The Fifth District holds that the strong odor of cologne put on when leaving a bar is a factor in determining reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
April 4, 2016
Francis was stopped at 2:30am when an officer observed him traveling at 68mph down a ramp, failing to use turn signals when changing lanes, and allowing his tires to go partially over a white line. The officer then observed a strong odor of cologne, which Francis admitted he sprayed on himself when leaving a bar. After he handed the officer his license, he continued to shuffle through cards in his wallet looking for his license. Once outside the vehicle, the officer noted a strong odor of alcohol and Francis admitted to having one shot.
The Fifth District rejected Francis' argument that his alcohol test levels should have been suppressed for a lack of reasonable suspicion and probable cause, noting the facts above. It also rejected his claim that he should have been able to raise general attacks on the reliability of breathalyzers, citing the Ohio Supreme Court decision in State v. Vega, 12 Ohio St.3d 185, 465 N.E.2d 1303 (1984), which held that such attacks are prohibited at trial. Finally, the Fifth District rejected Francis' argument that he should have been able to present video evidence of his field sobriety tests, reasoning that he was convicted of a per se violation that relied entirely on his BAC level, and therefore the field sobriety tests were irrelevant.