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Police Officer Has Probable Cause for Traffic Stop Even if Control Device is not Authorized by Statute

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2006 | OVI

The Ohio Supreme Court recently made an important decision in the case of Bowling Green vs. Godwin which affects many people, especially those suspected of driving under the influence or persons who may have contraband in their vehicle. The question before the Court was whether a police officer has probable cause to stop someone when the officer observes him/her violating a traffic control device (such as running a red light), even when that device was not correctly authorized by statute.

The Supreme Court ruled that found probable cause does exist, even when the police officer stops a driver for violating a traffic control device that is not authorized by law. In fact, even though the driver could not be convicted of the original traffic offense, this does not invalidate the stop. The Court’s decision was based upon the theory that a police officer cannot reasonably know that the sign or traffic control device is not authorized at the time he is stopping the driver.

For more information regarding DUI defense and other criminal matters, please contact Mark Godbey and Associates at 513-241-6650.