Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Supreme Court’

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

August 27th, 2014

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 Although consent is implied by R.C. 4511.191, consent can be withdrawn.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

A Motion To Suppress Is Vital In An Ohio DUI Case

August 13th, 2014

motion to suppressIn State v. French, 72 Ohio St. 3d 446, 1995-Ohio-32, 646 N.E. 2d 887 (1995), the Ohio Supreme Court held that a pretrial motion to suppress is the only way to challenge the admissibility of a chemical test.  If not filed, the results will be automatically admissible at trial.  The prosecuting attorney will not need to lay a foundation and any objection by the defense as to their admission will be overruled by the judge.  This makes choosing an experienced DUI attorney vital to your case as they will know what to challenge in a pretrial suppression motion.

A motion to suppress is one of the most important tools in a DUI attorney’s arsenal. It’s purpose is to render “the state’s proof … so weak in its entirety that any reasonable possibility of effective prosecution has been destroyed.” State v. Davidson, 17 Ohio St.3d 132, 135, 477 N.E.2d 1141 (1985). If successful, a motion will likely end the case in favor of the defendant.

The motion is the defendant’s challenge to crucial aspects of the State’s case, which may include challenges to:

  • the reason for the initial police contact;
  • the reason for asking the defendant to exit the car;
  • the reason for administering the standardized field sobriety tests;
  • the administration of the field sobriety tests;
  • the 20 minute observation period before the chemical test;
  • the administration and time frame of the chemical test; and
  • the results of the chemical test.

Ancillary benefits of a motion to suppress include the ability to see and hear the officer testify about the arrest. The officer may be an exceptionally good or bad witness. The state may or may not choose to pursue certain aspects of the case based on the testimony. Further, the motion hearing may prove to be a valuable discovery tool. From a purely strategic standpoint, a motion to suppress demonstrates to the State that you are committed to your client’s position and will do whatever it takes to prevent a DUI conviction.

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 about a motion to suppress contact me, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg, Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

The Ohio OVI Breath Test – How To Fight And Win

June 30th, 2014

OVI breath testYou may think that any person who takes an OVI breath test and blows above Ohio’s .08 legal limit is guilty of OVI.  This is not the case.

Ohio employs a device called the Intoxilyzer 8000.  This device has many problems in its operation.  In fact, after a lengthy hearing on the Intoxilyzer 8000, a judge in Marietta ruled that the machine was not reliable [Story HERE].  Prosecutors hide behind a 1984 Ohio Supreme Court decision that said because the machines were officially certified by the state, they cannot be challenged by expert witnesses. Until this ruling is overturned we have to rely on other issues… and we do.

There are several ways to challenge an OVI breath test that involve operational issues.  Operational issues that may be used as defenses in your OVI case include:

  • Human error
  • Environmental factors
  • A breath test may not accurately represent your true Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
  • Your mouth alcohol may be measured higher than your true breath alcohol level
  • Amount of time between your arrest and breath test
  • The breath test device may be improperly maintained

Did you know that your breathing pattern can significantly alter the concentration of alcohol on your evidential OVI breath test?  According to scientific research, “[t]he subject’s test manner of breathing just prior to providing breath for analysis can significantly alter the concentration of alcohol in the resulting exhalation.” (Jones, 1982, Schoknecht, 1989) as cited in Physiological Aspecs of Breath-Alcohol Measurement, Alcohol Drugs & Driving Vol. 6, No. 2, A.W. Jones.  Hyperventilation “…lowers the breath alcohol concentration by as much as 20% compared with a single moderate inhalation and forced exhalation used as control tests.” Id. (Jones, 1982).  Whereas, “holding breath for a short time (20 seconds) before exhalation increases the alcohol concentration in exhaled air by 15%. Id. (Jones, 1982).

