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“Pull Over for Cops” Law Challenged

Dayton DUI Attorney Charles Rowland > DUI Law  > “Pull Over for Cops” Law Challenged

“Pull Over for Cops” Law Challenged

A motor officer writes a traffic ticket for a ...

In Ohio you are required, upon approaching a law enforcement vehicle with its lights displayed, to proceed with caution and with due regard to weather and traffic conditions, change lanes if possible.  If you cannot merge then you are required to proceed with caution.  Anyone who has seen those horrific videos of officers being hit by oncoming cars understands the necessity and sanity of this law.

Not pulling over can also serve as probable cause to stop a vehicle. State v. Korman, 11th Dist., 2006-Ohio-1795.  Further, even if an officer is not able to observe a traffic infraction, he or she may initiate a valid traffic stop if they can ascertain reasonable suspicion and articulable facts that a law is being or has been violated State v. Melone, 11th Dist. No. 2009-L-047, 2009-Ohio-6710, at ¶26, citing Berkemer v. McCarty (1984), 468 U.S. 420, 439.  Even if no infraction has taken place, the stop will be upheld so long as reasonable and articulable suspicion exists. State v. Andrews (1991), 57 Ohio St.3d 86, 87.

In Village of Kirtland Hills v. Rinkes, 2011-Ohio-2713, a motorist was charged with violating the Kirtland ordinance requiring him to pull over.  The officer was in a stationary emergency vehicle when he witnessed the defendant pass his vehicle.  He gave a warning to the stopped car and proceeded to trail the defendant for the “not pulling over” violation.  While behind the defendant he observed weaving within his lanes, but no traffic violation.  Defendant was subsequently charged with an OVI (drunk driving) offense and filed a motion to suppress challenging the stop.

At a motion to suppress hearing the State bears the burden of going forward. In Xenia v. Wallace (1988), 37 Ohio St.3d 216, the Supreme Court of Ohio held:
{¶22} “Once a defendant has demonstrated a warrantless search or seizure and
adequately clarified that the ground upon which he challenges its legality is lack of probable cause, the prosecutor bears the burden of proof, including the burden of going forward with evidence, on the issue of whether probable cause existed for the search or seizure.” Id. at paragraph two of the syllabus.  In the Kirtland Hills case supra , the issue was not that the defendant should have merged, but whether the State had evidence that he could have merged. When the village was not able to produce evidence that the defendant could have merged safely, they threw out the stop.  The court concluded, “A lack of evidence, by itself is no evidence.”

The 11th District Court of Appeals agreed, holding “[w]e cannot conclude, under the circumstances of this case, however, that the arresting officer’s admitted mistake of fact was either understandable or a reasonable response to the situation. The evidence before the court demonstrated that, as appellee passed the officer’s location, another vehicle was immediately behind appellee’s vehicle in the passing lane.”  The decision of the Willoughby Municipal Court was affirmed.  To see the decision of the court click HERE.

Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384),  937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (1-888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  Visit www.DaytonDUI.com, or www.OhioDUIdefense.com.  Immediate help is available by filling out the CONTACT form on any of these pages.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting follow DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and you can access updates by becoming a fan of Dayton DUI/OVI Defense.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.


Charles Rowland


Charles M. Rowland II has been representing the accused drunk driver for over 20 years. Contact him at (937) 318-1384 if you find yourself facing a DUI (now called OVI) charge.

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