Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Supreme Court’

Due Process and the Administrative License Suspension

December 23rd, 2013

Administrative License Suspension

How can it be constitutional for the State to take my license immediately via the Administrative License Suspension?

Ohio believes that driving is not a right, but a privilege. See 4511.191  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 Administrative license suspension is a suspension imposed by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and not a suspension imposed by the court.  A court may not grant driving privileges for a certain period of time following the imposition of an Administrative License Suspension O.R.C. 4510.13(A).  By making the license suspension an administrative action rather than a criminal punishment, the Courts have carved out a legal zone whereby you can remain “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law” but yet receive a punishment prior to a finding of guilt.  The statutes governing the Administrative License Suspension are set forth at O.R.C. 4511.191 (establishing the implied consent law); 4511.192 (setting forth the arresting officer’s duties); and, 4511.197 (setting forth the provisions for appeal of the suspension and limited driving privileges).

If you think that the above-described scheme is on shaky constitutional ground, you are not alone.  In 1995, the 6th District Court of Appeal held in State v. Knisley (1995), 74 Ohio St. 3d 1413, 655 N.E.2d 734 held that “on the spot” suspensions violated the due process provisions of the Ohio and United States Constitution.  However, in 1996, the Ohio Supreme Court overruled the 6th District decision in State v. Hochhausler, 76 Ohio St. 3d 455, 1996-Ohio-374, 668 N.E.2d 457 (1996).  In Hochhausler the Court applied a three part due process analysis addressing whether:

 

  1. the private interest affected
  2. the risk of erroneous deprivation of that interest, and
  3. the governmental interest involved which involves a weighing of the government’s interest in removing drunk drivers from the roads against the private interest in the driver’s license

 

The Ohio Supreme Court concluded that the governmental interests outweighed the interests of the individual. Specifically, the Court relied on the provision for a five-day appeal hearing and the trial court’s inherent ability to stay the license suspension were adequate safeguards, thereby concluding that the risk of erroneous deprivation was low.  The failure of a court to conduct an Administrative License Suspension hearing within five (5) days warrants a termination of the ALS because the failure to hold the hearing is a violation of due process. State v. Gibson, 144 Ohio Misc. 2d 18, 2007-Ohio-6069, 877 N.E.2d 1053 (Municipal court decision).

But what of other Constitutional challenges?  This author has always maintained that the right to travel freely is a right enumerated in the Constitution.  Today, the automobile and the use of public roads is the presumed method of exercising that right.  Thus, an argument exists that the Constitution contains a “right” to drive.  According to the Supreme Court, enumerated rights that are incorporated are so fundamental that any law restricting such a right must both serve a compelling state purpose and be narrowly tailored to that compelling purpose.  Is the time right to make that argument?

 

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.”

 Find information on the Administrative License Suspension on this blog, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

 

Case Law Update: OVI Urine Sample

November 25th, 2013

OVI urine sample

Under Ohio law, an OVI urine sample must be refrigerated while not in transit or under examination.  In State v. Schneider, 2013-Ohio-4789, the First District Court of Appeals was asked to define what “in transit” means.

At the suppression hearing, defense counsel argued that the state had failed to establish that the OVI urine sample had been refrigerated while it was not under examination or in transit as required by Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-05(F). Defense counsel pointed to the evidence that the trooper had not refrigerated the specimen between its collection at 3:15 a.m., and its mailing at 10:00 p.m., a period of 18 hours and 45 minutes. Following a hearing, the trial court granted the motion to suppress the results of the alcohol analysis on Schneider’s urine specimen. The prosecutor appealed arguing that the trial court erred by suppressing the urine-test results.

Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-05(F), provides: “While not in transit or under examination, all blood and urine specimens shall be refrigerated.” The regulation does not define “in transit” or set forth any time limitation for an OVI urine sample to be in transit, or to be unrefrigerated, for that matter. In general, Ohio courts agree that an OVI urine sample or blood specimen is “in transit” for purposes of Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-05(F) for at least the time that it is placed in the mail until the time that it is received by the testing facility, even if the mailing process itself takes several days. For example, in State v. Hurst, 4th Dist. Washington No. 08CA43, 2009- Ohio-3127, the Fourth Appellate District rejected the appellant’s argument that the police should not have mailed an OVI urine sample on a Friday, thereby causing the OVI urine sample to go unrefrigerated until the crime lab received it the following Monday. See State v. Cook, 82 Ohio App.3d 619, 612 N.E.2d 1272 (12th Dist.1992) (OVI urine sample was “in transit” for the three-day period from the time it was mailed until the lab received it); State v. Cook, 5th Dist. Stark No. CA-8708, 1992 Ohio App. LEXIS 4022 (Aug. 3, 1992) (blood specimen was “in transit” for the three days it was in the mail). In one instance, a court held that the state had substantially complied with the regulation where an OVI urine sample was unrefrigerated for the seven and one-half days that it was in the mail. See State v. Partin, 12th Dist. Warren No. CA2010-04-040, 2011-Ohio-794. In another case, State v. Mullins, 4th Dist. Ross No. 12CA3350, 2013-Ohio-2688, the state limited itself to a narrow definition of the term when it stipulated that the defendant’s urine sample “was not placed in the mail (transit)” until 12 hours had passed from the time that the sample had been taken.

