2016-Recent Case Results (January-June)

DISCLAIMER: These are actual results from attorney Shawn Dominy's DUI/OVI cases and criminal cases in Columbus, Ohio and the central Ohio area. However, the results achieved in past criminal defense cases and drunk driving defense cases is not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved in your case because the facts of every case are unique.

JUNE, 2016

Second OVI Charge Reduced To Reckless Operation. My client was stopped for speeding, and the officer observed the usual signs of intoxication: odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and glassy/bloodshot eyes. The officer asked my client to perform field sobriety tests. My client performed one field sobriety test but declined the remaining tests. The officer arrested my client and took my client to a police station. There, the officer alleged, my client manipulated the breath-testing machine, so my client’s behavior was considered a refusal of the test. My client was charged with OVI and Speed, and my client had been charged with OVI on one prior occasion.

We pled not guilty and investigated the case. We were able to demonstrate my client declined the field sobriety tests due to a medical condition, and we were able to substantiate that claim with medical records. We argued the problem with the breath test was not manipulation but an error with the machine. Ultimately, the charge of Speed was dismissed, and the charge of OVI was amended to a charge of Reckless Operation.

Franklin County Shoplifting Case Dismissed. My client was charged with Theft for shoplifting at a clothing store in Columbus, Ohio. My client is a successful young professional. Like many others who find themselves in this situation, my client could have paid for the clothes. Before we resolved the case, my client completed an anti-theft program and found the program provided valuable insights. The program also satisfied one requirement of the shoplifting diversion program in the Franklin County Municipal Court. My client satisfied the other requirements, and the case was dismissed. The case should soon be sealed, so there will be no public record of the incident.

MAY, 2016

Child Endangering Charge Dismissed In DUI/OVI Accident Case. My client was driving home from a hockey game when he was involved in a one-car accident. His car hit a guardrail and eventually caught on fire. Police came to the scene and suspected my client was under the influence. The officers administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client took a breath test, and the result was .174. My client was charged with high-test OVI ‘per se’, OVI ‘impaired’, and Failure To Control. Because my client’s teen-age son was in the car with him, my client was also charged with Child Endangering.

The evidence revealed good and bad points. On one hand, it appeared the breath test would not prove a high-test OVI (over .170). On the other hand, it appeared the prosecution likely could prove the charge of OVI ‘impaired’. We reached an agreement with the prosecution. The prosecution dismissed the charge of Child Endangering (our biggest concern) and the charge of high-test OVI, and my client pled guilty to the charge of OVI ‘impaired’. By having the high-test OVI dismissed, my client avoided actual jail time and yellow license plates. He was sentenced to the minimum possible OVI penalties.

Good Resolution For Third-Offense DUI/OVI. My client was charged with OVI, and he had two prior DUI/OVI convictions. Although the prior convictions were outside the six-year ‘lookback period’ for the state of Ohio, my client was charged with OVI under the Columbus City Code. The Columbus City Code ‘lookback period’ for multiple OVI offenses is lifetime. In addition, my client’s breath test result was .192, so this was considered a high-tier case (over .170). That means my client was facing a minimum jail sentence of 60 days and a minimum license suspension of two years.

We entered a plea of Not Guilty and investigated the case. There was little evidence my client’s driving ability was impaired: the traffic stop was based only on a license plate violation, the field sobriety tests were inconclusive, and my client did not appear to be obviously under the influence on the cruiser video. While the case was pending, my client participated in alcohol counseling. Ultimately, the prosecutor stipulated the OVI was a first offense, and the judge imposed only three days in jail and a six-month license suspension.

Theft Dismissed In Student’s Shoplifting Case. My client, a very good student, made the mistake of shoplifting at a Columbus, Ohio department store. It appeared my client’s lapse in judgment was due to peer pressure. Nevertheless, my client was charged with theft in the Franklin County Municipal Court. We had my client screened for the shoplifting diversion program, and my client met the eligibility requirements. My client completed the conditions of the shoplifting diversion program, and the case was dismissed. My client learned a lesson, the hard way, about peer pressure.

