Tag: ohio dui law

What is Snow Law in Ohio?

00Holiday Messages, Ohio Traffic LawTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

English: Trees covered by snow in Boreal, Cali...

Let it snow!

With the return of winter weather, we have received some questions about what constitutes an emergency and under what authority an emergency can be deemed to exist.  We have also counseled clients who wanted to know what law would circumscribe their behavior during a significant weather event.  Here is what we learned:

A county sheriff may, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code sections 311.07 and 311.08, declare an emergency and temporarily close the state roads and municipal streets within his/her jurisdiction when such action is reasonably necessary for the preservation of the public peace. Ohio Attorney General’s Opinion 97-015, issued April 1, 1997, concluded that this authority includes state roads, county and township roads and municipal streets.

Ohio law provides for three levels of emergency classifications.

Emergency Classifications

LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow (the definition may become a matter of dispute if you ever have to challenge this law). Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.

LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be very icy. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. Motorists should use extreme caution.

LEVEL 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roads may subject themselves to arrest.

Ohio Revised Code 2917.13 sets forth the crime of "Misconduct at an Emergency."  Any person who knowingly hampers or fails to obey a lawful order of the sheriff declaring an emergency and temporarily closing highways, roads and/or streets within his/her jurisdiction may be subject to criminal prosecution under Ohio Revised Code Section 2917.13, "Misconduct at an emergency" or other applicable law or ordinance. A violation under that section is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, punishable by a jail sentence not to exceed 30 days and/or a fine not to exceed $250. If the misconduct creates a risk of physical harm to persons or property, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a jail sentence not to exceed 180 days and/or a fine not to exceed $1,000.  Below is the full text of the statute.

ORC 2917.13. Misconduct at emergency.

(A) No person shall knowingly do any of the following:

  • 1. Hamper the lawful operations of any law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescuer, medical person, emergency medical services person, or other authorized person, engaged in the person’s duties at the scene of a fire, accident, disaster, riot or emergency of any kind;
  • 2. Hamper the lawful activities of any emergency facility person who is engaged in the person’s duties in an emergency facility;
  • 3. Fail to obey the lawful order of any law enforcement officer engaged in the law enforcement officer’s duties at the scene of or in connection with a fire, accident, disaster or emergency of any kind.

(B) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit access or deny information to any news media representative in the lawful exercise of the news media representative's duties.

(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of misconduct at an emergency. Except as otherwise provided in this division, misconduct at an emergency is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If a violation of this section creates a risk of physical harm to persons or property, misconduct at an emergency is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(D) As used in this section:

  • 1. "Emergency medical services person" is the singular of "emergency medical services personnel" as defined in section 2133.21 of the Revised Code.
  • 2. "Emergency facility person" is the singular of "emergency facility personnel" as defined in section 2909.04 of the Revised Code.
  • 3. "Emergency facility" has the same meaning as in section 2909.04 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 03-22-2004

To view the state’s weather-related road closures and restrictions, visit the Ohio Department of Transportation’s traffic Web site at www.buckeyetraffic.org.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Springboro, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI (and clean up snow)”

Arrested for OVI? Should You Blow?

00Breath Testing, Illegal Police StopsTags: , , , , , , , , ,

should i blowWhen you are stopped on suspicion of DUI the question becomes - "Should I Blow?" Unfortunately, the answer is "maybe" and involves a very complicated investigation of the facts of your case and your personal history. You should NEVER refuse the test without understanding how a refusal would affect YOU. No attorney can know all of the circumstances of your arrest and your personal history, always ask to speak to an attorney when making this decision.

Can you answer "TRUE" to ALL of the following questions? If so, you can politely DECLINE any police test(s) of your blood, breath, or urine with minimum impact. Be prepared and know your rights.

  • I am an Ohio license holder, 21 years or older; AND
  • I was not involved in an accident involving possible death or to serious injury to ANYBODY, even members of my family, pedestrians or passengers; AND
  • I do not have a commercial driver's license (CDL); AND
  • No matter where I currently have a license to drive, I have hadno prior drunk driving convictionsor deferred pleas for DUI in ANY state within 6 years (from the date of conviction until now).

Refusing a chemical test can result in harsh penalties which includes a one-year license suspension and a longer period of time before you can get driving privileges.   Your attorney can fight to get this reduced. In some courts your refusal may be held strictly against you and in others you may be able to get a reduced suspension despite your refusal. In State v. Hill, 2009-Ohio-2468, the Appellate Court upheld the right of a trial court to enhance a penalty based on a refusal to take the chemical test. In most circumstances, a refusal to take a chemical test will result in a longer hard-time suspension (30 days rather than 15 days without any driving privileges). [see the Automatic License Suspension section of this blog]. You should also engage in an honest assessment of your alcohol consumption. If you risk testing over Ohio's "super-OVI" threshold (over a .17% BAC) you may do harm by taking the test. Take these factors into account when making your decision to blow or not to blow.

