Students throughout the country spend their spring semester anticipating the week-long vacation relaxing from academic requirements and enjoying time spent with friends. Whether students travel or stay in their home states, alcohol consumption is a large part of spring break.
The spring break periods for Ohio State University, Ohio Dominican University, Franklin University and DeVry University all could be different. However, during these breaks, college students can face charges for OVI, which is sometimes called DUI.
A person can be charged with a DUI in Ohio if he or she is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or a combination of them, according to Ohio Revised Code §4511.19. Drivers also can be charged if they have a blood alcohol concentration greater than the legal limit of 0.08.
Some people may forget that drugged driving also could constitute DUI charges. According to Ohio law, certain amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD and marijuana in a person’s blood could be considered an intoxicating amount. This can be proven through blood tests or using Drug Recognition Experts.
When college students are charged with DUI offenses during spring break, their vacation could be significantly changed. After an arrest, a driver could face various penalties, most of which are determined by the offender’s criminal history. This offense often is a college student’s first interaction with the criminal justice system.
According to §4511.19(G) the standard charge for a first-time DUI offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Under this law, a person could face between 72 and 180 days in jail, a fine up to $1,075 or both. Additionally, a person could face having his or her license suspended.
If the driver is younger than the legal age of 21 years old, he or she could face additional charges and penalties. For instance, they could be charged with underage alcohol consumption in addition to a DUI offense. This offense can carry up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, probation and community service.
In addition to court-issued punishments for DUI offenses, a college student could face life-altering repercussions at his or her university. Each Ohio-area university has different policies and procedures in place for handling their students after a criminal offense has been committed.
Ohio State University’s policies regarding student disciplinary hearings states that an attorney may advise a student regarding his or her hearing, but the lawyer may not actually represent the student at the hearing. This means a student could receive legal advice before the hearing, which still can prove beneficial when moving forward after an offense.
In some cases, students could face losing scholarships or even being suspended from the university. These accusations should be taken seriously both in criminal court and in college administrative matters. An experienced attorney can walk you through each step of the process and help you gather the evidence needed to fight the charges.
If you have been arrested and charged with a drunk driving offense on spring break, contact a Columbus DUI defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm. Brian Joslyn and his legal team are experienced in handling a variety of drunk driving-related offenses. They can help you throughout the criminal process and with any college-related issues that arise as a result of the charges. Call (614) 444-1900 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.
Local Ohio organization Cop Block recently protested a planned drunk driving checkpoint in Washington Township in Montgomery County arguing the stops are unconstitutional.
Members of the organization allegedly advised drivers to turn around and take an alternate route to avoid stopping at the police-organized checkpoint, according to ABC 22 News. The group allegedly did so because members believe the checkpoints are not in accordance with law.
DUI checkpoints, or OVI checkpoints, are police-planned stops in which law enforcement officers use cones and barricades to funnel traffic into an area in which drivers can be questioned. The vehicles are temporarily stopped in a specific sequence and drivers are checked for symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
DUI checkpoints and roadblocks are highly controversial and the actions often are debated around the country. Drivers wonder if the stops are legitimate, especially because law enforcement officers should have probable cause to stop a vehicle.
However, DUI checkpoints are considered legal in nearly 40 states, including Ohio. According to the ruling in Michigan v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444, checkpoints are valid because the dangers of drunk driving outweigh the “degree of intrusion” involved in sobriety checkpoints. The ruling also said these checkpoints are an exception to the search and seizure provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
This does not mean officers have no procedure to follow while administering the checkpoints. There are requirements law enforcement agencies must follow when not only planning but administering the stops. For instance, a pattern of which vehicles to stop must be established prior to the checkpoint.
Additionally, police officers must have a strong reason to believe a person is impaired before they can stop the driver for an extended period of time. For example, if an officer smells alcohol or marijuana during the temporary stop, there is reasonable suspicion the person is impaired. The officer could ask the driver to pull over.
