Tag Archives: ohio dui law

DUI Law: What Did SCOTUS Say In Missouri v. McNeely

dui lawIf you have been following developments in DUI law, you have no doubt heard about the United States Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S.Ct. 1552 (2013).  The case deals with when, and under what circumstances the government is required to seek a warrant prior to drawing blood from a suspected DUI offender. Below is a quote from the case which provides a reasonable (and short) analysis of the case.  If you want to read the full opinion please click on the case name above.

In Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 86 S.Ct. 1826, 16 L.Ed.2d 908 (1966), this Court upheld a warrantless blood test of an individual arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol because the officer “might reasonably have believed that he was confronted with an emergency, in which the delay necessary to obtain a warrant, under the circumstances, threatened the destruction of evidence.” Id., at 770, 86 S.Ct. 1826 (internal quotation marks omitted). The question presented here is whether the natural metabolization of alcohol in the bloodstream presents a per seexigency that justifies an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement for nonconsensual blood testing in all drunk-driving cases. We conclude that it does not, and we hold, consistent with general Fourth Amendment principles, that exigency in this context must be determined case by case based on the totality of the circumstances.

Attorney 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 and DUI law 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.  Email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

For more information on DUI law check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDayton DUI LawSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

Ohio DUI Law R.C 4511.19(A)(2) “a codified dilema”

ohio dui law

Ohio DUI law R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) enhances the penalty for a motorist who, having been convicted once in the last six (6) years, after having been arrested, refuses to take a blood, breath or urine test.  In State v. Hoover,173 Ohio App.3d 487, 2007-Ohio-5773, the issue of whether or not a person can have a DUI sentence enhanced pursuant to R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) for refusing to take a chemical test was before the Ohio Supreme Court.  The government sought to have the sentence of Corey Hoover enhanced from the ten (10) day mandatory penalty for a second time DUI offender in Ohio to twenty (20) days because he refused to take a breath test.  “The issue here is whether the state can criminalize a person’s failure to consent to a warrantless search, or in other words, to force a consent to search through the coercive power of threatened jail time. Although consent is implied by R.C. 4511.191, consent can be withdrawn. …  Imposing criminal sanctions for failure to consent goes far beyond the state’s power … to regulate the licensure of drivers. Id.

The defendant argued that “ he has a constitutional right to revoke his implied consent and that being forced by threat of punishment to submit to a chemical test violates his rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 14 of the Ohio Constitution, which provide that persons, houses, and effects are protected against unreasonable search and seizure.”  Justice Lanzinger emphasized that R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) does not make refusal to take a chemical test a criminal offense. “The activity prohibited under R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person’s refusal to take a chemical test is simply an additional element that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt along with the person’s previous DUI conviction to distinguish the offense from a violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a). Id.  The majority opinion was joined by Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Maureen O’Connor and Robert R. Cupp.

Justice Paul E. Pfeifer entered a dissenting opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer and Justice Terrence O’Donnell. Justice Pfeifer wrote that today’s majority holding diverges from previous court decisions which have upheld only the imposition of administrative penalties against DUI defendants for refusing to submit to chemical testing.

“R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) veers from the traditional administrative punishment for refusal to consent to a chemical test upon an arrest for DUI and goes down a separate path, beyond the regulation of licensing; for certain DUI arrestees, R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) criminalizes the refusal to take a chemical test. This court’s previous jurisprudence regarding sanctions for a DUI defendant’s failure to consent to chemical tests have all involved license suspensions. … This court has previously answered the question whether a person can face criminal sanctions for failure to consent to a search.  In Wilson v. Cincinnati (1976) … this court held that that the Fourth Amendment prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties upon a person who refuses to submit to a warrantless search.”

“The issue here is whether the state can criminalize a person’s failure to consent to a warrantless search, or in other words, to force a consent to search through the coercive power of threatened jail time. Although consent is implied by R.C. 4511.191, consent can be withdrawn. …  Imposing criminal sanctions for failure to consent goes far beyond the state’s power … to regulate the licensure of drivers. As in Wilson, the statute at issue herein imposes a codified dilemma – consent to a warrantless search or face the possibility of a criminal penalty – and thus amounts to coercion. R.C. 4511.19(A)(2) therefore violates defendants’ rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 14, Article I of the Ohio Constitution.”

This important DUI decision has withstood challenge, so far.  This author posits what impact the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely133 S.Ct. 1552 (2013) regarding the State to obtain a warrant prior to a forced blood draw will have on this decision and other Ohio DUI law issues.  The “codified dilema” as Justice Pfeifer called this matter will have to be relitigated in cases where the State decides not to seek a warrant and also attempts to “enhance” the sentence.

Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He knows Ohio DUI law and 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.  Email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

For more information on Ohio DUI law  check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

First Offense Kettering OVI – What Is Going To Happen To Me?

Kettering OVIfirst offense Kettering OVI is defined at O.R.C. 4511.19 as a DUI with no priors within 6 years.  A first offense OVI can be charged in three ways.  The first charge is caused by testing over the legal limit of .08% B.A.C. (example O.R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(d)).  These types of offenses are also referred to as “per se”  violations.  A second way to be charged is for violating the high-tier provision of Ohio’s OVI law.  Ohio has also created a per se “high-tier” limit of .17% BrAC, sometimes referred to as a SUPER-OVI.  The per se high-tier limits for a first offense OVI are set forth at O.R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)

         (f) The person has a concentration of seventeen-hundredths of one per cent or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s whole blood.

         (g) The person has a concentration of two hundred four-thousandths of one per cent or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s blood serum or plasma.

         (h) The person has a concentration of seventeen-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person’s breath.

         (i) The person has a concentration of two hundred thirty-eight-thousandths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of the person’s urine.

Appreciable Impairment Offenses:  If you refuse to take a chemical test, the State will still be able to prove you guilty of a first offense Kettering OVI if they prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that you  operated a motor vehicle in Ohio after having consumed some alcohol, drugs of abuse, or a combination of the two and their ability to operate the motor vehicle was appreciably impaired.  How does a jury determine “under the influence?”  The following is an excerpt from the Ohio Jury Instructions:

“Under the influence” means that the defendant consumed some (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (combination of alcohol and a drug of abuse), whether mild or potent, in such a quantity, whether small or great, that it adversely affected and noticeably impaired the defendant’s actions, reaction, or mental processes under the circumstances then existing and deprived the defendant of that clearness of intellect and control of himself/herself which he/she would otherwise have possessed. The question is not how much (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (alcohol and a drug of abuse) would affect an ordinary person.

The question is what effect did any (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (alcohol and a drug of abuse), consumed by the defendant, have on him/her at the time and place involved. If the consumption of (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (alcohol and a drug of abuse) so affected the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the defendant so as to impair, to a noticeable degree, his/her ability to operate the vehicle, then the defendant was under the influence. The Ohio jury Instruction cites language from State v. Hardy (1971), 28 Ohio St.2d 89, 57 O.O.2d 284, 276 N.E.2d 247; and State v. Steele (1952), 95 Ohio App. 107, 52 O.O. 488, 117 N.E.2d 617.

The “appreciable impairment offense” is set forth at Ohio Revised Code 4511.19(A)(1)(a) which states,

(A)(1) No person shall operate any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley within this state, if, at the time of the operation, any of the following apply:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.

At DaytonDUI we refer to the (A)(1)(a), appreciable impairment offense as the OTIS standard, derived from the popular OTIS character featured on the classic Andy Griffith program.  OTIS was the stereotypical town drunk who often found himself in the Mayberry jail.  OTIS was obviously intoxicated based on how he looked, walked, acted and talked.  Viewers had no doubt that he was intoxicated.  Law enforcement will  attempt to prove impairment with the same evidence we use to judge OTIS.

Why Was I Charged With Two OVI Offenses?  Often, the arresting law enforcement officer will charge both the per seand appreciable impairment cases, knowing that you cannot be convicted of both.  In essence, the officer is hedging his bets, hoping that if your test is found to be faulty you can still be found guilty of being impaired.  At your trial or sentencing hearing, your conviction will either be for the per se or appreciable impairment charge.  Your DUI attorney will help you understand the pros and cons of any plea agreement and empower you to make choices that will benefit you on a short-term and long-term basis.  Choosing the best OVI attorney for your case is the most important decision that you can make and should not be rushed or taken lightly.

First Offense OVI Felony Offenses: If your first offense Kettering DUI involves the death or serious physical harm to another, you may face felony charges.  Aggravated Vehicular Homicide is a crime that results from the death of another caused by the defendant’s operating a vehicle while impaired (a violation of R.C. 4511.19)  or while driving negligently or recklessly.  The statute  encompasses driving an automobile recklessly or negligently (called Vehicular homicide) whether or not alcohol played a part in the death.  Aggravated Vehicular Assault is the crime of causing serious physical harm to a person while violating Ohio’s drunk driving statute.

