Warrantless Search During a Traffic Stop


The State of Ohio appealed a case in the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eight Appellate District (County of Cuyahoga) regarding a defendant who was granted motion to suppress. The defendant was detained at a traffic stop after law enforcement observed what they claimed was reasonable suspicion for a search.

A patrolman then searched the vehicle and found a concealed weapon and a bag of marijuana, leading to a weapons and drug indictment. The "reasonable cause for suspicion" given was that the defendant was acting overly-polite and breathing heavily. At trial, the court found that these were not reasonable causes for suspicion, and therefore the search was unwarranted. Motion to suppress was granted.

The State appealed on the assignment of error that:

"The trial court erred in granting appellee's motion to suppress the evidence in this case as the detention and warrantless search of appellee's vehicle were not unreasonable."

The appellate court found no merit in the State's assignment of error, and found that the trial court did not err in granting the motion to suppress, since there was no cause for reasonable suspicion to search the defendant/appellee's vehicle.