Recent Case Results
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 which may be achieved in your case because the facts of every case are unique.
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.
Second DUI/OVI Reduced. My client was pulled over for speeding, and the officer noticed the odor of alcohol on my client’s breath. The officer also noticed red sauce spilled on my client’s clothing. The officer got my client out of the car and administered field sobriety tests. The officer also administered a portable breath test, and the result was .198. The officer arrested my client, and my client refused the breath test. My client had a prior conviction for OVI.
We contested the case and obtained discovery. The cruiser video revealed the measurement of my client’s speed was questionable. The video also showed the field sobriety tests were scored incorrectly. In court, the speed charge was dismissed, and the OVI charge was reduced to Reckless Operation.
DUI/OVI Reduced In Case With Accident And Breath Test. Callers reported to police my client was involved in an accident, and his truck was disabled on a freeway exit ramp. Officers encountered my client and observed signs of intoxication. The officers administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client submitted to a breath test, and the result was .169. My client was charged with O.V.I. ‘per se’, O.V.I. ‘impaired’ and Failure To Control.
We pled Not Guilty and obtained discovery from the prosecutor’s office. The discovery materials revealed the prosecution could not prove the breath test was conducted within the time limit established by Ohio law. The circumstances surrounding the field sobriety tests resulted in the tests having little value. With those problems of proof, the prosecution dismissed the charges of Failure To Control and O.V.I. ‘per se’ and amended the charge of O.V.I. ‘impaired’ to a no-points charge of Physical Control.
Underage Alcohol Consumption Case Dismissed. My client was a college student. He was on the campus of the Ohio State University and obviously intoxicated when he encountered police officers. The officers determined my client was under 21 and charged him with Underage Alcohol Consumption (also known in Ohio as ‘Prohibition’ and ‘Offenses Concerning Underage Persons’). We requested diversion, and my client met the criteria. My client completed the program, and the case was dismissed. My client will soon have the case records sealed (expunged).
Misdemeanor Theft Offense Dismissed. My client was apprehended for shoplifting at a department store. My client completed the shoplifting diversion program, and the case was completely dismissed. My client is now eligible for an expungement (record sealing), so it will be almost as though the incident never occurred.
Charges Amended For Client Multiple DUI / OVI Offenses. Before this incident my client had multiple prior convictions: two DUI/OVI convictions and two additional alcohol-related traffic offenses. This incident involved my client being pulled over for a speeding offense and having the odor of alcohol on his breath. The officer also claimed my client’s speech was slurred. The officer administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client consented to a breath test, and the result was .109. My client was charged with OVI ‘per se’ (breath), OVI ‘impaired’, and Speeding.
We obtained discovery from the prosecution, and it was generally favorable to my client. Although there were technical ‘clues’ on the field sobriety tests, my client did not look obviously intoxicated on the cruiser video. Given the timing of the breath test, it was possible my client was over .080 at the time he took the test but under .080 at the time he actually operated the vehicle. Despite his multiple convictions, the prosecution dismissed the Speeding charge, dismissed one OVI charge, and amended the other OVI charge to a charge of Physical Control of a Vehicle Under the Influence.
Favorable Plea Bargain In DUI / OVI With 'Invalid Sample' Breath Test. My client was visiting central Ohio from another state when stopped for minor traffic violations. After the stop, the officers observed common signs of alcohol use. My client performed field sobriety tests and did pretty well on the tests. My client took a breath test, and the result was .108. My client was charged with OVI ‘per se’ (breath) an OVI ‘impaired’.
We pled Not Guilty and investigated the case. It turned out there were actually two breath tests. The first test resulted in an ‘invalid sample’, and the officer did not wait long enough before administering the second test. That means the result of the second test may have been falsely elevated by alcohol from my client’s mouth (he had dentures) being added to the alcohol from my client’s lungs. The case could have resulted in a Not Guilty verdict if taken to trial, but my client was from out-of-state and chose to limit the inconvenience of the process by resolving the case with a satisfactory plea bargain.
Reduction In DUI / OVI With Double-The-Limit Breath Test. An officer observed my client drive erratically and make an abrupt turn without a turn signal. The officer stopped my client and observed signs of alcohol intoxication. The officer administered field sobriety tests, and my client performed them well in high heels. The officer arrested my client, and my client submitted to a breath test. The breath test result was .163: twice the ‘legal limit’. The officer charged my client with OVI ‘per se’ (breath) and OVI ‘impaired’.
We contested the charge and found a disconnect between the breath test result and what we saw on the cruiser video. With a breath test of .163, we would expect to see certain evidence of intoxication. Most of the expected clues were not present. My client’s balance and coordination was good, my client’s speech was not slurred, and my client’s mental processing was not impaired. The erratic driving an sudden turn without signaling were explained my client being from out-of-town and following voice instructions from a GPS system. Ultimately, one charge of OVI was dismissed, and the other charge of OVI was amended to a charge of Reckless Operation.
Charge Amended In Unusual DUI / OVI Case. Officers received about a suspicious person in a parking lot. Officers ultimately located my client in another parking lot, outside his vehicle. He and his vehicle matched the description in the earlier dispatch. The officer observed signs of intoxication and talked with my client about field sobriety tests. They talked extensively, but my client didn’t ever consent or refuse to perform the tests. The officers grabbed my client and placed him under arrest. My client refused a breath test. My client was charged with OVI. It was his first offense within six years, but he had a prior OVI conviction older than six years (the lookback period is now ten years).
