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State v. Deluca

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler

April 3, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DAVID DELUCA, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM HAMILTON MUNICIPAL COURT Case No. 15TRC04251-B

          Neal D. Schuett, for plaintiff-appellee.

          Meadows Law Firm, Jeffrey C. Meadows, for defendant-appellant.

          OPINION

          S. POWELL, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, David Deluca, appeals from his conviction in the Hamilton Municipal Court after a jury found him guilty of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. For the reasons outlined below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} During the early morning hours of July 19, 2015, Butler County Sheriffs Deputy Jasen Hatfield issued a citation to Deluca for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a), a first-degree misdemeanor. It is undisputed that prior to issuing this citation, Deputy Hatfield administered three field sobriety tests to Deluca; specifically, (1) the horizontal gaze nystagmus ("HGN") test; (2) the walk-and-turn test; and, (3) the one-leg-stand test. Deluca registered clues indicating his impairment on each of these tests, thus prompting Deputy Hatfield to issue the aforementioned citation.

         {¶ 3} On October 12, 2015, Deluca filed a motion to suppress alleging, among other things, that Deputy Hatfield had not administered the three field sobriety tests in compliance with the testing standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA"). Following a hearing on the matter, the trial court granted Deluca's motion to suppress as it related to the HGN test, but denied Deluca's motion as it related to the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg-stand test. In so holding, the trial court stated:

The testimony concerning the HGN which is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, that testimony did not establish that it was conducted in substantial compliance with NHTSA standards and the HGN testing not being admissible in the trial of this matter. On the Walk and Turn test and the One Leg Stand test, the court finds it that those were conducted with in substantial compliance with NHTSA standards and those would be admissible at the trial of this matter.

         {¶ 4} A two-day jury trial was then conducted on February 22 and 23, 2016. After both parties rested, the jury returned a verdict finding Deluca guilty of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The trial court then sentenced Deluca to 180 days in jail, with 177 of those days suspended, and ordered Deluca to pay $1, 039.70 in fines and court costs. The trial court also suspended Deluca's driver's license for a period of one year.

         {¶ 5} Deluca now appeals from his conviction, raising two assignments of error for review. For ease of discussion, Deluca's two assignments of error will be addressed out of order.

         {¶ 6} Assignment of Error No. 2:

         {¶ 7} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF APPELLANT IN FAILING TO GRANT APPELLANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS IN ITS ENTIRETY.

         {¶ 8} In his second assignment of error, Deluca argues the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence as it relates to his performance of two field sobriety tests; namely, the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test. We disagree.

         Standard ...


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