2017-Recent Case Results (July-December)
High-Test DUI / OVI Charge Dismissed In Plea Agreement. An officer stopped my client for failing to use a turn signal. The officer noticed the odor of alcohol coming from my client and had my client get out of the vehicle. As my client was getting out, the officer noticed vomit on the side of the vehicle. After administering field sobriety tests, the officer arrested my client, and my client blew .194 on a breath test. My client was charged with high-test OVI ‘per se’, OVI ‘impaired’ and a turn signal violation.
We reviewed the evidence and found a significant legal issue. It was questionable whether the officer was justified in removing my client from the vehicle based only on the failure to signal and the odor of alcohol. We filed a motion to suppress evidence which raised that issue. Rather than litigating the issue, my client chose to accept a plea agreement. As a result, the high-test charge of OVI was dismissed, and my client pled guilty to OVI ‘impaired’, thereby avoiding three days in jail, yellow license plates and an ignition interlock device.
Commercial Pilot’s OVI / DUI Amended. My client, a commercial airline pilot, was pulled over due to a burned-out headlight and no front license plate, as well as a Marked Lanes violation. The officer noticed the usual signs of drinking: odor of alcohol, glassy bloodshot eyes, and slurred speech. The officer administered field sobriety tests and observed several clues on those tests. My client took a breath test, and the result was .116. My client was charged with OVI ‘per se’ (breath), OVI ‘impaired’, as well as the offenses related to the headlight, license plate and marked lanes violations.
As a commercial pilot, my client had a strong desire to avoid an OVI conviction. We contested the case and obtained evidence from the prosecution. The evidence for the charge of OVI ‘impaired’ was not that strong, but the breath test would likely have been admissible for the charge of OVI ‘per se’. The hearing on our motions to suppress evidence was postponed multiple times, which led to an increased willingness on both sides to compromise. The prosecution dismissed the offenses relating to marked lanes, headlights and license plate, as well as one OVI charge. The prosecution also amended the other OVI charge to a charge of Physical Control, and my client plead guilty to that non-moving violation.
Underage DUI / OVI Reduced. My client was 20 years old and was stopped because a drive-thru worker reported to the police my client was drunk. Officers claimed they observed the odor of marijuana coming from my client’s car. They removed my client and the passenger from the car, administered field sobriety tests, and arrested my client. My client took a breath test, and the result was .096. My client was charged with OVI ‘per se’ and OVI ‘impaired’.
There were a few issues with the case. The call to the police was questionable, the claim about marijuana odor was incorrect, and my client looked generally sober on the cruiser video. On the other hand, my client was not legal to consume alcohol. We reached and agreement with the prosecution so one OVI charge was dismissed, and the other was amended to Operating a Vehicle after Underage Consumption (OVUAC).
Records Sealed/Expunged In Old Marijuana Case. My client was charged with a minor marijuana offense several years ago and entered a quick guilty plea. Although the offense was minor, it was still on his record and showed-up any time a background check was done, including at his child’s school. For that reason, he hired me to get the case records sealed/expunged (in Ohio, those terms are used interchangeably). We filed an expungement petition, I appeared in court on his behalf, and the expungement was granted. It did not require extraordinary legal work, but it was very beneficial to my client.
DUI/OVI Charge Reduced Despite Incriminating 911 Recording. A concerned motorist called 911 and reported my client was driving all over the road. The caller stayed on the line and reported every detail of my client’s driving in vivid detail, including some gasps of shock from the caller. An officer stopped my client, administered field sobriety tests, and arrested my client. My client refused a breath test. My client was charged with OVI and given a one-year Administrative License Suspension (ALS) for refusing the breath test.
My client entered a plea of Not Guilty, and we contested the case. Although the traffic stop was justified by the 911 call from an identified motorist, it was questionable whether the continued detention of my client was justified. Rather than litigate that issue, the parties agreed my client would plead guilty to a charge of Physical Control with a six-month license suspension and a Driver Intervention Program.
Driving Under Suspension Charge Dismissed. My client had previously been charged with a felony violation of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide. We took the case to trial, and my client was found Not Guilty of that charge but guilty of a misdemeanor Vehicular Homicide. As part of the sentence, my client’s license was suspended for three years. The judge granted limited driving privileges.
Over a year later, my client was stopped and charged with Driving Under Suspension. The Ohio BMV records erroneously indicated my client’s license was under two different suspensions for the previous case and limited driving privileges were only granted for one suspension. We cleared-up the problem with the BMV record and proved to the prosecutor and judge my client really was not driving under suspension. The prosecutor asked the judge to dismiss the case upon payment of court costs. The judge dismissed the case but did not require payment of court costs.
Assault Case Resolved With Lesser Charge. My client was accused of assaulting the friend of a business associate during a dispute about the business. The ‘victim’ was hospitalized. There were multiple witnesses to the incident, and their accounts of the incident conflicted. We scheduled the case for a trial. On the day of the trial, the prosecution agreed to reduce the Assault charge. My client pled guilty to the reduced charge of Criminal Mischief, admitting he damaged or destroyed the property of another person. This resolution was acceptable to everyone involved in the case.
Charge Reduced In DUI/OVI Case With Very High Urine Test. My client was sleeping in the parking lot of a business, and an employee called 911. Paramedics and police responded to the call. Although the paramedics were going to take my client to the hospital, a police officer intervened, gave my client field sobriety tests, and arrested my client. The officer found a bottle of rum in my client’s car, and most of the rum was gone. My client submitted to a urine test, and the result was .307. A urine alcohol level over .237 is considered a high test, so the mandatory minimum penalties increase.