The protocol for the Intoxilyzer 8000 in Ohio requires that you produce merely 1.1 liters of breath, less than the amount of air required to fill a two liter pop bottle.  The average adult can exhale between three and four liters of air.  If you are unlucky enough to be tested on this machine, the police will urge you to keep blowing your entire breath into the machine. However, such a long breath will artificially increase the apparent amount of alcohol in your breath by skewing the sample toward your “deep lung air,” where the alcohol is more highly concentrated. If you only blow only the required 1.1 liters, you will give an adequate sample, which may be up to 30% less than the sample that the police want you to give.

At Dayton DUI we constantly write on issues affecting an Ohio OVI breath test.  I invite you to check out these related articles:

It is my hope that even the most vehement advocate of tough DUI laws would allow an open debate on the scientific methodology of convicting a person in court.  If you are willing to fight to keep truth out of the courtroom, then you have drifted so far from the principles of fairness as to become blind to what our system of justice should be.  I call on MADD, the Century Council and all other advocates for tough DUI laws to join me in having a fair fight over the science and protecting our fragile and vulnerable system of justice.

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 visit about your OVI breath test or to learn more, check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgHuber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

Ohio Supreme Court Rules on DUI Motion To Suppress Issue

April 21st, 2014

DUI Motion To Suppress

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on a DUI Motion to Suppress issue in State v. Codeluppi, 2012-Ohio-5812.

In August of 2011, Officer Ryan M. Young of the North Ridgeville Police Department stopped Ms. Codeluppi on Lorain Road for driving 53 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone.  When Officer Young walked to the driver’s window of Ms. Codeluppi’s car, he smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the interior of the car. Following an investigation and administration of standardized field sobriety tests, the defendant was arrested for OVI.

In her motion to suppress, Ms. Codeluppi asserted that: the officer lacked sufficient reasonable grounds to effectuate a traffic stop and/or probable cause to arrest her, the Field Sobriety Tests were not conducted in substantial compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) Guidelines, and statements she made during the traffic stop were obtained in violation of her Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.  Ms. Codeluppi also requested a hearing.

In its response, the State argued that Ms. Codeluppi’s DUI motion to suppress should be denied because, pursuant to Crim.R. 47, it failed to state with particularity the respects in which Officer Young failed to conduct the Field Sobriety Tests in substantial compliance with NHTSA guidelines. As such, the State contended that Ms. Codeluppi did not put it on notice by setting forth any factual basis for her challenge to the constitutionality of the traffic stop and arrest. On November 14, 2011, after reviewing both parties’ arguments, the trial court denied Ms. Codeluppi’s motion to suppress without conducting the scheduled hearing, and, instead, set the matter for a pre-trial. In its order, the trial court stated:

[Ms. Codeluppi’s] Motion to Suppress is denied, at the [S]tate’s request, due to the fact it fails to state legal and factual bases with sufficient particularity to * * * place the prosecutor and the court on notice of the issues to be decided. * * * Case remains set for pretrial on 11/15/11 at 1:30 P.M.

This is an all-to-familiar response from some courts in addressing a motion to suppress and a powerful tactic to prevent a defendant from asserting a DUI motion to suppress.  Much confusion has been raised as to what does, and what does not, constitute a proper motion.  While it is understandable that a court does not want to make a prosecutor “guess” as to what may be raised in a DUI motion to suppress, it is also a devastating blow to deny the single most important motion in a case because of an improperly filed motion.  What is worse, some courts apply this standard in an arbitrary way, denying lengthy or boilerplate motions because they assert issues with too much particularity.  This confusion was addressed by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, in her majority opinion, wrote that a motion to suppress need not describe “in excruciating detail” the basis for arguing for suppression of the evidence. It does need, she said, to provide sufficient notice of the issues to be considered.  The motion to suppress, she wrote, “is merely a procedural vehicle to ‘put the ball into play’ and serve notice that the defendant intends to have the state meet its legislatively mandated burden of demonstrating compliance with any and all challenged regulations and requirements.”  Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell, Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French and William M. O’Neill joined Lanzinger’s opinion. Justice Paul E. Pfeifer dissented without an opinion, stating that he would affirm the Ninth District ruling.

Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio during prom season and beyond.  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 learn more about a DUI motion to suppress check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

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