In a recent case, our client was pulled over for failure to “move over” for a police cruiser in the shoulder. At a motion hearing on whether the officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop, Attorney Doug Riddell argued that the state failed to establish the defendant’s speed prior to the stop – an essential element of the “move over” law. The trial court agreed and found no reasonable suspicion for the stop. As a result, there was no evidence to support an OVI conviction in the case.
Defendant Pulled Over for Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle
An Ohio State Patrol cruiser was in the shoulder of the road finishing a traffic stop with his emergency overhead lights flashing. He testified that he had just turned off his in-car camera when the defendant’s car past his cruiser very closely. He immediately initiated a traffic stop based on violation of Ohio’s move over law – R.C. 4511.23.
After stopping her, the officer said he detected a strong odor of alcohol. She submitted to field sobriety tests, which the officer determined that she failed. She submitted to a Breathalyzer test and tested a .159% BAC. She was charged with OVI, OVI per se, and failure to yield to a public safety vehicle.
Ohio’s Move Over Law – Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle – R.C. 4511.23
Ohio’s “move over” law when on a two lane highway states:
“(A) The driver of a motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary public safety vehicle, emergency vehicle, road service vehicle, vehicle used by the public utilities commission * * * or a highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying the appropriate visual signals by means of flashing, oscillating, or rotating lights * * * shall do either of the following:”
If on a two lane road, ” the driver shall proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle, and maintain a safe speed for the road, weather, and traffic conditions.”
OVI Dismissed Based on Failure to Establish Violation of R.C. 4511.23 (Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle)
At the motion hearing, it was established that the driver was on a two lane road. Thus, according to the statute, she was required to “reduce her speed” when passing the cruiser.
Attorney Douglas Riddell questioned the officer regarding the defendant’s speed. He did not clock her speed nor did the state present any evidence of her speed or whether she slowed down as she passed the cruiser.
Because the state failed to establish the defendant’s speed when she passed the cruiser and failed to establish that the defendant did not reduce her speed, the judge found no reasonable suspicion for the stop and no violation of the “move over” law.
Thus, there was no evidence to support an OVI conviction.