Tag: prior dui convictions

Proving Prior Convictions (Evidence Rule 902)

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Just how hard is it for the prosecution to prove prior convictions in OVI cases?prior convictions

The government has the burden of providing a foundation that the documents proving prior convictions should be relied upon. The Ohio Rules of Evidence, Evid. Rule 902, provides that extrinsic evidence of authenticity, as a condition precedent to admissibility, is not required under three (3) specific circumstances:

  1. Domestic Public Documents Under Seal: These can include documents from other states, districts or political subdivision.
  2. Domestic Public Documents Not Under Seal: These include documents without a seal, but bearing some attestation that the signatory had the authority to sign the document.
  3. Certified Copies of Public Records: Documents that are authorized by law to be recorded or filed and are actually recorded or filed in the appropriate public office.

The reported cases set forth in Ohio Driving Under the Influence Law, Weiler & Weiler, 2013-2014 ed., sec 11:9, p. 458, demonstrate that courts have proven lenient in allowing the government to use these documents. (See State v. Lewis, 2011-Ohio-911, allowing two “TRAFFIC CASE INFORMATION HARDCOPY” documents complied with Evid. R. 902; State v. Thompson, 2009-Ohio-314, interpreting a prior case that held the state had to prove with a certified conviction was “non-binding dicta” and allowing in the proof, and State v. Pisarkiewicz, 2000-Ohio-6609, wherein the court allowed faxed copies.

If you have prior convictions and face enhanced penalties, it is vital that you have an experienced DUI attorney on your side. Dayton DUI, “All I do is DUI defense.” 

Prior Convictions Used To Enhance An OVI

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English: Main section of prisoners' call block...

It is not uncommon for a client to choose my representation on a second, third, or fourth OVI offense.  One of the first things we check is whether or not the client was represented by an attorney in the previous convictions.  We also check to see if the prior plea had a valid waiver of counsel.  Both of these issues were addressed by the Ohio Supreme Court in State v. Brooke, 113 Ohio St. 3d 199, 2007-Ohio-1533, 863 N.E. 2d 1024 (2007), wherein the Court stated:

Generally, a past conviction cannot be attacked in a subsequent case.  However, there is a limited right to collaterally attack a conviction when the state proposes to use the past conviction to enhance the penalty of a later criminal offense.  A conviction obtained against the defendant who is without counsel, or its corollary, an uncounseled conviction obtained without a valid waiver of the right to counsel, has been recognized as constitutionally infirm.

The case law following State v. Brooke has led to many cases which result in client’s not having a subsequent OVI enhanced.  This area of law is fact dependent and your attorney should make a thorough review of the law in your court and appellate district when pursuing this line of collateral attack.  The Ohio Supreme Court has set forth precedent that it is the defendant’s responsibility and burden to make a prima facie showing of a defect in the prior plea.  Upon this prima facie showing, the burden shifts to the state to rebut the evidence by showing that the plea did, in fact, contain a valid waiver of counsel.  See State v. Thompson, 2007-Ohio-6098 (Ohio Ct. App. 5th Dist. Fairfield County 2007). 

In 2007, the Ohio Legislature passed 2007 Am. Sub. S.B. 17 which added 2945.75(B)(3).  The purpose of this law was to overrule the law set forth in State v. Brooke which required the defendant to raise a prima facie showing and instead, place on the defendant the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the prior plea was infirm.  As Judge Weiler points out in Ohio Driving Under The Influence Law, 2011-2012 ed., pp. 402, “It will undoubtedly be challenged in the future as a violation of procedural due process. But, it will be some time before the matter reaches the appellate level and even longer before it is reviewed by the Ohio Supreme Court.”

Dayton DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in FairbornSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgHuber HeightsBeavercreekCentervilleSpringboro, Franklin 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 Twitterupdates 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.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.