Then, the officers are expected to follow the same protocol he or she would during a routine traffic stop where the officer suspects the driver is impaired. A breath test likely would be administered, and an arrest could follow, depending on the results.
The advance planning of these checkpoints are crucial when ensuring they are carried out legally. For instance, it is a requirement that the checkpoints and roadblocks be published in advance. This could mean having the information in the local newspaper or even announced on radio stations, sometimes weeks in advance.
Although the stops are highly debated, drivers should remain cooperative during the checkpoints. This could make the situation easier and allow drivers to continue moving through the stop without issues. Rolling down windows and listening to law enforcement can help ease the hassle of the roadblock.
A proposed bill in the Oklahoma Senate would impose additional restrictions on those convicted of a drunk driving offense, including prohibiting them from purchasing and consuming alcohol for a certain period of time after the alleged offense.
State Sen. Patrick Anderson proposed the new regulations under Senate Bill 30. This law essentially would prohibit those convicted on DUI charges from buying or consuming alcohol for a probationary period, which would be determined by a judge during sentencing.
According to the bill, this could apply if a person is convicted of operating a vehicle or being in control of a motor vehicle while he or she was under the influence of alcohol. This would be applied no matter the type of DUI offense, even if it is a person’s first offense.
The bill also would require that a notation of this new restriction be affixed to the person’s driver license at the time it is reinstated. This means any time a person has to present identification, he or she is revealing the previous conviction with the notice “Alcohol Restricted.” Additionally, a notice of the order must be given to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.
The restriction would remain on the driver’s license for the entirety of the period that the court determines, according to the bill. The restriction may be modified or removed by order of the court, and if this is done, notice of the order must be given to the department.
Once the restriction period has expired, the department would remove the restriction. However, the driver likely would have to get another license to have the notification of the restriction removed. This could be a costly and timely punishment.
If a person fails to meet the requirements under the new law, he or she could face additional penalties. According to the bill, a violation “may be punished as deemed proper by the sentencing court.” This means the penalties could vary depending on the situation.
Additionally, it would be considered a felony offense to knowingly sell, deliver or furnish alcoholic beverages to a person who has been ordered to abstain or refrain from consuming alcohol. Violating this could mean a fine between $500 and $1,000, up to one year in jail or both.
Currently in Ohio, when a driver is convicted of a DUI, or OVI offense, he or she can face several harsh penalties, including jail time, expensive fines and ignition interlock devices. No matter the charge, it can be beneficial to have an experienced Columbus DUI defense attorney on your side.
The use of technology and smart phones has been on the rise in recent years, and now developers have established applications that could help drunk drivers find alternative ways to get home safely.
According to Popular Science, the makers of a portable breath analysis device called Breathometer have teamed up with ride-sharing company Uber to help those who are intoxicated find a ride home without endangering anyone or getting arrested for driving under the influence.
Breathometer is one of several types of breath analysis hardware that connects to a smart phone. The devices work with an application on the phone to calculate a person’s blood alcohol content, which would be similar to what a police officer would use at a traffic stop.
Now, through the collaboration with Uber, when a person blows a blood alcohol content level greater than 0.04, the Breathometer application will prompt the person to use a certain feature called Get Home Safe. This allows the person to request an Uber driver, call a traditional cab or call a designated driver.
According to the article, since the companies have collaborated, in the past nine weeks 42 percent of users who registered a BAC of 0.04 or more visited the Get Home Safe feature. Of that 42 percent, more than half of those people chose an Uber driver as an option.
In Ohio, the legal BAC limit is 0.08. If a person is stopped by a police officer and registers a BAC over the legal limit, he or she automatically can be charged with a DUI. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, it could be considered a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense. For instance, if the driver has a history of DUI convictions, he or she could face a felony charge.
If a person in Ohio registers a BAC of 0.17 or more through a breath test or a 0.238 or more in a urine test, the charge could be considered a high test DUI. This is more serious than a low test DUI because the penalties are stricter.
