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OVI Conviction Reversed Based on Lack of Evidence of a Marked Lanes Violation



    The Ohio Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that significantly changed the Ohio Revised Code Section for “Marked Lanes” violations in Ohio. In its decision, The Court stated that drivers who drive over the solid white line do not commit a marked lanes violation under Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.33.

    In the past, courts have differed on if a driver commits a marked lanes violation if they drive over, or the wheel of their vehicle touches the solid white line on the right side of the lane. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the issue to settle the differences among Ohio Courts.

    In State v. Turner, Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-6773, an officer observed a vehicle drive over the solid white line. The officer stated that he observed the driver’s right tires touch the white line, but did not observe the vehicle’s tires completely cross over the line. The officer pulled the driver over for a marked lanes violation, and after further investigation, the driver was arrested for OVI. The driver was found guilty of OVI and quickly appealed his case and argued the officer had no reason to pull him over because the driver did not commit a traffic violation.

    The Court of Appeals upheld his conviction, but the Ohio Supreme Court decided to hear the case because different appellate courts in Ohio have ruled differently regarding what a marked lanes violation is.

    In its ruling the Court stated:

    “the single solid white longitudinal line on the right-hand edge of a roadway—the fog line—merely “discourages or prohibits” a driver from “crossing” it; it does not prohibit “driving on” or “touching” it.”

    The Court ordered the case be sent back to the trial court with the understanding that the driver in the Turner case did not commit a marked lanes violation when his tires touched the white line, but did not completely cross over.

    This new ruling that will alter interpretation of marked lanes violations, and how this ruling applies to challenging OVI cases. If you have been charged with an OVI and/or a marked lanes violation, it is important to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable about all possible defenses available to you including whether the officer incorrectly charged you with a marked lanes violation.

    If you have questions, talk to our OVI and marked lanes defense attorneys at 614-361-2804.

    Written by Anthony M. Iori, Riddell Law Associate