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State v. Crace

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District

July 26, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JASON CRACE, Defendant-Appellant.

Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Jason A. Macke and Francisco E. Lüttecke, Assistant State Public Defenders, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellant.

Patrick J. Lang, Athens City Law Director, and James K. Stanley, Athens City Prosecutor, Athens, Ohio, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

Matthew W. McFarland Presiding Judge

{¶1} Jason Crace appeals his convictions for operating a vehicle under the influence, driving under suspension, and a marked lanes violation after he pled no contest to the charges upon the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress. On appeal, Crace (Appellant hereinafter) contends that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress his refusal to consent to chemical testing. Because we agree with the trial court's decision to deny Appellant's motion to suppress, Appellant's sole assignment of error is overruled. Accordingly, the decision of the trial court is affirmed.

FACTS

{¶2} This appeal involves the trial court's denial of Appellant's motion to suppress his refusal to consent to chemical testing in connection with his arrest for OVI, in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(2). R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) prohibits an individual with a conviction for OVI in the preceding twenty years from refusing to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for OVI a second time. Bearing in mind our standard of review on a motion to suppress, which we will discuss more fully infra, we adopt the facts as determined by the trial court in its decision and entry denying Appellant's motion to suppress, as set forth in State v. Crace, 168 Ohio Misc.2d 13, 2012-Ohio-2090, 968 N.E.2d 76, ¶ 2-7:

"Defendant was the driver of a vehicle that crashed during the early evening hours of December 1, 2011. The crash scene was on State Route 56 about eight miles from Athens. The vehicle was not completely blocking the roadway when it came to rest.
Ohio Highway Patrol Post 5 received a telephone call at 8:24 p.m. from Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Perko reporting that he had come upon the accident scene at 8:15 p.m. Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Davis was dispatched and arrived on the scene at 8:34 p.m.
Defendant admitted that he had been driving the vehicle but declined to give a statement as to the circumstances of the one-vehicle accident. Davis noted that although defendant said that he was not injured, he was unsteady. Davis also noted that he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, slurred speech, and red, glassy, bloodshot eyes.
On a properly conducted horizontal-gaze-nystagmus ("HGN") test, defendant scored six of six possible clues. Defendant attempted to begin the walk-and-turn test but was unable to maintain the opening heel-to-toe position and then refused to complete that test. Defendant also refused to attempt the one-leg-stand test and portable breath test.
Defendant was arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol ("OVI"), and properly advised of the consequences under R.C. 4511.192 of testing or refusing, and he refused to take an evidentiary breath test. This refusal occurred at 9:40 p.m.
In writing the OVI citation, Davis noted the time of the violation as 8:00 p.m. There was no evidence presented to establish that precise time. The basis for that time was Davis's opinion that an accident on a state highway would be noticed and reported within a very short amount of time."[1]

{¶3} After the trial court denied his motion to suppress, Appellant entered a plea of no contest to operating a vehicle under the influence, in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(2), driving under suspension in violation of R.C. 4510.21, and marked lanes, in violation of R.C. 4511.33. It is after these convictions and sentences that Appellant now appeals the trial court's ...


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