DeGenova & Yarwood, Ltd
DUI Law in Ohio has rapidly changed over the last decade. Currently, the minimum punishments for a first offense conviction include jail, a one year license suspension, and a monetary fine. Under Ohio law a judge must impose the minimum sentence by law upon conviction with some discretion in reducing the driver's license suspension time and imposing a 72 hour driver intervention class in lieu of jail.
The minimum sentences to be imposed depend on whether an individual tested in the low alcohol or drug range or high. In addition, to increased punishments for "high reads", there are enhanced minimum punishments depending on the number of DUIs and individual has had during the "look back" period. This period ranges between 10 years look back to a lifetime look back for certain felonies.
Besides jail, fines, and license suspensions, a person charged with DUI is facing administrative costs, points on one's driver's license, and increased automobile insurance.
Most DUI arrests begin with a traffic stop for a driving infraction. This may include but is not limited to: driving outside marked lanes, left of center, failure to yield the right of way, failing to have night time lights on, speeding, no license plate light, and improper turn. Once stopped the officer will look for indicators of impairment as a basis to get you out of your car. Examples include, detecting an oder of alcoholic beverage, inability to provide proof of insurance, driver's license, slurred speech, and red glassy blood shot eyes.
Once out of your vehicle, most officers will request three standardized field sobriety tests. Those tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (follow the pen/finger test), the one-legged stand, and the walk in turn. The officer requests these tests since failure by a driver of these tests provide the officer with probable cause to request a breath, blood, or urine sample. Failure of the field sobriety tests usually results in arrest.
If you have been charged with a DUI (without a check point stop or without an accident) this is most likely the process you went through that resulted in the officer requesting a breath test, urine test or in a very small percentage of cases a blood sample.
You certainly can't undo what already has occurred but you can explore all your legal rights in challenging the initial stop, the administration of the field sobriety tests, or the admissibility of the breath, urine or blood test.
The very best way of helping yourself out of this already sticky situation is to hire an experienced DUI lawyer. Not just any civil or criminal lawyer but an attorney that dedicates a significant portion of his or her practice to DUI defense and challenging these types of cases through pretrial motions and if necessary trial. An experienced DUI lawyer will review your case and consider challenging the stop, the exit sequence from your car, the administration of the field sobriety tests, and the test result.
If you have concerns or wish to discuss your particular case contact us immediately.
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