APRIL, 2016

Commercial Driver Charged With DUI/OVI Saves CDL. My client was a truck driver and required a Commercial Driver License (CDL) for his employment. He had a prior OVI conviction from 15 years ago. On this occasion, he was charged with OVI and Test Refusal With Prior Conviction. The evidence against him was average, and the case seemed sort of generic, but it was not generic to him, as an OVI conviction or an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) would result in a one-year CDL disqualification. We prepared the case for trial, but before we reached the trial stage, the prosecutor made an offer my client couldn’t refuse. The one-year ALS was terminated, the charge of Test Refusal With Prior Conviction was dismissed, and the charge of OVI was amended to a charge of Physical Control. My client accepted that offer, so his CDL is not subject to disqualification.

Second DUI/OVI With High Test Reduced. My client was pulled over for failing to stop at a stop sign. The officer observed the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and glazed eyes. The officer also noticed my client had difficulties with paperwork and mumbled when she spoke. The officer administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client’s breath test result was .186, and this was her second OVI within six years, so she was facing a minimum of 20 days in jail.

We entered a plea of Not Guilty and filed a Demand For Discovery. We followed-up the discovery demand with a letter specifically requesting two videos: one from the police cruiser, and one from the police station. The police station video was never produced, and there was a chance the judge would dismiss the case entirely. Rather than take that chance, the prosecutor dismissed the high-test charge of OVI ‘per se’ and amended the charge of OVI ‘impaired’ to a first offense. My client pled guilty to the first offense OVI and served three days in a driver intervention program at a hotel rather than a minimum of 20 days in jail.

DUI/OVI Charge Reduced For Military Client. My client was involved in a minor two-car accident. Police officers were dispatched to the accident scene, and the other driver told the officers my client was intoxicated. One of the officers observed slurred speech and the odor of alcohol, so the officer administered field sobriety tests. After the tests, the officer arrested my client for OVI. My client is on active duty in the military, so he was concerned about the impact of the OVI on his military status.

We investigated the case. In addition to obtaining the evidence from the prosecutor, we also obtained my client’s medical records. The records showed my client underwent recent foot surgery and should not have been given two of the three field sobriety tests. The cruiser video showed the officer botched the third field sobriety test. The charge of OVI was amended to a charge of Reckless Operation.

MARCH, 2016

Hearing On Motions To Suppress Leads To Dismissal Of OVI Charges. My client was pulled over for driving over a marked lane and failing to use his turn signal. The officer noticed the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from my client’s vehicle, and my client was the only person in the vehicle. The officer also observed my client had glassy eyes and slurred speech. My client acknowledged he recently drank alcohol. The officer administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client refused a breath test and had a prior DUI/OVI conviction within 20 years, so he was charged with OVI, Test Refusal With Prior Conviction, Marked Lanes and Turn Signal.

We entered a plea of not guilty, obtained the prosecutor’s file, and filed motions to suppress evidence. In the motions, we alleged the field sobriety tests were administered incorrectly and the officer was not justified in arresting my client. The prosecutor was unwilling to amend the OVI charges to something other than OVI, so we had a hearing on the motions to suppress. The judge granted the motions, finding the field sobriety tests were not administered in substantial compliance with current testing standards, and the officer lacked probable cause to arrest my client. After the hearing, the prosecutor dismissed the charges of OVI and Test Refusal With Prior Conviction. My client pled guilty to the marked lanes violation and the turn signal violation, and his sentence consisted of a fine only.

Theft Charge Dismissed In Columbus Shoplifting Case. My client was charged with Theft after a shoplifting incident in Columbus, Ohio. Due to the industry in which my client worked, a theft conviction would result in termination of my client’s employment. When we went to court, we requested that my client be screened for the theft diversion program. Our request was granted. My client completed the requirements of the program, and the case was dismissed. My client immediately filed for the records of the case to be sealed, and we anticipate the records will be sealed soon.