A First Offense OVI Based On Drug Use:  You can also be charged with a per se offense based on the concentration of illicit drugs in your system.  To be convicted of a per se offense, the state must prove that a person operated a motor vehicle in Ohio and that at the time of operation, the person had a prohibited concentration of alcohol or drugs in their blood, breath or urine.  Your Kettering DUI attorney will devise defenses particular to the specific evidential test you took.  The admissibility of the results of these tests are dependant upon the arresting agency’s and testing organization’s compliance with the rules of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) as adopted and approved by the Ohio Department of Health.  At DaytonDUI, we know how to defend a breath test case and employ sophisticated scientific defenses to win your DUI case.  An oft’ quoted maxim that you should know is, “An arrest is not a conviction.”

First Offense OVI Penalties:  The following penalties are reserved for first offense DUI offenders.  Obviously, it is in your interests to hire counsel who can assess your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your case.  Be sure to discuss not only the mitigating factors that your attorney should know, but the not-so-good aspects of your case.  Judges have discretion to look at many factors in fashioning a remedy and your attorney should be able to give you an idea of how to approach your case so as to minimize any potential penalties.  Here are the range of possible penalties for a first offense DUI.

Jail – 3 Days Minimum up to 6 Months or,

Driver Intervention Program – For 3 Days

Jail – 6 Days (If Blood Alcohol Concentration .17 or Above)

License Suspension – From 6 Months to 3 Years

Reinstatement Fee – $475.00

Fine – From $375 to $1,075

Party Plates (Ohio’s Scarlet Letter)

When are yellow DUI plates required?  If you are convicted of OVI in Ohio, yellow “restricted plates” are required in certain circumstances.

If you are convicted of OVI as a first offense, the judge has discretion to order restricted plates as a condition of granting you limited driving privileges.

If you are placed under and administrative license suspension, a judge has discretion to order restricted plates as a condition of granting limited driving privileges.

Is an Interlock Ignition Device Mandatory?

The device is not mandatory on a first offense OVI in Ohio.  Judges have discretion to require the ignition interlock device on first offenses, but on subsequent offenses the IID is mandatory.  It is important to speak with an experienced DUI attorney who is familiar with the Court/judge presiding over your case to get an idea of whether or not you will likely receive an ignition interlock device on a first offense.  Be sure to talk with your attorney about aggravating factors in your case.  Be aware that MADD is pushing for the requirement that all first-time DUI offenders must use an ignition interlock device in order to get the car to start.  MADD is seeking to implement this mandate in the same way it coerced the states’ into adoption of a .08 alcohol standard, which is to tie the ignition interlock to receiving highway funds.  The language stipulates that if states want about 5 percent of their regularly allocated safety money, they must enact a law that requires first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device if they want to continue driving.  By seeking implementation in this way, MADD can avoid fights in more driver-friendly state legislatures.  Given the long history of pandering to MADD, this commentator is not hopeful of a pro-driver outcome.

Immobilization

If you do not have a prior OVI offense getting your car back is relatively easy as Ohio DUI law does not authorize immobilization as a penalty for a first offense.  Here are the steps you should take to get your car back.

Locate the proper tow lot;

Gather enough cash (or other proper payment) to pay towing and storage fees;

Gather proof of ownership; and

If you were placed under and Administrative License Suspension, get a licensed driver to drive your car from the impound lot.

If you have trouble with ANY of the items above, contact DaytonDUI and we will help get your car back.  We have even gone as far as having our staff drive to the tow lot on our client’s behalf.  It is to your advantage to move quickly in order to save storage fees.

What does a first offense DUI defense cost?  We encounter many people who want a rational, economic justification for hiring an OVI attorney on a first offense OVI.  The only study I could find on this topic was a 2006 Texas Department of Transportation study which calculated the costs of a drunk driving conviction “in that state showed the total costs of a DWI arrest and conviction for a first-time offender with no accident involved would range from $9,000 to $24,000.” [source]  In a story from CNBC citing that study, they speculate that total costs, absent you losing your job, could range as high as $20,000.  While projecting costs without knowing your particular circumstance is wildly speculative, here are some of the expenses you may realize:

  •          Fines.
  •          Court costs.
  •          Attorney fees.
  •          Bail.
  •          Loss of job.
  •          DUI “school.”
  •          Temporary loss of income.
  •          Car towing, impounding.
  •          Alternate transportation costs.
  •          Car ignition interlock device.
  •          Periodic blood testing.
  •          Monthly monitoring fees.
  •          Cost of incarceration.
  •          Increased auto insurance premiums