In State v. Plummer, 22 Ohio St.3d 292, 294, 490 N.E.2d 902 (1986), the Ohio Supreme Court recognized that strict compliance with DOH regulations “is not always realistically or humanly possible.” The court said that “there is leeway for substantial, though not literal, compliance with such regulations.” Id. The court later limited the Plummer substantial-compliance standard to excusing errors that are “clearly de minimis,” or that are “minor procedural deviations.” See Burnside at ¶ 34.  In this case, the trial court determined that Schneider’s OVI urine sample “was not in transit as long as the officer is holding it.”

The First District reversed holding that Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-05(F) contains no such limiting language. Nor does the regulation limit the term “in transit” to mean “in the mail.” They stated, in pertinent part,

We do not believe that the term “in transit” as used in Ohio Adm.Code 3701- 53-05(F) is so narrow as to include only the time that a blood or urine specimen is in the mail. Certainly the regulation contemplates other modes of transportation, as well as reasonable periods of time that a specimen is unrefrigerated. To read the term “in transit” to mean “in the mail” would not have allowed for the trooper to transport the unrefrigerated specimen from the Cincinnati district to his patrol post, or even from his post to the post office. Moreover, it is undisputed that a specimen is generally not refrigerated while in the mail; thus, the delay in mailing Schneider’s specimen was inconsequential, and a minor deviation from the requirements of the regulation.  Therefore, we hold that the trial court erred by finding that the state did not demonstrate substantial compliance with Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-05(F). Moreover, because the trial court determined that Schneider had suffered no prejudice as a result of the lack of strict compliance, we hold that the trial court erred by suppressing the results of the urine-alcohol testing.

It would appear that, without a showing of prejudice, the police will be given no restrictions under the Ohio Administrative Code.  Like in other OVI cases, the language of the statute is not strictly construed against the state, but read in an expansive way to allow more convictions under the law.

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.”

 Find information on OVI urine sample and scientific evidence on this blog, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

What Are (And What Are Not) Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

September 25th, 2013

standardized field sobriety testsThe dream of implementing Standardized Field Sobriety Tests has long been a goal of law enforcement.  Extensive government testing was begun in the 1970′s to determine a scientifically valid way of helping police officers detect intoxication in drivers under suspicion of drunk driving.  Prior to this undertaking, officers were doing their best to gather evidence of drunk driving, or simply not arresting for the offense due to the difficulty of proving impairment in court.  Some more ingenious tests included throwing coins on ground; if the suspect could pick them up without falling over, they must be sober.  Other popular tests that officers used included:

  • The Rhomberg stationary balance test wherein the driver stands, feet together, and leans the head back to look up at the sky while holding their arms out to the side;
  • An alphabet test where the officer asks the subject to say the alphabet from D to P (some officers asked a subject to say the alphabet backward);
  • The finger-to-nose test: this requires the driver might to close his or her eyes and bring the finger around to touch the nose; and/or
  • The hand-pat test: the driver is asked to extend a hand in front, palm upwards. The other hand is then placed on top of the first hand, palm downwards. The driver then ‘pats’ the lower hand with the upper hand by rotating it, so that first the lower hand is patted with the palm of the upper hand and then with the back of the upper hand;

The problem was that no science supported these tests and the manner of administering the tests fell far short of “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.”  The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) was tasked with determining which tests, if any, could be correlated with impairment by alcohol.  After extensive testing, NHTSA determined that three tests were specific for alcohol intoxication: the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the walk & turn test and the one leg stand test. This three-test battery are now referred to as the “standardized field sobriety tests.”

All other tests were eliminated.  NHTSA did acknowledge that, while there is a place for using distracting questions, confusion or divided-attention tasks, it cannot be called “scientific” for purposes of in-court testimony.  The current version of the NHTSA manual used to instruct law enforcement throughout the United States allows for non-standardized tests to be a part of the officer’s determination in establishing the lower legal standard of reasonable and articulable suspicion.  The officer uses the information from these tests to determine if the suspect should be removed from the vehicle for standardized field sobriety tests.

If, however, the officer is using the non-standardized field sobriety tests to establish probable cause for an OVI arrest, he or she is on a faulty scientific and legal footing.  Your DUI lawyer will challenge these tests as not probative of intoxication and that they are irrelevant for purposes of determining impairment.  At least one case, Rocky River v. Horvath, 2002 WL 538755 (Ohio Ct. App. 8th Dist. Cuyahoga 2002) has decided that these non-standardized tests are improper because they have no standardized application and they have not been approved by NHTSA. [Note: this opinion was written by now-Supreme Court Justice Terrence O'Donnell].  The Second District Court of Appeals has ruled that non-standardized tests can come in under the totality of the circumstances used to reach a probable cause determination. State v. Rajehel, 2003-Ohio-3975.  The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the tests may be used as lay evidence of intoxication. Brooklyn Hts. v. Yee, 2009-Ohio-4552.

