Passing Field Sobriety Tests Does Not Stop Arrest - DUI News - 8/27/2016

The 9th District concludes that the State had probable cause to arrest for a marijuana OVI, despite the defendant passing the field sobriety tests and the officer smelling only raw marijuana.

State v. Krzemieniewski, 2016 Ohio 4991 (9th Dist.).

July 18, 2016

Krzemieniewski was pulled over when an officer observed him make marked lane violations.  He was ultimately cited for an OVI for marijuana.  After filing a motion to suppress due to an alleged unlawful stop, the trial court dismissed his motion, relying on the following to find probable cause for the arrest:

  1. He committed two traffic violations;
  2. The odor of raw marijuana was coming from his vehicle;
  3. His eyes were bloodshot and glossy;
  4. He admitted that he had smoked marijuana recently; and
  5. He admitted that there was marijuana in the car.

Krzemieniewski appealed, arguing that the following factors mean there was not probable cause:

  1. Officer Harrison smelled only raw, unsmoked marijuana;
  2. Officer Harrison had not completed Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement ("ARIDE") training prior to the stop;
  3. Officer Harrison's police report did not list factors that would be consistent with sobriety;
  4. Krzemieniewski passed the field sobriety tests; and
  5. Krzemieniewski was calm throughout the stop.

The Ninth District concluded that there was probable cause to arrest "notwithstanding the field sobriety tests or his demeanor," due to his "traffic violations, his bloodshot and glossy eyes, his admission of having smoked marijuana recently, and the odor and presence of marijuana (albeit raw) in the car."