Obviously, if you were to lose your job and/or your career because of an Kettering OVI conviction, the lifetime costs skyrocket.  Insurance premiums, damages caused by personal injury or costs of restitution for property damages also cause the costs to climb.  Some of the expenses highlighted above can take years to come to fruition and the lingering effects of having a drunk driving conviction may be with you for life.  The good news is that a good DUI attorney can significantly curb the financial detriments incurred in a DUI case.  While predicting what an attorney can save you is just as wildly speculative as predicting costs, it is common for many of the costs to be subject to negotiation and/or reduction.  A reduction of the charge will not only lower the possible maximum fines, but can also get rid of ugly mandatory punishments required by Ohio’s OVI statute. O.R.C. 4511.19.  The best way to explore how much a vigorous DUI defense will costs in your case, contact Charles M. Rowland for a free consultation.

Attorney 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.”

To schedule a free Kettering OVI consultation contact me, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg, Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

Judges Express Concerns Over Ignition Interlock Implementation

2004 model of an ignition-interlock breath ana...

As Ohio is contemplating “Annie’s Law” which would require Ignition Interlock Devices for every first-time OVI offender, it is important to look at how implementation went in other states.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a report on Arizona’s adoption of the law. DOT HS 812 025, Ignition Interlock: An Investigation into Rural Arizona Judges’ Perceptions, Fred Cheesman, Matthew Kleiman, Cynthia G. Lee, and Kathryn Holt (May, 2014).   In 2007, Arizona became the second state in the nation to require all first-time drunk driving offenders to equip their vehicles with ignition interlock devices. The first was Arizona’s neighbor New Mexico, which implemented a one-year interlock requirement for first-time offenders in 2005.

First some context on the timing of the Arizona law.  What we find in this report is that the ignition interlock implementation was started in the middle of a downward trend.  “There is also a decreasing trend in the percent of these fatalities that were alcohol-related (BAC of .01 and higher). The trend is obvious from the first data point in 1982 to the last in 2010, when the percentage dropped from 58% to 42% respectively. The trend began well before the legislation was implemented in 2007.” Id. at 4-5.   A similar trend can also be noted for alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (i.e., fatalities wherein the driver had a BAC of .08 or higher), for which the percentage dropped from 52% in 1982 to 36% in 2010.  This provides a context for the claims of the interlock proponents who use these statistics in a deceptive way to show a causal relationship between implementation of the interlock law and the drop in fatalities. Id. at 4-5.

The report details how rural Arizona judges were given a lengthy “education” session about the law by interlock proponents prior to being asked their opinion of the law.  Despite intense indoctrination, some judges still had concerns.

“Many of the judges indicated that it is difficult for DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. Most of the rural jurisdictions do not have a vendor that services their locality. Instead, offenders are forced to drive 50 to 150 miles, each way, to providers who are in the nearest ‘large’ town or city. The judges pointed out that this is a challenge for many rural defendants who may have cars that are operationally unreliable. The end result is that some defendants are not obtaining the interlock device and are being arrested for driving with a suspended license.” Id. at 19-20.

Other judges expressed concern about the costs associated with a first offense.

Several judges expressed their concern that the monetary expense of the sanctions make it difficult for rural defendants to comply. “We are a very poor rural county and I think the requirement is good, but there are definitely financial and logistical barriers.” Id. at 21.

The judges even found a way to voice concerns over the requirement of treatment for rural and poor defendants.

Additionally, a few of the judges pointed out that rural communities do not have sufficient DUI counseling centers or programs. This makes it very difficult for DUI offenders to comply with their treatment requirements. The end result is that warrants can be issued for those who do not attend their review hearings (where an offender is required to provide proof of counseling) and additional, costly jail time may be imposed. Id. at 21.

It seems that many of the judges were skeptical of the efficacy of the law and its implementation even after they have been required to use “blow to go” devices for over  seven years.

Despite the availability of information and extant training opportunities, several of the judges pointed to information gaps where they would like additional information about ignition interlock programs. Specifically, judges were interested in knowing more about:

  • What are the costs involved for installation and the monthly rates?
  • How do the ignition interlock devices work and function in practice?
  • What is the efficacy of the device? How easy or hard is it to tamper with the device?
  • What is the availability of local providers and how challenging is it for defendants to obtain the ignition interlock device in their jurisdiction?
  • Are ignition interlock devices effective as a deterrent? What studies are available that documents the effectiveness in reducing recidivism?
  • What are the rates of compliance? (Since the sanction is an administrative matter of the Motor Vehicle Department, judges would like to know how the ignition interlock requirements are being monitored and enforced).
  • Are there other areas where the technology could be used (e.g., underage drinking)?

