Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No.
D. SEXTON, Atty. Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee
MICHELLE M. MACIOROWSKI, Atty. Attorney for
1} Defendant-appellant Jennifer St. Amand appeals
her conviction for one count of operating a vehicle under the
influence of alcohol ("OVI"), in violation of R.C.
4511.19(A)(1)(d). St. Amand filed a timely notice of appeal
with this Court on January 15, 2019.
2} The incident which formed the basis for St.
Amand's conviction occurred shortly after midnight on
October 23, 2018, when St. Amand was driving northbound in
her motor vehicle on Brown Street in Dayton, Ohio. University
of Dayton Police Officer Phet Phong, who was on patrol in the
area, testified that he began following St. Amand's
vehicle after he observed her speeding. Officer Phong
testified that he did not measure St. Amand's speed with
a radar gun, but he believed she was speeding based upon his
training and experience.
3} While following St. Amand, Officer Phong observed
her cross over the center line in the roadway by
approximately one foot. Officer Phong testified that St.
Amand then turned onto Wyoming Street. Officer Phong
testified that he continued following St. Amand after she
turned and observed her once again cross over the center line
by approximately one foot. Thereafter, Officer Phong
activated his overhead lights and initiated a traffic stop of
St. Amand. Officer Phong testified that instead of pulling
over to the side of the road next to the curb, St. Amand
abruptly stopped her vehicle while it was still in the
4} Officer Phong exited his cruiser and walked over
to the front passenger side door of St. Amand's vehicle
and directed her to roll down the window. Officer Phong
testified that St. Amand then proceeded to roll down her rear
passenger side window rather than the front passenger side
window. St. Amand then corrected herself and rolled down the
front passenger side window to speak with Officer Phong.
Officer Phong testified that, at this point, St. Amand
"seemed disoriented," and he detected the slight
odor of alcohol while he spoke with her.
5} Officer Phong testified that he directed St.
Amand to produce her driver's license, her vehicle
registration, and her proof of insurance card. However, St.
Amand only presented her driver's license and a medical
card to Officer Phong. Officer Phong testified that St. Amand
never produced her vehicular insurance card or her
registration during the stop. Thereafter, Officer Phong asked
St. Amand if she had been drinking alcohol that night, and
she replied that she had not. Based upon his training and 14
years of law enforcement experience, Officer Phong believed
that St. Amand was operating her vehicle under the influence
of alcohol. Accordingly, Officer Phong ordered St. Amand out
of the vehicle and directed her to perform the walk and turn
field sobriety test. Officer Phong testified that he observed
that St. Amand was unsteady on her feet and was swaying from
side to side. Having failed the field sobriety test, Officer
Phong ultimately cited St. Amand for OVI, and rather than
transport her to the county jail pending arraignment, he
released her into the custody of her mother.
6} At her arraignment on October 30, 2018, St. Amand
pled not guilty to the charged offense. On November 15, 2018,
St. Amand filed a motion to suppress the results of the field
sobriety test, specifically arguing that that Officer Phong
did not have a reasonable articulable suspicion to administer
the field sobriety test on the night of the stop. A hearing
was held on said motion on December 13, 2018. Ruling from the
bench, the trial court overruled St. Amand's motion to
suppress. Immediately after the motion to suppress was
overruled, St. Amand pled no contest to one count of OVI, and
the trial court found her guilty of the offense. The trial
court sentenced St. Amand to six months of basic supervised
probation and ordered her to attend the Weekend Intervention
7} It is from this judgment that St. Amand now
8} St. Amand's sole assignment of error is as
TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING THE DEFENDANTS MOTION TO
SUPPRESS AS THE OFFICER DID NOT HAVE A REASONABLE ARTICULABLE
SUSPICION THAT DEFENDANT WAS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL.
9} In her assignment, St. Amand contends that the
trial court erred when it overruled her motion to suppress.
Specifically, St. Amand argues that Officer Phong did not
have a reasonable articulable suspicion ...