OVI Charge Involving No Headlights Reduced. It was a dark, rainy night…and an officer observed my client driving without headlights. The officer stopped my client and reported my client was slow to pull over. The officer also reported my client was slow to distinguish between her driver license and credit card. The officer had my client perform field sobriety tests and then arrested my client. My client had a previous OVI charge which had been amended to a less serious offense. My client refused a breath test, and her license was immediately suspended for one year.

We went to court and got my client’s license returned, so she was able to drive while the case was pending. Although my client’s headlights were, in fact, off, they were automatic headlights, so she thought they were on. In addition, my client gave the officer the exact documents he requested. The officer administered field sobriety tests in the pouring rain when the tests are supposed to be given on a dry, non-slippery surface. The officer also did not notice the odor of alcohol on my client until after detaining her for testing, so the detention was questionable from a Fourth Amendment perspective. Ultimately, the charge of OVI was reduced to Reckless Operation, and the one-year license suspension was replaced with a six-month suspension.

FEBRUARY, 2016

OVI Case With Fleeing And High Breath Test Resolved Favorably. An officer observed my client speeding and initiated the cruiser lights. My client did not respond to the cruiser lights. The officer followed my client for a while and my client drove home. After my client pulled into the garage, the officer approached. The officer observed the usual signs of intoxication and administered field sobriety tests. The officer arrested my client, and my client’s breath test result was .221. My client was charged with Fleeing, which includes a mandatory license suspension of three years to life, high-test OVI ‘per se’, which includes yellow license plates and at least six days in jail, OVI ‘impaired’, and Speed.

At my client’s arraignment, we pled Not Guilty and obtained limited driving privileges. We also obtained the discovery materials from the prosecuting attorney. Based on those materials, it was clear the evidence would be insufficient to prove my client’s guilt on the charge of Fleeing. There was also an issue of coercion with the breath test, which could result in the breath test being excluded. The prosecuting attorney dismissed the charge of Fleeing, the charge of high-test OVI per se, and the charge of Speed. My client pled guilty to the charge of OVI ‘impaired’, and the sentence included no actual jail time, no yellow license plates, and a license suspension of six months.

Second Offense DUI/OVI With High-Tier Breath Test Reduced. Officers stopped my client for Marked Lanes violations and observed several signs of intoxication. Those signs included the strong odor of alcohol, glassy/bloodshot eyes, difficulty with vehicle controls, fumbling with driver’s license, and slurred speech. The officers administered field sobriety test and observed all possible clues of intoxication. The officers administered a breath test, and the result was .261. My client had a prior conviction within six years, so he was facing at least 20 days in jail (up to 180 days), a license suspension of one to five years, yellow license plates, and vehicle immobilization.

The evidence showed the officers’ DUI/OVI investigation was inadequate. The officers did not complete paperwork necessary for the breath test to be used in court. The officers gave erroneous advice about the consequences of taking or refusing the breath test. The officers’ administration of the field sobriety tests was not in compliance with current testing standards. The prosecution ultimately stipulated this was my client’s first OVI, so the sentence included only three days in jail, a six-month license suspension, no yellow license plates, and no vehicle immobilization.

First Offense DUI/OVI With Breath Test Amended. My client turned too sharply at an intersection and ended-up driving eastbound in a westbound lane. A police officer happened to witness this and stopped my client. The officer smelled the odor of alcohol and got my client out of the car for field sobriety tests. My client reportedly performed poorly on the tests and was arrested. The officer took my client to a police station where my client’s breath test result was .116. My client was charged with a Divided Roadways offense, a seatbelt offense, OVI ‘impaired’, and OVI ‘per se’.

The cruiser video was revealing. It showed the sharp turn was an easy mistake to make at that intersection. It also showed the field sobriety tests were administered in the pouring rain, making the tests effectively invalid. The records for the breath-testing machine were also revealing. Based on those records, it was questionable whether the machine was in proper working order. The prosecution dismissed the divided roadways offense, the seatbelt offense, and one charge of OVI. The remaining charge of OVI was amended to a non-moving, no-points offense.

