Motorcycle Passenger Turn Signals Not Good Enough - DUI Appeals - 4/18/2016

Traffic stop of motorcycles for failure to give turn signals OK, even if officers cannot see whether hand signals were given? Fifth District says yes, at least when the defendant reports the hand signals were given by a passenger.

State v. Petty, 2016 Ohio 1425 (5th Dist.).

March 31, 2016

Officers observed Petty turn into a parking lot on his motorcycle and did not observe a turn signal, in part because he had removed the signals to install saddlebags.  His passenger, however, claimed to have given a hand signal.  Petty was ultimately charged with an OVI and filed a motion to suppress, which the trial court granted.  The officers ""testified that they did not know if a hand signal had been given as they were not in a position to see a hand signal."  The trial court dismissed the case, reasoning that there was not a reasonable articulable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop.

The Fifth District reversed, concluding that the passenger's turn signal "does not negate the logical perception of the troopers on the scene that a turn signal was not made by appellee."  It explained that "R.C. 4511.39(A) requires a driver or a person attempting to make a turn to give the appropriate signal, not a passenger."  The Fifth District did not seem to address, however, how the officers could have reasonable suspicion if they were also unable to see whether Petty had given a hand signal.

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