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A Flashing Turn Signal Does Not Amount to Flight from Police

Police officers often come up with many creative reasons for why they stopped a citizen, whether it’s someone walking on the street or driving a car on the highway. Recently, an Ohio state trooper in Ashland County came up with a reason that didn’t pass muster with an Ohio court.

A left turn signal caused the trooper to believe the driver was fleeing

Trooper Richard Pollard saw Ryan Coyle’s car approaching him from the opposite lane. According to Pollard, Coyle was not driving in a straight line within his lane of travel, but the trooper admitted he could not see the lane lines because of the rainy weather. Pollard turned around and caught up to Coyle, who responded by tapping his brakes, slowing down and turning on his left turn signal. When Coyle didn’t turn, Pollard took that as a sign that Coyle was trying to get away from him. He turned on his police lights, and Coyle made a left into a parking lot. He was charged with a DUI/OVI as a result of the stop.

The court holds that a turn signal alone does not signal flight or give cause to detain

The court found that Trooper Pollard lacked a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to justify the stop. As for the turn signal, there was no evidence that Coyle was trying to get away from Pollard. The court reviewed the tape of the arrest and declared that Coyle’s turn signal had been on for only 10 seconds. The court ruled that leaving on the turn signal for 10 seconds before turning into a parking lot is not suspicious activity. Furthermore, Pollard’s account of Coyle’s weaving means nothing, because there is no law against moving within your own lane, as long as you don’t cross over the line into the next one.

When fighting a DUI/OVI charge, it is crucial to carefully examine all aspects of the arrest to see if the charge can be dismissed at an early stage. The DUI defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer Co., LPA have years of experience in this field and the skill to seek the best possible results on your behalf.

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