In Ohio, a DUI or OVI offense refers to Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints are legal. Investigations show that in Ohio, vehicle checkpoints primarily issue citations for suspended licenses, but also cover more serious offenses including driving under the influence. “Sobriety checkpoints are used to complement enforcement efforts in reducing alcohol-related crash fatalities and injuries. The principal benefit of a sobriety checkpoint is the deterrent effect on potentially impaired drivers,” said Trooper Brad Sellers of the Ohio Highway Patrol. “By raising awareness of checkpoints [media coverage] the perceived risk of arrest increases and also provides another opportunity to educate people on the dangers of impaired driving. Using a mix of all three components is key to further reducing fatalities. Just last year, a third of all traffic fatalities involved an impaired driver.”
In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, decided DUI checkpoints do not violate a person’s Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Supreme Court provided guidelines for states to apply during these checkpoints. The motorist should only be detained for a minimal length of time. The court determined that for the DUI checkpoint to be constitutional, the court must balance the following factors:
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The consequences of Declining an OVI or DUI sobriety test depends on prior offenses.
Police Department supervisors and/or an OVI Task Force will announce the location, time, and duration of a checkpoint. They should also provide advance warnings to the approaching motorist with signs, flares, and/ or other indications to warn of the stop and demonstrate its official nature as a police checkpoint. The notice will also show the public interest as a reason for the checkpoint. An example would be the following announcement from the City of Dayton Police Department.
The Ohio Policy Number OSP-200.21 delineates guidelines for roadside sobriety checkpoints pertaining to the location and timing for the checkpoint. The guidelines state that the checkpoint must have a “significant history of alcohol-related crashes and impaired driving violations” and “the time of day of the checkpoint must parallel the peak periods of alcohol crash involvement.
As you can see, there are numerous considerations when it comes to OVI or DUI checkpoints. If you think you have been part of an unconstitutional checkpoint, or a checkpoint which was not reasonable, you should discuss the case with an attorney experienced with DUI vehicle checkpoints in Ohio. Additionally, if you faced an OVI or DUI checkpoint that resulted in a conviction, you should speak with an attorney experienced with OVI and DUI convictions.
Stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Ohio? If you are unsure of what to do next and need help navigating the complicated Ohio OVI and DUI laws, contact The Botnick Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. You may be able to keep your license. Call us now to get the help you deserve. An experienced Cleveland DUI lawyer can help get you through this. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.
The process to charge someone that’s been accused of a crime begins with an arrest. If the police have reason to believe that someone has committed a crime, the accused can be taken into custody. Police will usually start by asking basic questions like name and address to identify a person, and then they’ll often pivot to more specific questions related to the incident. At some point during this, you should have been read your “Miranda warnings.”
You have the right to remain silent to avoid disclosing evidence that could potentially be self-incriminating, as well as the right to an attorney to defend you in court. Those are your unwavering rights that must be recited upon taking someone into custody. Take note of when these rights are read to you, as it could be helpful information for your attorney.
When you’ve been taken down to the station, police will fingerprint you and get your photograph to update their records. Once this is done, you should be granted the opportunity to contact your criminal defense lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a loved one to book a consultation with a lawyer on your behalf. It’s important that you do NOT disclose any details about your case over the phone with your loved ones, as those calls are monitored.
After you’ve made it through the booking process, the police may begin conducting their investigation with you. Depending on the situation, this might include a personal search, collecting samples, interviewing/interrogating, police lineups, etc.
You’ll be held at the station until you can be brought before a judge. The initial court appearance will happen within 48 hours or less of the arrest. Here, the judge will review the case and decide if there’s any reason to keep you in holding or if bail can be granted. If bail is granted, you’re allowed to be released upon certain conditions.
Depending on the seriousness of your allegations, you may have a preliminary hearing at which a judge can determine whether enough evidence exists to charge you with that level of crime. You’ll be able to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If you plead not guilty, your case will be sent to trial. You may get the opportunity to enter a plea deal. That’s something your attorney will advise you on.
In the discovery stage, the case against you is made much more transparent. The prosecutor will share the evidence they have against you with your defense attorney. During this time, your attorney can make additional requests for evidence if need be. All of the evidence on the table will be considered, and your lawyer will work with you to form the best plan for your defense.
If a plea deal is unable to be reached, the case will enter trial. During the trial, the prosecutor begins by presenting the case to the jury. They share any evidence they have against you and have witnesses make their statements for the prosecution. This can be tough to sit through. Afterward, it’s your lawyer’s turn to take the stands and share your side of the story. Your lawyer can question the prosecutor’s witnesses and all of the evidence that was used against you. There are many different strategies that your lawyer will use to defend you during the trial.
In a best-case scenario, you will have been found not guilty by the end of the trial, and the charges against you have been dropped. If you are found guilty, the judge must determine what your sentence/penalties will be. The sentencing will happen at another hearing, usually a few weeks after your trial ends.
If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Ohio, remain calm. You have the right to remain silent, but be sure to always be polite when responding to an officer’s questions. Be sure to provide ID and insurance when prompted. You do not have to consent to a field sobriety test, but there may be implications to denying the test.
Yes, if you are able to make a legal turn before you reach the DUI checkpoint, you are well within your rights to do so. If you make an illegal maneuver, however, this will give the police officers reason to pull you over and may indicate to them that you have been driving while intoxicated.
Yes, sobriety checkpoints have been deemed legal in Ohio. In order to be legal, however, police need to adhere to strict rules and must also announce the checkpoints ahead of time.
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