We investigated the case and found a couple problems of proof. First, the prosecution would be unable to prove the urine sample for the urine test was collected within the three-hour deadline. Second, the prosecution would be unable to prove my client operated the vehicle after consuming the alcohol: my client may have driven to the parking lot and then consumed the alcohol. With those problems of proof, the prosecution agreed to a charge of Physical Control Under The Influence, which seemed like an appropriate resolution (much better than a high-test OVI).
DUI/OVI With Breath Test Amended. My client was stopped for a Marked Lanes violation, and the officer observed the odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. The officer also observed my client fumble through paperwork. The officer had my client get out of the vehicle for field sobriety tests (FSTs). After the FSTs, my client took a portable breath test with a result of .118 and a police station breath test with a result of .108. My client was charged with Marked Lanes, OVI ‘per se’ (breath) and OVI ‘impaired’.
We entered a plea of Not Guilty and obtained discovery. Based on the discovery, it appeared the evidence was week regarding the charge of OVI ‘impaired’. The Marked Lanes violation was minimal, my client’s driving was otherwise good, and much of the intoxication evidence we would expect to see from a drunk driver just wasn’t there. However, the evidence was stronger for the charge of OVI ‘per se’: there did not appear to be any problems with the breath test. We ultimately reached an agreement with the prosecutor, and my client pled guilty to the less serious charge of Physical Control.
Plea Agreement Reached In DUI/OVI Case. My client was stopped for Marked Lanes violations. The violations occurred at a round-a-bout with no traffic. The officer smelled alcohol and saw glassy eyes, so the officer removed my client from the vehicle and administered field sobriety tests. My client was less than friendly, as he felt he had been wrongly detained. The officer arrested my client, and my client refused the breath test. The officer charged my client with Marked Lanes and OVI ‘impaired’.
At my client’s arraignment, we pled Not Guilty and filed a Demand For Discovery. We obtained the discovery, and it showed the officer was justified in detaining my client, but it was unclear whether my client was truly under the influence. A jury trial could have gone either way, so the two sides reached an agreement. The Marked Lanes charge was dismissed, and the OVI charge was reduced to Reckless Operation.
We obtained discovery from the prosecution and provided reciprocal discovery, including my client’s medical records. The records showed my client had Gastro Esophageal Refulux Disease (GERD). GERD is known to affect breath tests. We did not introduce the medical records as evidence, as the case was resolved before going to trial. The prosecution dismissed the charge of Left Of Center, dismissed one charge of OVI, and amended the other charge of OVI to a non-moving traffic violation.
Reduction In High-Speed DUI/OVI Case. My client was stopped for driving 100 mph on the freeway. The officer noticed the usual signs of intoxication and administered field sobriety tests. My client took a breath test, and the result was .164. My client was charged with Speed, OVI ‘impaired’ and OVI ‘per se’ in Columbus, Ohio.
We pled Not Guilty and worked to improve the case outcome. The officer did a poor job of administering the field sobriety tests and completing paperwork related to the breath test. The prosecutor dismissed the charge of Speed and one charge of OVI, and the prosecutor amended the other charge of OVI to a charge of Physical Control on the condition that my client complete a Driver Intervention Program.
DUI/OVI Injury Accident Resolved Favorably. My client missed a turn and hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian was injured. Police officers responded to the scene and encountered my client. The officers noticed my client had unsteady balance, slurred speech, and the odor of alcohol. The officers administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client took a breath test, and the result was .185. As the breath test result was over .170, it was considered a high-test charge requiring increased penalties, including additional days in jail.
We challenged the case and obtained the evidence. There was a disconnect between the breath test result and my client’s appearance on the cruiser video. My client did not look intoxicated. In addition, there was an arguable issue regarding when the arrest took place and whether the arrest was justified. The high test charge of OVI ‘per se’ was dismissed, my client pled guilty to OVI ‘impaired’, and no actual jail term was ordered; only the three-day driver intervention program.
Lesser Charge In High-Test DUI/OVI With Accident. My client struck a fire hydrant, and a witness called the police. When the officers arrived, they concluded my client was obviously under the influence, and they confirmed their conclusion with field sobriety tests. My client took a breath test, and the result was .230. My client was charged with OVI ‘impaired’ and high-test OVI ‘per se’, so my client was facing a mandatory six days in jail, yellow license plates and ignition interlock device.
We entered a plea of Not Guilty. We reviewed the evidence and found two potential problems with the breath test. The officer gave my client improper advice about taking or refusing the breath test, and the breath testing machine did not have the correct time of day. The high-test OVI charge was dismissed, and my client pled guilty to the charge of OVI ‘impaired’, so my client avoided jail, the yellow license plates and the ignition interlock device.
Underage DUI/OVI Amended. My client, 20 years old, was pulled over for failing to use a turn signal. In addition to the odor of alcohol, the officer observed my client had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred her speech and was unable to recite her social security number. The officer administered field sobriety tests and arrested her. A breath test at the police station produced a result of .132.
Our investigation of the facts yielded helpful evidence. My client’s speech was not slurred, and, in her conversation with the officer, she sounded totally sober. The officer mis-advised my client regarding the consequences of taking or refusing the breath test. Despite my client being too young to drink legally, the charge of OVI was amended to a non-moving, no-points charge.