We contested the OVI charge. The evidence showed it was debatable whether the officers had justification to arrest my client. It was also questionable whether the evidence would prove my client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The charge of OVI was amended to a non-moving no-points offense with no jail term, and the one-year driver license suspension was replaced with a six-month suspension.
Third DUI / OVI Charge Reduced. My client had multiple OVI convictions. He had one conviction within the last six years and one conviction outside the (then) six-year lookback period. He was also driving with a suspended license when he was pulled over. He was pulled over for making a wide turn onto Polaris Parkway (near the border of in the city of Columbus but still in Delaware County). The officer observed the strong odor of alcohol coming from my client and asked my client to perform field sobriety tests. My client declined those tests and also declined a breath test. He was charged with OVI and Test Refusal With Prior Conviction. He was facing a minimum of 20 days in jail and other mandatory penalties for a second OVI offense in six years.
We entered a plea of Not Guilty and obtained discovery from the prosecuting attorney. The discovery included the cruiser video, which was generally favorable to my client. Although he refused the tests, the video showed he did so politely. His speech did not sound slurred, and he seemed totally coherent. Faced with the reality a jury may find my client not guilty, the case was resolved with a guilty plea to Reckless Operation and a sentence which included probation but no jail time and no license suspension.
Shoplifting Case Dismissed. My client was charged with Theft as a result of a shoplifting incident at a local department store. We requested a diversion screening, and my client met the criteria. The case was dismissed, and the records for the case will soon be sealed (expunged).
Client With Prior DUI / OVI Conviction Gets Charge Reduced. My client was pulled over for speeding on the freeway, and the officer observed signs of intoxication. The officer administered the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test but did not administer the other standardized field sobriety tests because my client had problems with his knees and ankles. The officer arrested my client and charged him with OVI. My client had a prior DUI/OVI conviction outside of six years.
We contested the case and obtained the evidence. The cruiser video was more favorable to my client than the prosecution. Although there were some signs of intoxication, the totality of the circumstances left doubt about whether my client was under the influence. Despite my client’s prior DUI/OVI conviction, the prosecution reduced the OVI to Reckless Operation to avoid a trial. Avoiding a trial was also on my client’s mind. Although my client felt good about the case, he concluded trial outcomes are not guaranteed, and he chose the guaranteed outcome of a Reckless Operation rather than an OVI.
Not Guilty Verdict In DUI / OVI Trial With Breath AND Urine Tests. My client was pulled over because one of his headlights was not working. The officer administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. The officer administered a breath test, and the result was .069. The officer suspected my client had smoked marijuana, so the officer had my client submit a urine sample. The urine test showed no marijuana metabolite but also showed a urine alcohol level of .138. My client was charged with two counts of OVI ‘per se’: one count based on the breath test, and one count based on the urine test.
At the trial, the prosecution went forward only on the charge based on the urine test. The prosecutor essentially told the jurors to ignore the result of the breath test and convict my client of OVI because the urine test was over the limit. The prosecutor’s ‘expert’ witness, however, undermined the prosecution’s case. The ‘expert’ testified that a urine test may show a higher alcohol level than simultaneous blood and breath tests if the subject has not urinated recently. My client had not urinated recently. Therefore, it seemed likely the breath test was a more accurate measurement of my client’s alcohol level at the time he operated the vehicle. The jurors understood this and found my client Not Guilty.
*More details about this case are available in this blog post.
Questionable Stop Leads To Reduction In Repeat DUI / OVI Offense. A motorist called 911 and reported my client was driving all over road on I-71. An officer followed my client and made a traffic stop. The officer observed the usual signs of alcohol consumption: odor of alcohol, glass/bloodshot eyes, and slurred speech. My client performed field sobriety tests and blew .159 on a breath test. My client was charged with OVI and already had two prior OVI convictions: one within six years and one older than six years.
We pled not guilty and obtained discovery from the prosecuting attorney. The cruiser video revealed the officer did not observe any traffic violations before making the traffic stop. The written materials revealed the identity of the 911 caller was unknown. We filed a motion to suppress all evidence obtained after the traffic stop on the basis the traffic stop was not justified. Without the testimony of the anonymous 911 caller, it was likely the judge would grant our motion. Rather than having a hearing on the motion, the prosecutor reduced the OVI to Reckless Operation, despite my client’s prior convictions.
Charge Reduced In DUI / OVI With Accident. My client backed into another car in the parking lot of a bar. Officers came to the scene and talked with the other driver first, who said my client was under the influence. An officer administered field sobriety tests and arrested my client. My client refused the breath test. My client was charged with OVI and Backing Without Safety.
We entered a plea of Not Guilty and filed motions to suppress evidence. The judge held a hearing on our motions and ruled against us on every issue. The ruling gave us a couple good issues for appeal. Rather than going through an appeal, the parties reached an agreement. The charge of Backing Without Safety was dismissed, and the charge of OVI was amended to a non-moving / no-points offense.
Diversion Granted In Marijuana Possession Case. My client was stopped because his headlights were not on. During the stop, the officer saw marijuana paraphernalia in plain view, and my client admitted having both paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana. My client was charged with both offenses in a mayor’s court. Although most courts have some type of diversion program for these types of case, this particular mayor’s court did not. When the court personnel realized we were going to exercise my client’s right to appeal the case to the municipal court, the case was transferred without us having to appeal. In the municipal court, my client was granted diversion. After he completes the requirements of the diversion program (substance abuse education, etc.), the case will be dismissed, and my client will be eligible to have the case records sealed.