Although these offenses should be taken seriously, drivers could face more serious offenses if he or she causes damage or injury to something or someone as a result of getting behind the wheel intoxicated. These charges can include OVI with property damage, vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter.
These developments can be interesting, but drivers should not use these applications and their results when determining if he or she is capable of driving safely. In these instances, the application may not be completely accurate as to the exact level of intoxication, but it can be a good indication the person is impaired.
A person should use his or her better judgment when consuming any amount of alcohol and avoid driving. Getting behind the wheel after consuming any amount of alcohol could lead to a variety of DUI-related charges.
The Ohio Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments for a case in which a driver who was convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol appealed his sentence claiming it was unreasonable and was an abuse of discretion.
The case of State v. South, 2014-Ohio-374 was the result of 2012 accident in which the defendant allegedly crashed his car into a pole and left the scene of the accident with the license plate. Police tracked him to his house, observed the license plate in his home and smelled the alcohol on his breath, according to court documents.
Police asked the defendant to participate in field sobriety tests, and the officers arrested him. After arriving at the police station, he consented to a breathalyzer test, which showed his blood alcohol concentration at .087, which is above the legal limit. Officers also discovered he had prior OVI convictions and a suspended driver’s license.
A grand jury indicted the defendant on two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, each under different Ohio statutes. The first OVI count also contained an attendant specification based on South’s previously having been convicted of five or more OVI offenses within the last 20 years, which is a violation of R.C. 2941.1413.
The defendant was convicted on both OVI charges, a driving on suspension charge and a failure to control charge, which was a misdemeanor offense. The court merged the two OVI counts for purposes of sentencing, and the driver was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison.
Now, the defendant argues his counsel was ineffective because he or she failed to litigate the admissibility of the datamaster results. Additionally, he says the trial court abused its discretion by sentencing him to eight years in prison. The court of appeals agreed with the defendant’s second argument, saying the court issued a sentence that was contrary to law.
The driver was convicted of a third-degree felony OVI, as well as a specification for previously having been convicted of five or more OVI offenses within 20 years of his current offense. His sentence, therefore, had to consist of at least a five year mandatory prison term on his specification.
The court imposed an additional prison term on the underlying OVI offense. According to court documents, the mandatory prison term should be run “consecutively to and prior to the prison term imposed for the underlying offense.”
The appeals court vacated the portion of the defendant’s sentence related to his OVI conviction and the specification linked to that conviction, leaving the other portions of his sentence intact. Now the Ohio Supreme Court is expected to rule at a later date.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced last week he would like to see state lawmakers pass legislation with more severe penalties for drunk and drugged driving offenses, including a new felony DUI law.
Current Colorado law makes DUI offenses a misdemeanor charge, unless a person was injured as a result of the offense. House Bill 15-1043 would make it a felony to be charged with three DUIs within seven years, according to ABC 7News in Denver.
This means drivers who are arrested for a third DUI within a seven-year period automatically would face felony DUI charges. Additionally, the upgraded charges would apply if someone is caught driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle, injures a person or damages property.
In Ohio, DUI laws already are strict, and drivers who find themselves facing charges for getting behind the wheel while intoxicated can expect harsh consequences. A felony drunk or drugged driving charge is the consequence of either having multiple DUI convictions on your record, or if you were in an accident where there was serious bodily injury or death.
A felony charge for a DUI offense in Ohio likely would be applied if the defendant has been convicted of three or more DUIs within a six-year period. This offense is considered a fourth-degree felony, which could include up to 18 months in prison.
Drivers in Ohio also could face felony DUI charges if they cause serious bodily injury to a person, which would be a felony of the third-degree. Penalties associated with this charge would be more severe and could include up to five years in prison.
If a person kills another while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is considered aggravated vehicular homicide. This is a first-degree felony, the most severe of all felony charges. It could mean up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
If the Colorado house bill is approved, drivers in the Centennial State who leave the scene of an accident or have a blood alcohol content of more than 0.15 also could face felony DUI charges. The level of alcohol would be considered far greater than the legal limit, which is 0.08.
