The Effects of Failure to File a Motion to Suppress

By | April 19, 2013

If you get pulled over for drunk driving, your attorney needs to make sure that he files a Motion to Suppress evidence if he is going to argue that the police failed to conduct the Field Sobriety Tests at the scene correctly. In the case of State v. Cline, 2013 Ohio 1404, the defendant never filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the traffic stop. But when the trial rolled around, the defendant tried to cross examine the police officer using the NHTSA training manual to show the court that the court should not take the officer’s testimony regarding the field sobriety tests seriously.

But the trial court ruled that the defendant’s failure to file a motion to suppress the evidence foreclosed this line of questioning. When the Defendant appealed, Ohio’s Fifth District Court of Appeals held that: “This Court has previously held that failure to timely file a motion to suppress evidence amounts to a waiver of any such issues for purposes of trial pursuant to Crim.R. 12(D) and (H). State v. Fornshell, 5th Dist. App. No. 10 CA 48, 2011 Ohio 3560; State v. Montgomery, Licking App.No. 2007 CA 95, 2008 Ohio 6077, ¶ 43, citing State v. Wade (1973), 53 Ohio St.2d 182, 373 N.E.2d 1244. Here, during the trial, defense counsel attempted to use the NHTSA manual to impeach Ptl. Butler’s testimony. Impeaching her testimony with the manual was tantamount to arguing that evidence with respect to Appellant’s alleged intoxication was illegally obtained, and thus, the proper subject of a motion to suppress. The failure to file a motion to suppress constituted waiver of that issue.”

So if you are going to challenge the testimony against you at trial, it is best to have filed a motion to suppress beforehand.