The authors also did an interesting look into whether or not the law is resulting in more drunk driving cases being reduced.  Not surprisingly, “[t]here is clearly a general trend of increasing charge reductions in most counties, including rural counties.” Id. at 24-25.  Although they offer this caveat: “[t]his trend began well before the implementation of the 2007 legislation and does not appear to be related to it.”  Which raises the question is the harshness of the law causing prosecutors and judges to realize the crushing burdens placed on first time offenders.  In the conclusion section of the report the authors note: “Our analyses revealed that there has been a general and longstanding trend of increasing rates of charge reductions for convicted DUI offenders that began well before implementation of the 2007 legislation.” Id. at 28.

The authors, recognizing the trend toward reducing drunk driving charges, make the following recommendation. “Recommendation: Any state implementing legislation that changes penalties for DUI should investigate whether sentencing behavior (particularly charge reductions) changes in response to the legislation, to ensure fidelity of implementation.” Id. at 29. With regard to the implementation issues they make the following recommendation. “Recommendation: Any state considering requiring ignition interlock for all convicted DUI offenders should develop plans and contingencies well in advance of implementation of such a policy to ensure that citizens from rural jurisdictions, as well as from urban jurisdictions, have ready access to ignition interlock services.”

It is my hope that our legislators are looking at the costs of implementing and monitoring the law.  I hope that they take a step back and review how amazingly harsh the penalties are for first-time offenders and how many poor people are disproportionally impacted by these laws.  The vast majority of individuals charged with a first OVI do not come back into the system – this is good.  So why pass laws that will create more crime and not make the streets any safer?  I am holding out hope that Ohio will have men and women who will take the hard stance against MADD’s agenda.

Attorney 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 information on ignition interlock devices check these city-specific sites at the following links:
FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg, Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

Vehicle Forfeiture: Where Does The Money Go?

vehicle forfeiture

Have you ever wondered where the money goes following a vehicle forfeiture?

Does your police agency have some really cool sports cars, tricked out SUVs or ruggedly expensive off-road vehicles?  Chances are they got it via Ohio’s vehicle forfeiture law.  Pursuant to R.C. 4503.234(C)(1), the agency that arrested a defendant has a virtual right of first refusal on any forfeited vehicle.  All they have to do is satisfy the lienholder or the innocent non-owners interest if they have protected their interest in the vehicle.

If law enforcement does not want the vehicle it will be sent to auction.  Prior to the sale the prosecuting attorney must give public notice of the proposed sale.  See R.C. 4503.234(C)(2).  At the public auction, the vehicle is sold to the highest bidder – cash only!  R.C. 4503.234(C)(2)  Interestingly, if the “blue book” value of the vehicle is under $2,000.00 the court is authorized to dispose of it in any manner it deems appropriate. R.C. 4503.234(G).

 

  • When the vehicle is sold the money goes to the following people:
  • to the costs associated the the seizure, storage, maintenance, security, and sale;
  • to the value of any non-owner interest established in the vehicle;
  • any remaining proceeds up to $1,000.00 to the law enforcement trust fund [R.C. 2933,43(D)(1)(c) and (2)];

 

Whatever proceeds are left after that go to the following people:

 

  • 50% to the reparation fund [R.C. 2743.191];
  • 25% to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Fund [R.C. 4511.191(F)(2)(e)]; and
  • 25% to the law enforcement trust fund [R.C. 2981.13]

The law has two particularly ugly provision relating to passengers.  If you are a passenger in a vehicle and you knew or should have known that the driver was impaired you cannot get reparations for your injuries proximately caused by the driver.  See R.C. 2743.191 as amended by SB 153.   No compensation will be paid to a passenger under the influence who should have reasonably known, if that passenger would have been sober, that the driver was under the influence. R.C. 2743.06(B).

As you can see from the priority list above, the law enforcement agency benefits more when an expensive vehicle is forfeited.  Usually, we call this policing for profit when the property is targeted by police so that they can reap a benefit.  Unlike drug forfeitures, however, a vehicle forfeiture in an Ohio OVI case are caused by the actions of the accused driver not by motivated policing.

Much of the vehicle forfeiture information provided herein is set forth at Ohio DUI Law, Weiler & Weiler, 2013-2014 ed.

 

Attorney 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 information about vehicle forfeiture contact me, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg, Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville