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City of Zanesville v. Reaver

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Muskingum

June 5, 2017

CITY OF ZANESVILLE Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
ZACHARY REAVER Defendant-Appellant

         Criminal appeal from the Zanesville Municipal Court, Case No. 15TRC03199A

          For Plaintiff-Appellee DAVID TARBERT EMILY STRANG TARBERT SCOTT D. EICKELBERGER

          For Defendant-Appellant BRIAN BENBOW

          JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, J.

          OPINION

          Gwin, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Zachary Reaver ["Reaver"] appeals his conviction and sentence in the Zanesville Municipal Court on one count of OVI "prohibited level" in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(d). Plaintiff-appellee is the State of Ohio.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} At around 3:00 a.m. on December 24, 2015 Sergeant Jeffrey Jirles of the Ohio State Highway Patrol believed Reaver was speeding and began pacing Reaver's car. Sergeant Jirles noting speeds of up to 45 mph in a 35-mph zone. While he was following Reaver, Sergeant Jirles observed Reaver failing to stop properly at a red light and an improperly turning at that same light. Based on these violations, Sergeant Jirles initiated a traffic stop.

         {¶3} Reaver "fumbled" around his vehicle trying to find his license and registration. During this initial encounter, Sergeant Jirles noted there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from Reaver's vehicle. There was a passenger in the vehicle, so Reaver was removed from his car and placed in the front seat of Sergeant Jirles' cruiser. While in the cruiser, Reaver admitted to coming from several bars and consuming "three beers" and then later admitting to "four drinks." Sergeant Jirles noted the odor of alcohol intensified when he was alone with Reaver in his cruiser.

         {¶4} Sergeant Jirles administered the standardized field sobriety tests ["SFSTs"], including the horizontal gaze nystagmus test ["HGN"], the "walk and turn divided attention skills test" ["WAT"], " and the "one-leg stand" ["OLS"].

         {¶5} Reaver exhibited four out of four clues on the OLS, indicating a failure on the test. Sergeant Jirles provided instructions regarding the WAT, demonstrated the test, and administered it to Reaver. Sergeant Jirles noted three clues on Reaver's WAT test.

         {¶6} Reaver's was arrested and charged with one count of OVI "under the influence" a violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) and one count of OVI "prohibited level" in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(d).

         {¶7} Reaver filed a Motion to Suppress. The court held a hearing on May 5, 2016. At this hearing, the court heard the testimony of Sergeant Jirles and Reaver's OVI expert, Harold Copen ("Copen"). The court overruled Reaver's motion noting in part, Based upon the evidence presented, the court finds that the officer had a valid reason to conduct a traffic stop and that he further had reasonable, articulable suspicion to suspect the defendant may have been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence and to request that the defendant submit to field sobriety tests.

The court further finds that the HGN test was not conducted within substantial compliance of NHTSA standards, and the results thereof are not admissible.
The court finds that the "one legged stand" and the "walk and turn" tests were conducted within substantial compliance of the NHTSA standards and are therefore admissible.
The court further finds that the statements made by the defendant admitting to the consumption of alcohol prior to the traffic stop are admissible even though he was not given the Miranda warnings since they were made prior to the defendant being placed under arrest or placed into custody.

         {¶8} Reaver pled "no contest" to one count of OVI "prohibited level" in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(d) and was found guilty on September 26, 2016.

         Assignments of Error

         {¶9} Reaver raises three assignments of error, {¶10} "I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS BY FINDING THAT THE ARRESTING OFFICER ADMINISTERED THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS IN SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE TESTING GUIDELINES SET ...


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