You need the skills of an experienced attorney who can properly challenge the reasonable suspicion and probable cause determinations made by the arresting officer.  Charles M. Rowland II has been trained in the latest NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test methods (Walden & Platt, March 2010).  He is just as qualified as law enforcement to administer and evaluate the performance of a subject on the standardized three-test battery and to challenge non-scientific  ”stupid-human tricks” that an officer may employ.

OVI 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 emailCharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

 Find Standardized Field Sobriety Tests information and other city-specific info at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville 

Ohio DUI Law And The Portable Breath Test

August 2nd, 2013

handcuffsIn State v. Shuler , 168 Ohio App.3d 183, 2006-Ohio-4336, the Ohio Supreme Court took up the issue of whether a portable breath test device (hereinafter ‘PBT’) can be used as evidence in a drunk driving prosecution.  The court found that,

PBT devices are not among those instruments listed in Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-02 as approved evidential breath-testing instruments for determining the concentration of alcohol in the breath of individuals potentially in violation of R.C. 4511.19. PBT results are considered inherently unreliable because they “may register an inaccurate percentage of alcohol present in the breath, and may also be inaccurate as to the presence or absence of any alcohol at all.” See State v. Zell (Iowa App. 1992), 491 N.W.2d 196, 197.

PBT devices are designed to measure the amount of certain chemicals in the subject’s breath. The chemicals measured are found in consumable alcohol, but are also present in industrial chemicals and certain nonintoxicating over-the-counter medications. They may also appear when the subject suffers from illnesses such as diabetes, acid reflux disease, or certain cancers. Even gasoline containing ethyl alcohol on a driver’s clothes or hands may alter the result. Such factors can cause PBTs to register inaccurate readings, such as false positives. See Tebo, New Test for DUI Defense: Advances in Technology and Stricter Laws Create Challenges for Lawyers, Jan. 28, 2005, www.duicentral.com/aba_journal/.

This lack of evidential reliability provides a basis for excluding PBT results from admissibility at trial. See Elyria v. Hebebrand (1993), 85 Ohio App.3d 141, 619 N.E.2d 445; State v. Kerns (March 30, 1998), Van Wert App. No. 15-97-8, 1998 WL 142384.

You would assume given the strong language that the PBT is unreliable, you would think the court would not allow the device to be used to establish probable cause for an arrest.  Not so.  In the same case the Supreme Court reiterated the rule that the PBT can be used to determine probable cause to arrest a person for DUI.

In State v. Coates, Athens App. No. 01CA21, 2002-Ohio-2160, ¶54, we recognized that we have previously allowed the results of a PBT as a valid factor upon which to base probable cause. We recently recognized our adherence to this practice in State v. Gunther, Pickaway App. No. 04CA25, 2005-Ohio-3492, at ¶23. Our openness to employing PBT results as a factor to be used in determining probable cause, however, has never extended into a practice of admitting PBT results as evidence at trial.

Is this position not amazingly inconsistent?  If we change the PBT to another discounted scientific method like using a psychic, it proves the point.  We can all agree that mediums and psychics are frauds that prey upon the vulnerability of their victims.  Unfortunately, some law enforcement agencies have been duped (usually by desperate family members) into using psychics in unsolved murder cases.  It is obvious that a psychic could not be used against a criminal defendant to establish guilt… that would be crazy.  Is it not just as crazy to assume we should rely upon the psychic to establish probable cause for an arrest?  Imagine staying in jail based awaiting trial based on the evidence given by an unreliable psychic.  It is just as bad to be arrested and put in jail based on the evidence of a faulty, unreliable PBT device?

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in DaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg, Huber Heights,Beavercreek, 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,www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.comor write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

No Miranda Rights for DUI Cases?

July 24th, 2013

The United States Supreme Court.

There was a time when the Miranda Rights were not extended to drunk driving cases.

In State v. Pyle, 19 Ohio St. 2d 64, 48 Ohio Op. 2d 82, 249 N.E.2d 826 (1969) the Ohio Supreme Court reasoned that the rights guaranteed under the Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona did not apply to misdemeanor cases (like DUI).  The ostensible reason for this distinction was that the level of interrogation in a misdemeanor case is less intrusive and coercive than the rigorous interrogation in a felony case.  The United States Supreme Court disagreed.

The holding in Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 104 S.Ct. 3138, 82 L.Ed. 2d 317 (1984) expressly denounced the line of reasoning upholding State v. Pyle and extended Miranda protections to misdemeanor cases.  This was made a part of Ohio law in State v. Buchholz, 11 Ohio St. 3d 24, 462 N.E.2d 1222 (1984). Thus, Miranda protections were clearly extended to all misdemeanors in Ohio, including OVI cases.  If you need an attorney who will protect ALL of your rights including the protections provided by Miranda, please contact Charles M. Rowland II.

Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (1-888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  Immediate help is available by filling out this CONTACT form.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting follow DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and you can access updates by becoming a fan of Dayton DUI/OVI Defense.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@CharlesRowland.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.