based on that information, Trooper asked client to exit his vehicle so that he could administer field sobriety tests.  Trooper testified that he observed all six (6) cues of impairment during administration of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.  Trooper testified that during walk and turn test, client turned incorrectly after the ninth step, and that during the one leg stand test, client swayed while balancing.  Based on the client's alleged performance during field sobreity tests, Trooper arrested client and charged him with OVI.  Trooper then searched client's vehicle during an inventory search and found a plastic bag that contained raw marijuana in the center console.  Client was also charged with possession of marijuana.

Client's case proceeded to a suppression hearing, during which ZDL played the dash camera video from the Trooper's cruiser that showed the client's performance during field sobreity tests.  Based on ZDL's cross-examination of the Trooper about client's performance of field sobriety tests, trial court judge agreed with ZDL that the Trooper did not have probable cause to arrest client for an OVI offense.  As a result of the judge's ruling, all of the evidence acquired by the Trooper after arresting the client was supppresed.  Thus, the marijuana that was found in the client's center console was ordered suppressed.   Accordingly, the City of Cleveland dismissed the client's OVI charge and possession of marijuana charge.

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