FAIRBORN — Fairborn Municipal Court Prosecutor Betsy Deeds highlighted legal issues at the Fairborn Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy during a recent workshop.
She explained that driving while impaired can lead to serious fines and penalties. She also spent time going over citizens rights and search procedures.
“If you get [another] OVI within six years after your first OVI, the penalties on that second OVI [are] enhancable,” Deeds said. “The more OVIs you get, the more serious the penalties become.”
If an individual were to receive their first OVI charge, they would face a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is punishable with a fine of up to a $1,000 and up to a six month stay in jail. If an individual were to experience multiple OVI charges, they could eventually face a felony.
Similarly, individuals who face domestic violence charges and/or protection order violations can also experience enhancable punishments.
In the case of an officer detecting that a motorist is under the influence, they could first witness some type of traffic violation, which could be the cause for the officer to initially flip on the lights and pull the individual over. Upon doing so, the officer would need reasonable suspicion to believe there is more to the traffic violation to ask the individual to step out of the vehicle.
“There’s probable cause for the traffic violation, so the stop would be okay,” she said. “But in order to detain that person, ask them to step out of the car — there has to be more. There has to be reasonable suspicion that officer can establish and can tell you about later that made the officer believe the [driver] was under the influence.”
Officers could witness fumbling when retrieving the drivers license, an alcoholic odor, bloodshot and/or glassy eyes, slurred speech and/or the motorist admitting to having a drink.
“That’s going to be enough for reasonable suspicion for the officer to detain that person to get them out of the car and ask them to do a standardized field sobriety test,” Deeds said. “They can’t do it on a hunch … The officer has to be able to point to specific things that he or she observed that led them to believe the person was under the influence before they can legally ask the [motorist] to get out of the car.”
The court can also take attempts to cover up their condition, such as speaking with their face away from the officer, lighting up a cigarette, articulating every word or putting gum in the mouth, as reasonable suspicion.
“An officer can detain someone pretty briefly to determine if that person was involved in criminal activity when the officer has established reasonable suspicion to believe that criminal activity was afoot,” Deeds said.
The exclusionary rule means that officers must properly conduct all procedures or collected evidence can be thrown out and not used against the violator of the crime in court.
This is no exception when it comes to conducting a search.
“In terms of searching a place, in order to compensate something that is in plain view, the officer has to be on the premises legally,” Deeds said. “You can’t just walk into someone’s house and start searching it – you have to be there legally. You have to be invited in or there for some different purpose before you can start looking around for illegal stuff.”
Consent to search means an adult resident of a home gave the officer permission to conduct a search. If not, officers will typically need a search warrant. Exceptions to this includes vehicles as well as cabinets and articles within the automobile as long as probable cause is present.
“It exists when the facts and circumstances within the officer’s knowledge and of which he or she has reasonably trustworthy information that is sufficient to warrant a person to believe that an offense has been or is being committed,” Deeds said. “ … The officer can look at the totality of the circumstances.”
Other policies she went over during the Citizens Police Academy included arresting, seizing and pat-down procedures, as well as some of her specific job duties.
The following Citizens Police Academy will go over OVI and crash investigation, as well as laser/radar.
Citizens who do not follow laws face the possibility of being detained. However, officers have protocols they must follow upon sensing that something is out of place.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532 or on Twitter, @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.