Tag: ovi charge

Ohio DUI Law: Reasonable and Articulable Suspicion

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What Level of Proof Does Law Enforcement Need to Pull You From Your Car For Standardized Field Tests?

One of the major decision points in the OVI arrest process is the officer’s decision to remove a suspect from his or her car and conduct standardized field sobriety testing. The officer is trained to arrive at this “decision point” by conducting an interview and using specific “pre-exit interview techniques” which include asking for two things simultaneously; asking interrupting or distracting questions; and asking unusual questions. (NHTSA Student Manual VI-4).  Additional techniques which an officer may employ include and Alphabet test (begin with E and end with P); a Countdown test (count out loud backward starting with 68 and ending with 53); and the Finger Count test (touch the tip of the thumb in turn to the tip of each finger while simultaneously counting).  Absent evidence of intoxication adduced at this point in the investigation, the officer lacks reasonable and articulable suspicion to allow him to request you to step from the car. (NHTSA Student Manual, VI-4, VI-5, VI-6).

In State v. Evans (11th Dist 1998), 127 Ohio App.3d 56, the Court cites factors to determine if an officer has reasonable articulable suspicion of driving under the influence: (1) the time and day of the stop (Friday or Saturday night as opposed to, e.g., Tuesday morning); (2) the location of the stop (whether near establishments selling alcohol); (3) any indicia of erratic driving before the stop that may indicate a lack of coordination (speeding, weaving, unusual braking, etc.); (4) whether there is a cognizable report that the driver may be intoxicated; (5) the condition of the suspect’s eyes (bloodshot, glassy, glazed, etc.); (6) impairments of the suspect’s ability to speak (slurred speech, overly deliberate speech, etc.); (7) the odor of alcohol coming from the interior of the car, or, more significantly, on the suspect’s person or breath; (8) the intensity of that odor, as described by the officer (“very strong,” “strong,” “moderate,” “slight,” etc.); (9) the suspect’s demeanor (belligerent, uncooperative, etc.); (10) any actions by the suspect after the stop that might indicate a lack of coordination (dropping keys, falling over, fumbling for a wallet, etc.); and (11) the suspect’s admission of alcohol consumption, the number of drinks had, and the amount of time in which they were consumed, if given.  Citing five factors present in this case, the Court concluded the officer did have reasonable and articulable suspicion of driving under the influence.

An Ohio OVI lawyer should be prepared to challenge the officer’s determination of reasonable and articulable suspicion.  Make sure the Ohio OVI lawyer you choose has the most recent copy of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Student Manual.  Charles M. Rowland has all such manuals and has received the same level of training in the standardized field sobriety tests as law enforcement.  He has furthered his education by being Ohio’s only Forensic Sobriety Assessment certified attorney which goes beyond the NHTSA manual to investigate the science (pseudo-science) of the tests.  If you need an attorney who has worked hard to achieve the highest level of training possible, contact Charles M. Rowland II today at 937-318-1DUI (318-1384), 1-888-ROWLAND or www.DaytonDUI.com.

Juvenile DUI Addressed in Ohio Supreme Court

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Self made photo, taken August 05.

The issue the Ohio Supreme Court addresses in State v. Adkins, 2011-Ohio-3141  is whether a pre-January 1, 1996 juvenile adjudication can be considered one of the five prior similar offenses necessary to enhance an R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) charge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (“OVI”). Under R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d), an OVI is a fourth-degree felony if the defendant has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to five OVIs in 20 years.  Effective January 1, 1996, the Ohio legislature passed a new law making a prior juvenile adjudication constitutes a prior conviction for purposes of R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d).


On September 14, 2007, defendant-appellant, Gary Adkins, was indicted for an OVI violation under R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a). Pursuant to R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d), he was charged with a fourth-degree felony based upon the allegation that he had been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to five or more OVI offenses within the previous 20 years. Specifically, the indictment alleged that Adkins had been convicted of six prior OVI offenses, including a November 20, 1987 adjudication in Delaware County Juvenile Court, where Adkins had been adjudicated “a juvenile traffic offender as a result of Alcohol Concentration, Fleeing an Officer and Failure to Maintain Assured Distance.” Whether that adjudication could properly be considered a prior offense is the issue in this case.


The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that “R.C. 2901.08 did not change Adkins’s juvenile adjudication; it merely added another type of legal violation as an aggravating offense under R.C. 4911.19(G)(1)(d). Prior to the passage of R.C. 2901.08, at least one appellate court had held that juvenile adjudications could not be considered previous OVI convictions for purposes of enhancement. State v. Blogna (1990), 60 Ohio App.3d 141, 573 N.E.2d 1223, syllabus. In that case, the court held that the defendant’s delinquency adjudication could not be used as an enhancement under 4511.19 due to the difference between an adult conviction and a juvenile adjudication. Id. at 143. R.C. 2901.08 statutorily overturned that holding and clarified the law. It did nothing to Adkins’s record – it simply made clear that for enhancement purposes, courts could consider a juvenile adjudication as a conviction. ” The Court also refused to find application of the law an a retroactively applied law, holding, “[b]ecause R.C. 2901.08 is applied prospectively and is not unconstitutionally retroactive, we affirm the judgment of the court of appeals.”

Dayton DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II regularly handles cases involving juvenile OVI offenders.  He has advocated for the sealing of records provisions of juvenile law be applied to prevent enhancements of further offenses and works tirelessly with families to address both the child’s case and the long-term ramifications of a juvenile OVI conviction.  If you know a child that could benefit from Mr. Rowland’s services, please visit www.DaytonDUI.com or call (937) 318-1384 or 1-888-ROWLAND to discuss the case.