DUI in Miami County dismissed following motion to suppress hearing
My client was stopped for weaving and crossing the lane dividing line on several occasions on northbound 69 highway. He was arrested following field sobriety tests and provided a breath test over .08. We filed a motion to suppress all test results on the basis of an illegal or "bad" stop. We argued the officer lacked a legal basis to stop the car, i.e. there was no reasonable suspicion to suspect illegal activity as required under the law and under case law. Many cases appellate and supreme court cases have addressed the very issue: what constitutes "reasonable suspicion" to justify a car stop? The answer is not easy. Officers must have an "articulable suspicion" to make a car stop. In other words, they must articulate-describe with clarity-the underlying driving behavior that they deemed "suspicious". Of course, this standard is quite subjective: Officer #1 may consider the driving "reasonable" and not make a stop; Officer #2 may consider the driving "suspicious" and make a stop.
In-Car video, i.e. "dash camera" video is extremely valuable to the defense when the car movement can easily be seen and evaluated. In the case where there is minor or "incidental" movement of the vehicle while traveling in its lane, then the defense can rely on the video to show the officer's stop was unreasonable and therefore illegal. In this event, a motion to suppress should be filed so the prosecutor is forced to defend the officer's actions before a trial. Some cases, like my recent case in Miami County, can be won by highlighting the defendant's "good" driving as shown in the video. Again, "incidental" movement and crossing of the lane dividing line is not grounds for a stop unless the movement is repetitive. A single lane violation is not grounds to stop (See State v. Marx).
When you meet with your lawyer to discuss your case, make sure you watch the video with the lawyer so he or she can point out the positive and negative aspects of your driving. In many cases, video will show consistent weaving and multiple lane violations. In this event, the prosecutor has a much easier job of showing "reasonable suspicion" to make the stop. But as noted above, when the video shows minor deviations of vehicle movement, then a motion to suppress should be filed in every case. You have nothing to lose. My client in the case we recently won stated "money well spent" as we left the courthouse.
Indeed, a short vacation to Breckenridge, CO in the Fall 2023 was my own reward.
Practice area(s): DUI / DWI