Ohio DUI Attorney and Drunk Driver Defense
In early October, Mel Gibson was arrested for being suspected of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). During his arrest, Gibson made some flagrantly racist remarks which uncomfortably placed him under the public microscope. In an interview with television journalist Diane Sawyer, Gibson told Sawyer that he was “ashamed” of his remarks; and, while his initial attitude was that they were just “the stupid ramblings of a drunkard,” he came to realize that his words had actually frightened and disappointed people.
No doubt, Gibson secured excellent (and costly) legal counsel for his case. Gibson’s legal counsel argued that his due process rights were violated by the unauthorized leak of prejudicial allegations before he had been arrested. Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira fined Gibson $1,300 and his license was restricted for 90 days.
Later Gibson, volunteered to record a public service announcement on the dangers of driving drunk and volunteered to immediately enter into a rehabilitation program, prosecutors said. (Read the full story here)
But in about a week’s time, nothing more was heard about the case in the media; and the public memory had virtually forgotten about the case.
Unfortunately, if you are the average citizen arrested for drunk driving, you may not get off as lightly as Gibson did. This is particularly true if you live in Ohio. Why? Because Ohio has a minimum mandatory sentencing scheme if you are convicted of DUI. In Ohio, you need expert legal defense lawyers if you are charged with DUI or DWI.
DUI or DWI defense: what you need to know
DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a serious offense and if you have been charged with a DUI or drunk driving, you should seek legal help at once from a DUI attorney. DUI offenders may need assistance in understanding regulations regarding
- Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administrative procedures;
- Administrative License Suspension (ALS) rules;
- Administrative License Revocation (ALR) laws.
DUI & DWI laws can be quite complex, which means that it is best dealt with by a DUI attorney who focuses on drunk driver defense law if you want to successfully appeal the charge or arrest.
[NOTE: In Ohio, DUI is also called “Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated” (OVI).]
The Law Offices of Gregory Scott Robey: tenacious DUI & criminal defense attorneys
There are many legal factors involved in putting on a vigorous DUI defense. DUI defense counsel must have a working understanding of the operation of breath test equipment, hospital testing equipment, and instruments utilized by forensic laboratories in the process of testing for intoxicants.
Many people don’t realize it, but those charged with a DUI or driving while intoxicated (DWI) are sometimes also charged with additional crimes, such as reckless driving, or aggravated DUI and other vehicular crimes requiring the legal representation of an experienced Ohio DUI attorney.
The defense used by an experienced DUI lawyer will relate to areas such as:
- whether you suffered violation of your constitutional rights;
- whether the officer concerned followed the correct procedures and regulation in a proper fashion; whether you were read your rights when the officer made the DUI arrest;
- whether the blood and alcohol level tests were properly carried out;
- whether the equipment used to monitor blood alcohol levels was maintained and in good working order.
DUI violations & blood alcohol level (BAL)
A good drunk driving defense attorney will effectively challenge tests that were administered at the time of your arrest. These challenges include, but are not limited to:
- the qualifications and credibility of the administering police officer;
- breath or blood sample contamination;
- appropriate use and accuracy of instruments employed.
In most jurisdictions, the first DUI/OVI offense requires proof of intoxication through the use of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) testing. Though breathalyzers and other BAC tests are commonly used by police and law enforcement agents, evidence of BAC is admissible in a court of law, under some circumstances.
However, the law is slightly different for the second and subsequent DUI arrest. The second requires only proof of BAC at the time of being in physical control of a motor vehicle. It is also a criminal offense in all states to drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs (DUID), or under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. It is important to note that the drugs themselves need not be illegal; they can be prescription or even over-the-counter.
The physical control clause in Ohio DUI law
Physical Control is a special clause in Ohio DUI law. Physical Control is similar to an Ohio DUI charge in that it deals with being in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs of abuse. However, there is one exception; physical control does not require that the vehicle have ever been driven or even started. The physical control statute was essentially designed to “reward” (or not punish as severely) the person who drinks too much (or uses or abuses drugs) but later makes the decision, after entering their vehicle, not to drive.
This clause would apply, for instance, to a person who had been driving while intoxicated, but then pulled off to the side of the road, went to sleep, and was interrogated or detained by law enforcement. Though it would be obvious the person had been driving drunk or intoxicated, such a person may fall under the Physical Control protection clause and be given a lesser charge.
Additional Ohio DUI resources
- Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Center for Automotive Research, Ohio State University
- Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Rules
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections, DUI Programs