Should I blow, Now you know! Any criminal defense attorney would rather have less evidence against you rather than more, but giving blanket advice to refuse the chemical test is a mistake. Be prepared to make the best decision for you. You can also plan ahead by storing my contact information in your smart phone: (937)776-2671.

Driving Is A Right – Not A Privilege!

00DUI & Driving Privileges, Ohio BMV IssuesTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Driving Is A Right - Not A Privilege!

driving is a rightHave you ever been told that "driving is a privilege?" Bah! This author argues that case law needs to be expanded to include “driving” as a fundamental right under the First Amendment’s Freedom of Assembly. Thus, the analysis should be under the substantive due process analysis not simply under the procedural due process analysis.

Because the human rights of freedom of movement, right to earn a living and the right to peaceably assemble are only capable of being maintained with a valid driver’s license, the Court should require a more rigorous standard before depriving someone of this basic right. Driving is a right because the right to drive is a fundamental right that is deeply rooted in American history and tradition. Why is it important to establish driving as a fundamental right? Where the right is not a fundamental right, the court applies a rational basis test: if the violation of the right can be rationally related to a legitimate government purpose, then the law is held valid. If the court establishes that the right being violated is a fundamental right, it applies strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny asks whether the law is justified by a compelling state interest, and whether the law is narrowly tailored to address the state interest.

I base this claim on cases decided in the United States Supreme Court. DUI case law analysis at the United States Supreme Court provides that driving is not “just” a privilege as alleged and assumed by most Ohioans. You may have heard the expression that a driver’s license is “a privilege — not a right”, and thus there were few effective remedies available to a driver who wished to contest a suspension. The U.S. Supreme Court changed that in Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535 (1971), recognizing that a license’s “continued possession may become essential in the pursuit of a livelihood”. Because of their value, then, they “are not to be taken away without that procedural due process required by the Fourteenth Amendment”. The Court premised its opinion on the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protections that neither the State or Federal government can deprive a person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Without this decision it is likely that the police would confiscate your license without any recourse in or appeal. See also, Mackey v. Montrym (1979) 443 U.S. 1, involving a license suspension for refusing to submit to a DUI breath test. But they need to go further.

To understand why driving is a right in light of DUI case law, it is important to understand how the United States Supreme Court analyzes due process issues. “The Supreme Court has identified two distinct categories of fundamental liberties. The first category includes most of the liberties expressly enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Through a process known as “selective incorporation,” the Supreme Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to bar states from denying their residents the most important freedoms guaranteed in the first ten amendments to the federal Constitution. Only the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the Third Amendment right against involuntary quartering of soldiers, and the Fifth Amendment right to be indicted by a grand jury have not been made applicable to the states. Because these rights remain inapplicable to state governments, the Supreme Court is said to have “selectively incorporated” the Bill of Rights into the Due Process Clause.

The second category of fundamental liberties includes those liberties that are not expressly enumerated in the Bill of Rights but which are nonetheless deemed essential to the concepts of freedom and equality in a democratic society. These unenumerated liberties are derived from Supreme Court precedents, common law, moral philosophy, and deeply rooted traditions of U.S. Legal History. The word liberty cannot be defined by a definitive list of rights, the Supreme Court has stressed. Instead, it must be viewed as a rational continuum of freedom through which every facet of human behavior is safeguarded from Arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints. In this light, the Supreme Court has observed, the Due Process Clause protects abstract liberty interests, including the right to personal autonomy, bodily integrity, self-dignity, and self-determination. Id. Let's get driving, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly to be included as a fundamental liberty.

Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

“All I do is DUI defense.”

For more info on the argument that driving is a right not a privilege, check these city-specific sites at the following links:

Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield,Kettering,Vandalia,XeniaMiamisburg,Huber HeightsSpringboroOakwood,Beavercreek, Centerville

Why The ALS Suspension Is Unconstitutional

00DUI & ALS Suspensions, DUI Case LawTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ALS SuspensionWe are often asked how the arresting officer is authorized to take a persons' license under the ALS suspension, and whether or not this is constitutional.  The dilemma presented by Ohio DUI Law is this: If I am innocent until proven guilty, how can they punish me by immediately taking my license when I am accused of DUI?  This site takes the position that the current law is unconstitutional.  But before we jump into the argument, it is important to understand how the current law works.

If you are stopped for an OVI, DUI or drunk driving and you refuse to take a chemical test (breathblood or urine), or if your test results exceed the legal limit of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), the police officer can and will take your driver’s license on the spot causing your drivers license to be suspended immediately.  This pre-conviction suspension is called the ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION. The ALS suspension is a suspension imposed by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and not a suspension imposed by the court, but a penalty imposed under civil/administrative law.  For constitutional purposes, the entirety of the ALS scheme depends on the penalty being construed as a civil penalty.

Dept. of Revenue of Mont. v. Kurth Ranch

The United States Supreme Court has addressed a very similar distinction between a civil penalty and a criminal penalty in Department of Revenue of Mont. v. Kurth Ranch, 511 U.S. 767 (1994).  In this case, the Defendant was both tried for selling marijuana — and then charged civilly for a failure to pay a tax on that marijuana. The Supreme Court held that it was a violation of the Constitutional prohibition against Double Jeopardy: The fact that one proceeding was criminal and the other civil did not matter, the Court said, as long as they both involved the same offense and both were intended as punishment.

United States v. Halper

The Kurth Ranch decision upheld a previous ruling in United States v. Halper, 490 US 435 (1989) the United State Supreme Court addressed a civil penalty being used as a punishment.  In this case, Irwin Halper, the manager of a company that provided medical services to patients eligible for Medicare benefits, was charged and convicted in criminal court of submitting 65 separate false Medicare claims. He was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $5,000. This was the criminal penalty.

The United States then brought additional civil charges under the False Claims Act, which authorized it to collect $2000 for each offense in addition to attorney's fees and twice the damages sustained. In this case the actual damages were just $585, but because of the number of offenses the total penalty was more than $130,000. The District Court, however, ruled that the penalty was "entirely unrelated" to the government's actual damages and would therefore be a second punishment for the same offense, violating the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The penalty was therefore limited to double the amount of actual damages and attorney's fees. The government appealed the decision directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Quoted from Oyez HERE.

Justice Harry Blackmun, on behalf of a unanimous Supreme Court, wrote that while previous cases had held penalties under the Act to be civil in nature, that did not foreclose the possibility of the penalty being so extreme and so unrelated to the actual damages as to constitute "punishment." Because Halper had already been jailed and fined, additional punishment in a separate proceeding would violate the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Court remanded the case to the District Court so that the government could challenge the original assessment of its attorney's fees.

So: The ALS Suspension Is Unconstitutional, Right?

 

These cases have repeatedly been cited in DUI cases as authority for the proposition that the State cannot both criminally prosecute for driving with over .08% blood alcohol and civilly suspend the individual's driver's license for the same offense. Although there have been federal court decisions taking this position, to date state courts have not accepted this reasoning and the U.S. Supreme Court has not addressed the issue in a drunk driving context.

As regular readers of this blog know, I am always looking for a way to change the most harsh and unreasonable aspects of DUI law that hurt innocent people.  There is no "penalty" more severe than immediately losing your license and having to scramble to arrange to put your life back together.  I hope to be in a position to challenge the constitutionality of the Ohio ALS scheme.

Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

“All I do is DUI defense.”

For more info on the ALS suspension, check these city-specific sites at the following links:

Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield,Kettering,Vandalia,XeniaMiamisburg,Huber HeightsSpringboroOakwood,Beavercreek, Centerville

Police Do Not Need To Know Law To Enforce It – Heien v. North Carolina

00DUI Case LawTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Heien v. North CarolinaNo. 13–604. Argued October 6, 2014—Decided December 15, 2014 ; another case giving police more power to stop and arrest and another body blow to the Fourth Amendment.

Heien v. North Carolina

In 2009, Nicholas Heien and a friend were traveling on a highway in North Carolina when they were stopped for having a broken tail light. Subsequently, a search of the car found a plastic bag containing cocaine. Where this case takes a turn is when we learn that the police had no legal right to stop the car because, under North Carolina law, having a single broken tail light is not an offense.  The police officer was ignorant of the law.

The defense argued that just as ordinary citizens cannot claim ignorance of the law as a defense, police can't either, and because the traffic stop was illegal, the evidence from the search that followed should not have been permitted in evidence against him.

The United States Supreme Court disagreed. By an 8-1 vote, ruled that since the officer's mistake was reasonable, it did not violate the constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The maxim "ignorance of the law is no excuse," does not apply here, Chief Justice Roberts maintained, because Heien "is not appealing a brake light ticket; he is appealing a cocaine-trafficking conviction as to which there is no asserted mistake of fact or law."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter.  She focused her concern on giving police a further ability to abuse their power. Traffic stops can be "annoying, frightening, and perhaps humiliating," she observed. And permitting stops based on a mistaken reading of the law has "human consequences for communities and their relationships with the police." The perverse effect of permitting police to go ahead with a mistaken reading of the law, she wrote, is to prevent or delay clarification of the law so that doubt continues to exist in the minds of the public or police about what is and is not legal.

Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

“All I do is DUI defense.”

For more info case law like Heien v. North Carolina, check these city-specific sites at the following links:

Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering,Vandalia,Xenia,Miamisburg, Huber Heights,Springboro,Oakwood,Beavercreek, Centerville