Second DUI/OVI With Refusal And Excessive Speed Reduced. My client sped past a cruiser on the freeway, and my client’s speed was measured at 116 mph. The officer stopped my client and observed the odor of alcohol. The officer also observed red eyes and slightly slurred speech. The officer administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client refused the breath test. My client had a prior DUI/OVI conviction within the last six years, so he was charged with ‘Test Refusal With Prior Conviction’, as well as OVI and Speed. Under those circumstances, my client was facing a minimum of 20 days in jail, mandatory yellow license plates, and mandatory vehicle immobilization.

We entered a plea of not guilty and obtained discovery from the prosecutor. The cruiser video showed the officer administered the field sobriety tests off-camera for no legitimate reason. The cruiser video also showed a lack of evidence we would expect to see in a drunk driving case. In addition, there was a speedy trial issue related to the belated charge of Test Refusal With Prior Conviction. That charge was dismissed, as was the charge for Speed. The OVI was stipulated to be a first offense. My client completed a driver intervention program rather than jail time and was not required to have yellow license plates or vehicle immobilization.

JANUARY, 2016

DUI/OVI In Construction Area Reduced. My client was driving in a construction area and drove the wrong way on a temporary one-way lane. An officer approached my client and observed the odor of alcohol. When asked, my client acknowledged he just came from a bar where he drank wine. My client performed poorly on field sobriety tests and blew a .122 on a breath test. My client was charged with OVI ‘impaired’, OVI ‘per se’, and Left Of Center.

Our investigation showed the construction area and its temporary lanes were confusing. My client had coherent conversation with the officer, so his mental faculties were intact. Due to my client’s age and medical condition, he was not a good candidate for the field sobriety tests, so they were not valid. The charge of Left Of Center was dismissed, as was one charge of OVI. The other charge of OVI was amended to a charge of Reckless Operation.

DUI/OVI Reduced To Reckless Operation. My client was pulled over for Marked Lanes violations. The officer observed the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and bloodshot watery eyes. The officer administered field sobriety tests and reportedly observed several clues of intoxication. My client was arrested and refused the breath test.

We pled not guilty and obtained a copy of the prosecutor’s evidence. The evidence showed my client’s marked lanes violations were not egregious, considering it was dark and raining. The cruiser video showed the field sobriety tests were administered in the rain. Although there were technical clues on the tests, my client had good balance and coordination overall. The charge of Marked Lanes was dismissed, and the charge of OVI was reduced to a charge of Reckless Operation.

Third offense DUI/OVI reduced. My client was involved in a two-car accident, and a police officer was dispatched to the accident scene. The officer observed the odor of alcohol and slurred speech, so the officer administered field sobriety tests. The officer arrested my client, and my client’s breath test result was .257. My client was charged with Assured Clear Distance Ahead (ACDA), OVI ‘impaired’, and OVI ‘per se’ (high test). As this was a third offense with a high breath test (.170 or higher), the minimum mandatory jail sentence was 60 days.

In court, we entered a plea of Not Guilty and obtained the evidence for the case. While the case was pending, my client made significant efforts to mitigate the sentence. Based on coercion from the officer regarding the breath test, it appeared the breath test may be excluded. We ultimately resolved the case with a dismissal of the ACDA charge, a dismissal of the OVI ‘impaired’ charge, and a stipulation that the OVI ‘per se’ (high test) charge was a first offense. My client was ordered to serve six days in jail. Three of the days were credited for completing a three-day driver intervention program, so my client only had to serve three days in jail, and we arranged for those days to be served in a private jail rather than the county jail.

Marijuana Possession Dismissed. My client was stopped for a minor traffic violation and subjected to field sobriety tests. Although the officer did not charge my client with OVI, the officer searched my client’s car and seized a small amount of marijuana. The officer’s justification to search the vehicle was questionable. My client was charged with the traffic violation and misdemeanor marijuana possession. Although the offense is a misdemeanor, it carries a mandatory driver’s license suspension. More importantly for my client, a conviction for this offense would be a violation of my client’s probation for a previous drug offense. In court, the charge of marijuana possession was dismissed, and my client pled guilty to the minor traffic violation, so my client was not in violation of probation and did not receive a driver’s license suspension.