Ohio drivers who are accused of leaving the scene, also known as a hit and run, could face felony charges, depending on the circumstances of the incident. If a person was injured or killed and an intoxicated driver left the scene, he or she could face severe felony penalties.
Additionally, drivers in Ohio who have a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.17 could face steeper charges. Unlike the Colorado legislation, the offense in Ohio is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, rather than a felony.
However, there still are steep consequences for blowing such a high level blood alcohol concentration. If it is a person’s first offense, he or she must wait at least 14 days before getting his or her driving privileges reinstated and may be required to have yellow plates or an immobilizing device added to the vehicle.
The best way to avoid facing charges for a DUI no matter the state is to make smart decisions. If you plan to imbibe, designate a driver who can get you and others home safely. The risk of drinking and driving is not worth the potential harm to yourself and others.
Any DUI offense carries the potential for serious penalties. For those with prior convictions, howeve,r the consequences become even more severe.
This was the case with an Ohio native who was sentenced to 8 years in prison this week for his 7th DUI offense in 14 years. The convicted man, who faced charges in a Lebanon, Ohio court, was arrested on multiple traffic charges after crashing his car less than a year after being released for a previous DUI conviction.
As an accused offender’s prior number of convictions increase, so do the penalties that they face in court. For a third DUI charge, offenders can find themselves facing penalties such as:
- 30 day minimum jail term or combination of jail and electronically monitored house arrest for BAC of .08 – .17
- 60 day minimum jail term or combination of jail and electronically monitored house arrest for BAC of over .17
- $850 – $2750 fine
- Two to 10 years of court license suspension (separate from an administrative suspension)
- Two years or more of administrative license suspension
- Mandatory enrollment in a treatment program
These penalties can vary depending on the individual case, and they may be increased if the offender’s blood alcohol level was above .17, also known as a High BAC Offense. Attorneys can fight diligently on behalf of their clients to reduce charges or sentencing, but prior convictions make this more difficult.
Outside of the courtroom, offenders could face high increases in insurance premiums or disqualification from certain carriers altogether. Many professions, such as teachers, doctors, or law enforcement, can face disciplinary issues or even termination for DUI offenses, and the chances of serious actions that threaten a person’s career can greatly increase for repeat offenders.
Any DUI charge carries very serious consequences that could affect your life for years to come. However, if a driver is found to have a blood alcohol level that is above .17, he or she can be charged under even more strenuous circumstances. A DUI offense involving a high BAC level carries even steeper penalties than a normal DUI arrest.
In the event of a traffic stop, law enforcement may request that you provide a breath, urine, or blood sample to test your blood alcohol content(BAC). You have the right to refuse these tests and deny the prosecution physical evidence against you, but this option carries consequences. Ohio’s implied consent laws means that any driver on Ohio’s roads can face penalties such as a revocation of their driving privileges is they refuse to submit to a BAC test.
If a driver does provide a sample, any amount over .08 is grounds for a DUI arrest, formally known as OVI, but a BAC higher than .17 carries even steeper penalties. Any DUI arrest carries an automatic suspension of driving privileges, and for first time offenders facing an arrest for a high BAC level, they must wait 14 days before any driving abilities can be re-instated. They may also be required to install special plates or an immobilizing device on their vehicle.
In addition, a High BAC DUI arrest means that the offender faces a presumptive sentence of 6 months in prison. The fine for a first offense is a minimum of $375 that may be extended up to $1,075. The court may also extend any license suspension for up to 3 years. The offender may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device, which requires a driver to produce a clean breath sample before starting the vehicle. The costs for this device, which includes a monthly operation fee and installation and removal fall on the shoulders of the accused, and these can total into the hundreds of dollars.
Outside of a courtroom, any DUI charge can lead to other consequences. Your auto insurance rates will likely increase dramatically, and you may even be dropped from your coverage altogether. If you are employed in certain professions, such as a teacher, doctor, or pilot, your career could be threatened by a DUI conviction.
