DUI case law update: State v. Ilg, Slip Opinion No. 2014-Ohio-4258
For most of my career I have had to deal with a tremendous disadvantage in DUI cases. In 1984, the Ohio Supreme Court decided State v. Vega, 12 Ohio St. 3d 185, 465 N.E.2d 1303 (1984) which was interpreted to prevent an attack on the breath test machine if it attacked the “general reliability” of a breath alcohol test if it was “conducted in accordance with methods approved by the director of the Ohio Department of Health.” Id. In practical purposes, courts used VEGA to preclude almost all attacks on a breath test (partition ratio, radio frequency interference, etc.) thereby creating a reality that if the machine produced a result, the result was coming in. The DUI case law was so bad that it became a matter of some discussion at the national level.
Yesterday, (October 1, 2014) the Supreme Court decided a case which dramatically “re-read” the Vega decision. The holding of the case stands for the principle that,
Every person accused of an offense involving an Intoxilyzer 8000 machine may challenge the accuracy and credibility of a breath test by showing that the breath-analyzer machine failed to operate properly at the time of testing or that the results had not been analyzed in accordance with methods approved by the director of ODH.
Paradoxically, this is the very reading that most Ohio DUI attorneys have been urging the courts to adopt (with varying results) throughout the State. With some trepidation I can announce that Veag appears to be dead.
The Ilg decision also requires the government to produce the “COBRA” data about each case. The State has maintained that compliance with these requests are too burdensome and expensive – the Court disagreed. The court upheld the lower court ruling which excluded results of the test due to the State’s failure to provide the requested discovery.
Obviously, it is important to see how this decision will impact cases in the long term. However, it stands as an important statement that challenges to the machine (often using good science) will be allowed.
I am amazingly enthusiastic about trying cases involving the Intoxilyzer 8000. I am overjoyed that the scientific defense, long excluded, should now be used in the courtroom. More importantly, I am excited for the many people who can now stand up and say that the machine is wrong. Too many innocent people have been condemned to harsh mandatory sentences without recourse. Ohio DUI case law now allows us to present science in their defense. Now the fight begins.
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 on DUI case law contact me, or check these city-specific sites at the following links: