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Media > Newsletters > Law Enforcement Bulletin > January 2014 > Traffic Stops (Stops Outside Jurisdictional Limit): State of Ohio v. Brown

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Traffic Stops (Stops Outside Jurisdictional Limit): State of Ohio v. Brown

Question: Is there a penalty for pulling someone over for a misdemeanor traffic violation outside of your jurisdiction?
Quick Answer: Technically yes, however, for evidence to be excluded, the stop must be in violation of the individual’s constitutional rights.

State of Ohio v. Brown, Sixth Appellate District, Wood County, Dec. 6, 2013
Facts: A patrol officer and K-9 handler for a township police department was watching the southbound traffic on I-280 while parked in a marked patrol car in the median. She pulled out into the southbound passing lane to observe another vehicle. When approximately two car lengths behind Terrence Brown’s vehicle, she observed both of his right tires cross over the white line for about 100 feet along a curve near the exit ramp, but the car did not leave the paved highway. The officer continued to follow Brown because the area was not conducive to a stop. As she pulled up alongside appellant, she observed him staring straight ahead. He did not turn to look at her. She initiated a stop just north of the intersection with the Ohio Turnpike, approximately 2.5 miles from where she had been parked and outside her jurisdiction. During the stop, Brown admitted to having drugs in the car and was arrested.
Importance: The township officer violated R.C. 4513.39 by making an extraterritorial stop on an interstate highway for a marked lane violation, which is specified in R.C. 4513.39(A) as being within the exclusive jurisdiction of the state highway patrol, sheriffs, and sheriff’s deputies. A stop outside of your jurisdiction may be OK if you can show extenuating circumstances were present to justify the stop. In this case, the court found the officer did not show extenuating circumstances.
Keep in Mind: There is no penalty outlined in the statute for a violation of R.C. 4513.39. and an extraterritorial stop does not automatically require exclusion of evidence obtained as a result of the stop. To exclude evidence, the stop must also rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
More on Traffic Stops

Electronic traffic tickets: The Ohio Supreme Court has made an amendment to Traffic Rule 3(F), allowing law enforcement to use electronic traffic tickets. The amendment also clarifies that a defendant’s signature is not required on an electronically produced ticket. This change was effective Jan. 1, 2014. The amendment does not change the rights, responsibilities, and liabilities that apply to an officer who signs a ticket, whether paper or electronic. Electronic tickets must also conform to all other substantive rules about tickets and ticketing procedure. An officer must still provide the defendant with a copy of the ticket. To learn more and access the Traffic Rules, read the following story from the Ohio Supreme Court: Supreme Court Adopts Amendments to Traffic Rules (Dec. 20, 2013)
Prolonged stop due to polite driver: You pull over a driver going 10 mph over the limit and ask for the driver’s license, registration, and insurance, which he gives you. During the stop, you get a suspicious feeling because the driver is being too polite and breathing heavy at times. As a result, you call for the canine. You go back your car, run his information, and begin to write a warning ticket. The canine arrives on scene and you ask the driver to get out and sit in the cruiser while the canine sniffs. The canine alerts on the car and after a search, marijuana and a gun are found. The stop took 12 minutes. Has this stop been unreasonably prolonged to conduct the canine sniff? The court in Fountain says yes. It found that the reason for the canine was unrelated to the stop and instead of giving the driver the written warning, the canine was called in. The officer did not smell marijuana or have any indication that were drugs in the car. The court also noted that a suspect being overly polite and breathing heavy did not give an officer a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. State of Ohio v. Fontaine, Eighth Appellate District, Cuyahoga County, Nov. 27, 2013
Not quick enough. I saw the drugs: You respond to a call about a man and woman fighting outside of a silver car at a local playground. On arrival, the two are in the car, and you can hear them fighting a distance away. As you approach, the woman gets out of the car to bend the passenger seat back to access something in the back seat. You ask her to talk to you and note she has glazed eyes, is slow in her mannerisms, and has scabs on her face. The driver begins to cuss and move about the car.  His eyes also look glazed. You call for backup and approach the car to ask the driver for his ID. The driver begins looking around the car and pulls open a tray on the dashboard, revealing a plastic bag, then quickly closes it. You ask him to reopen the tray because you saw the bag. He reopens the tray and you confirm a bag of white powder. You ask to search the car, but the driver declines, so you call in the canine. Upon arrival, the canine alerts. The vehicle is searched, resulting in heroin being found. The stop took nine minutes. Has this stop been unreasonably prolonged to conduct the canine sniff? The court in Valenti says no. Unlike the case above, here the canine was called in due to the suspicion of drug activity and drugs in the car. Under a totality of the circumstances, the additional time for the canine to get to the scene was reasonable. State of Ohio v. Valenti, Ninth Appellate District, Summit County, Dec. 18, 2013.