Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Auglaize
from Auglaize County Municipal Court Trial Court No. 2018 TRC
Kenneth J. Rexford for Appellant
D. Zink for Appellee
Defendant-appellant, Thomas M. Parsons ("Parsons"),
appeals the December 11, 2018 judgment entry of the Auglaize
County Municipal Court convicting him of operating a motor
vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs of
abuse ("OVI") and a marked-lanes violation after
his motion to suppress evidence was denied. We affirm.
On July 20, 2018, at approximately 11:54 p.m., Ohio State
Highway Patrol Trooper Z. Deitering ("Trooper
Deitering") initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle
operated by Parsons after Trooper Deitering observed Parsons
commit marked-lanes violations while travelling on State
Route 198 in Auglaize County, Ohio. (Oct. 9, 2018 Tr. at 3).
After determining that Parsons had a blood-alcohol
concentration of .142 grams by weight of alcohol per two
hundred ten liters of his breath, he was arrested and charged
with OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) and (d),
first-degree misdemeanors, and the failure to drive within
the marked lanes in violation of R.C. 4511.33, a minor
misdemeanor. (Doc. No. 1).
On July 25, 2018, Parsons appeared and entered pleas of not
guilty. (Doc. No. 10). On August 30, 2018, Parsons filed a
motion to suppress evidence arguing that Trooper Deitering
lacked a reasonable, articulable suspicion to believe that he
committed a marked-lanes violation. (Doc. No. 21). After a
hearing on October 9, 2018, the State filed a memorandum in
opposition to Parsons's motion to suppress evidence on
October 12, 2018. (Doc. No. 34). On October 17, 2018, Parsons
filed a response to the State's memorandum in opposition
to his motion to suppress. (Doc. No. 35). On December 11,
2018, the trial court denied Parsons's motion to suppress
evidence after finding Trooper Deitering's testimony that
he observed the vehicle operated by Parsons "drift over
the white edge line on one occasion" to be credible.
(Doc. No. 36).
On January 8, 2019, a change-of-plea hearing was held in the
trial court. (Doc. No. 37). Pursuant to a negotiated plea
agreement, Parsons withdrew his pleas of not guilty and
entered no-contest pleas to the OVI charge under R.C.
4511.19(A)(1)(d) and the marked-lanes charge. (Id.).
The trial court accepted Parsons's no-contest pleas,
found him guilty, and dismissed the OVI charge under R.C.
4511.19(A)(1)(a). (Id.). The trial court sentenced
Parsons to three years of community-control sanctions,
including 180 days in jail, with 170 days suspended
conditioned on his compliance with his community-control
sanctions. (Id.). The trial court further imposed a
$525 fine and a two-year license suspension. (Id.).
Parsons filed his notice of appeal on January 31, 2019 and
raises one assignment of error for our review. (Doc. No. 50).
Trial Court Erred by Denying Mr. Parsons' Motion to
Suppress, In Violation of His Rights Under the Ohio and
United States Constitutions.
In his sole assignment of error, Parsons argues that the
trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence.
In particular, he argues that the trial court erred by
concluding that Trooper Deitering had a reasonable,
articulable suspicion to believe that he committed a
A review of the denial of a motion to suppress involves mixed
questions of law and fact. State v. Burnside, 100
Ohio St.3d 152, 2003-Ohio-5372, ¶ 8. At a suppression
hearing, the trial court assumes the role of trier of fact
and, as such, is in the best position to evaluate the
evidence and the credibility of witnesses. Id. See also
State v. Carter, 72 Ohio St.3d 545, 552 (1995). When
reviewing a ruling on a motion to suppress, "an
appellate court must accept the trial court's findings of
fact if they are supported by competent, credible
evidence." Burnside at ¶ 8, citing
State v. Fanning, 1 Ohio St.3d 19 (1982). With
respect to the trial court's conclusions of law, however,