The potential penalties of a DUI, including High BAC offenses, increase greatly based on the driver’s prior offenses. The Department of Motor Vehicles’ website lists more specific details about DUI and DWI offenses in Ohio.
In a December post, we discussed the recently disclosed issue of Ohio’s DUI registry. The publically accessible database of repeat DUI offenders was established in 2008 in an attempt to aid law enforcement and the criminal justice system in properly handling repeat offenders and keeping them off of the streets. Similar to the sex offender registry, this list allows the public to view the information of repeat drunk drivers with more than 5 convictions in a 20 year period. Examination of the database in recent months have revealed, however, that the records were largely out-dated and incomplete, leaving a time-investment for law enforcement with very little practical use.
However, an update released by the Columbus Dispatch this week suggests that the database is receiving a much needed update. Since October, the registry has grown from 520 names to over 5,300 offenders. The public can search through the online registry by name, county, or zip code on the website.
The newly improved database includes nearly 400 repeat drunk drivers in Franklin County, with many across the state who have been convicted more than 7 times.
Critics of the registry argue that the database is still far from reliably accurate. The Dispatch article cites several incorrect addresses for offenders, pointing to lingering issues that could interfere with the effectiveness of the list.
In addition, the unofficial nature of the registry makes it of little use to prosecutors or court officials. There are more reliable information sources available to officers, lawyers, and judges that can inform on a person’s DUI history, so the registry is seldom used by officials. This could label the database as a waste of tax dollars and the time spent to maintain it.
Supporters of the database cite the goal as a tool for the public rather than court officials, though. The registry was created in the hopes that public scrutiny would put pressure on repeat offenders and make Ohio’s streets safer.
In the event that the database remains in use, however, it is easy to see that accuracy is key in maintaining any use for the tool. Officials say that they will strive to make the registry even more accurate and updated in the future.
With the winter holidays right around the corner, it’s important to remember that law enforcement will be out on the streets, keeping an eye out for those driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Checkpoints will be set up across the state to catch both local drivers and those visiting from out-of-state. Police will be eager to stop those suspected of driving drunk, and they will not go easy on you just because of the holidays. The consequences for being arrested for a DUI offense can put a serious damper on your holiday plans, so it is important to remain vigilant about information regarding local DUI checkpoints.
A checkpoint may require you to take a test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) through a breath, urine, or blood test. If you are found to have a BAC over .08, you can be arrested for DUI. However, if it is above .17 you face even steeper consequences. Implied consent in Ohio means that any driver with an Ohio license has consented to a BAC test while on the road. You can legally refuse this test, which will result in an automatic suspension of your license for a year, but it will also deny prosecutors physical evidence against you in a DUI charge.
For those facing their first offense of DUI, they could spend up to 180 days in jail and pay up to $1,075 in fines. In addition, they face an immediate license suspension after being arrested. This suspension may be lifted as a result of your case, but in the meantime it can cause serious problems for traveling to gatherings or to finish your Christmas shopping.
Remember that if you’re a professional such as a teacher, doctor, lawyer, or member of the military, your career could suffer as a result of a DUI charge. Your license to practice may be suspended, or your may simply lose a future opportunity for promotion. If you are arrested for DUI during the holiday season, a lawyer can seek to have your case dismissed or defend you in the upcoming case. In some situations, you may be able to have your offense expunged, preventing it from interfering with your future opportunities.
For students in particular, a DUI charge can interfere with your education. An arrest for DUI will require you to face a disciplinary hearing at your school, which could lead to suspension, expulsion, or the loss of a scholarship. An attorney may not be able to speak on your behalf at this hearing, but you can still enlist one to advice you on how to defend yourself during this situation.
While enjoying time with friends and loved ones, it’s important to remember that drinking and driving is never safe and can lead to dire consequences. If you do find yourself facing a DUI charge, consult an attorney for legal advice and the best chance at defending yourself.
Also posted in Holiday Arrests
Tagged DUI, Holiday