Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
Appeal from the Youngstown Municipal Court, Mahoning County,
Ohio Case No. 16 TRC 00127Y
Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Dana Lantz Youngstown City
Prosecutor Attorney Jeffrey Moliterno Assistant Prosecutor
Defendant-Appellant Attorney Ryan Ingram
Defendant-Appellant, John Wardle, appeals the decision of the
Youngstown Municipal Court denying his motion to suppress. As
suppression was properly denied, the judgment of the trial
court is affirmed.
On January 14, 2016, Wardle was stopped by Sergeant Eric
Brown of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and later charged with
two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence of
alcohol in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) and
4511.19(A)(1)(d), one count of driving under suspension in
violation of R.C. 4510.11, and one count of marked lanes,
R.C. 4511.33. Wardle filed a motion to suppress evidence.
At the suppression hearing the parties stipulated to the
admissibility of the dash cam video and limited the scope of
the hearing to the initial stop, the expansion of the stop,
and probable cause for the OVI arrest. Brown testified that
he had been with the highway patrol for twenty years and made
approximately 1, 000 OVI arrests in his career. Brown was
patrolling Midlothian Boulevard at 2:30 a.m. and observed
Wardle's vehicle traveling in the left lane, and then
drive out of his lane of travel into the right lane
approximately two feet for a distance of approximately 75
Brown initiated a traffic stop, exited his cruiser, and saw
Wardle was already holding his license out of the window.
Brown usually had to ask drivers to produce their license.
Brown noted that Wardle would not make eye contact with him;
he looked away and down. Further, Wardle denied consuming
alcohol and was smoking a cigarette and blowing smoke inside
the car, behavior which suggested that he was attempting to
mask the smell of alcohol. However, Brown detected the odor
of alcohol from inside of the vehicle. Initially, Brown could
not ascertain if the odor emanated from Wardle or the
Brown had Wardle exit the vehicle and immediately detected
the odor of alcohol on Wardle's breath. Brown requested
field sobriety tests and Wardle refused. The dash cam video
was played at the suppression hearing, and contrary to
Wardle's assertion, the trial court concluded that on
that date snow would not have prevented a driver from staying
in his or her lane of travel. Approximately an hour after the
stop Brown administered Wardle a breathalyzer test; the
result was .101 BAC.
The trial court denied the motion to suppress and Wardle
subsequently entered a plea of no contest to OVI and failure
to reinstate license.
to Suppress Evidence
In his sole assignment of error, Wardle asserts:
The Mahoning County trial court erred in denying the
Defendant-Appellant's Motion to Suppress Evidence.
On appeal a trial court's suppression ruling can
challenge the trial court's: findings of fact;
application of the law to the findings of fact; and assuming
the facts are not against the manifest weight of the evidence
and the law was properly applied, that the trial court has
incorrectly decided the issues. State v. Hall,2016-Ohio-5787, 70 N.E.3d 1154, ¶ ...