Fewer Thanksgiving Traffic Deaths in Ohio, But More OVI Arrests


Perhaps the best news in the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) statistical recap of statewide reported activity over Thanksgiving weekend was that that number of traffic fatalities decreased by more than half from 2014.

Following annual increased from 12 deaths in 2012 to 17 in 2013 and 23 in 2014, the nine people killed in traffic accidents in the Buckeye State during the holiday weekend was the lowest total of the four-year period.

Many arrests and citations, however, increased from the previous year’s figures. More motorists were ticketed or arrested in 2015 for operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI), aggressive driving, drug charges, and driving with a suspended license than 2014.

The number of felony arrests increased 25 percent from 48 in 2014 to 60 this year. The 498 OVI arrests in 2015 were 11.2 percent higher than the 448 in 2014, and the 212 drug arrests this year were a 19.1 percent increase from the 178 last year.

The Thanksgiving holiday period annually consists of the five days from 12:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Eve to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. While the decrease in the number of deaths on the road is certainly a welcome development, the number of drivers who were charged with other offenses show that law enforcement in the state is not simply relaxing during the holiday period.

The increased police presence is likely to continue for the remainder of the year. The Fremont News-Messenger reported on December 3 that the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office will have deputies working overtime during the Christmas and New Year Holiday season to enforce traffic laws, with an emphasis on OVI and speed enforcement.

The Associated Press reported that state troopers in Ohio recently joined in a six-state crackdown on impaired driving with state police from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia during the weekend of December 4 through December 6.

The OSHP said the effort to create high visibility enforcement on the highway was aimed at making the roadways safer and “part of a multi-state partnership to coordinate law enforcement and security services in the areas of highway safety, criminal patrol and intelligence sharing.”

It is increasingly clear that there will be a robust police presence on roads throughout Ohio for the remainder of 2015. People everywhere should make every effort to avoid getting behind the wheel if they plan on consuming alcohol.

If you do not have a designated driver, look into possible public transportation options in your area or consider calling a taxi or rideshare service. Rest assured that whatever the cost is of paying for a ride home (and any fees should your vehicle be towed after a night out), that amount will always cost you less than the several thousands of dollars that are part of any arrest for OVI or driving under the influence (DUI).

If you are arrested for OVI anywhere in Ohio, then you should immediately contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Columbus, for help minimizing the possible penalties you could face. Remember that an arrest is never an automatic conviction, and there may be multiple factors that could lead to criminal charges being reduced or dismissed.

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Drinking and Driving on Halloween Could Haunt You for Years


The annual Halloween Block Party in Athens, Ohio, draws thousands of people to Southeastern Ohio for several blocks of music and live entertainment. For more than 40 years, people have dressed up and partied during the Block Party typically held on the Saturday closest to Halloween.

With Halloween actually falling on a Saturday this year and a minimal chance of rain, a sizeable turnout is expected once again this year. Ohio University students comprise a sizeable number of attendees, but students from many other colleges and non-students alike also partake in the festivities.

Inevitably, local and state police are very busy during the Block Party. More than 100 people have been arrested during some years past. A significant majority of these arrests are alcohol-related.

While the misdemeanor offense of underage drinking is perhaps the most common criminal charge within the Athens city limits, it is important for people planning on attending the Halloween Block Party to keep in mind that authorities in many surrounding communities know that other Ohioans will be travelling to and from that area of the state this weekend. It is safe to expect police throughout the Buckeye State to set up several checkpoints in an effort to arrest alleged offenders for the more serious offense of operating vehicle under the influence (OVI).

Out-of-state visitors may know this criminal charge as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Whether or not you are a resident, a drunk driving conviction in Ohio can have serious long-term implications.

Even first-time OVI arrests can result in fines of more than $1,000, a driver’s license suspension, and possible jail time. People who are arrested in Athens or a surrounding community cannot assume that these criminal charges will not follow them back home—even if they live in a different state.

The absolute surest and safest way for Halloween Block Party attendees to avoid DUI arrests this holiday weekend is to avoid driving altogether. Ohio’s GoBus has several routes emanating from Athens, including such destinations as Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and even connecting to out-of-state locations like Chicago and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

While the GoBus has rather limited hours of operation, it could be in the best interest of some Athens partygoers who do not have sleeping arrangements to simply call a cab. The cost a couple hundred dollars that a taxi from Athens to Columbus would cost is still infinitely preferable to the thousands of dollars and many additional consequences a DUI charge would cost an alleged offender.

If you are arrested for OVI anywhere in Ohio on Halloween weekend, you should immediately seek legal counsel. An experienced Columbus DUI lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine the best possible defenses that may result in criminal charges being reduced or even completely dismissed.

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Dangers of Drinking and Driving Memorial Day Weekend

CelebratingWomen-SMemorial Day weekend is the official beginning of summer for most, and this means an increase in families traveling on the roadway for picnics, vacations and parties. AAA predicts more than 1.45 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles this upcoming weekend.

However, this fun holiday can be one of the most dangerous times to travel, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reported 377 crash-related fatalities during the Memorial Day holiday period in 2012. These crashes could be caused by a variety of factors, including driving under the influence, which tends to increase during this holiday weekend.

A person can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Ohio if he or she is found to be intoxicated by either substance or a combination of substances. This could be demonstrated by the person having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater or if he or she fails a different chemical test.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be cracking down on those who drink and drive during this weekend. Checkpoints and road blocks likely will be set up throughout Franklin County and the surrounding areas to deter drunk driving and catch those who violate the law.

The penalties for a DUI, or OVI, offense could be harsh and could include jail time, expensive fines and other restrictions. If a person is accused of causing damage to property or injuring another person as a result of a DUI-related crash, he or she could face severe sanctions.

Some of the worst DUI-related accidents are those in which a person is killed because someone decided to get behind the wheel drunk or under the influence of drugs. This could be considered an aggravated vehicular homicide charge. These cases are not handled lightly, and the prosecution is adamant about getting a conviction.

Generally, OVI aggravated vehicular homicide charges are considered second-degree felonies. This could mean between two and eight years in prison, court-adjudicated prison time, $15,000 in fines and a Class 1 driver’s license revocation for the rest of the person’s life.

If a person is convicted of an OVI aggravated vehicular homicide and he or she had a suspended or revoked driver’s license at the time of the offense, it could be considered a first-degree felony. Penalties for the offense could include between three and 10 years in prison, court-adjudicated mandatory prison time, $20,000 in fines and a Class 1 driver’s license revocation for the rest of the person’s life.

Having prior traffic-related homicide, manslaughter or assault offenses also could make an OVI aggravated vehicular manslaughter charge a first-degree felony. The penalties could be the same as if he or she did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the offense.

Certain other prior offenses could make an OVI vehicular homicide charge a first-degree felony, including three guilty adjudications of OVI in the last six years, a guilty adjudication for a second or subsequent felony DUI offense or three guilty adjudications of physical control OVI in the last six years.

This first-degree felony could mean between 10 and 15 years in prison, a $20,000 fine and a Class 1 driver’s license revocation for the rest of the person’s life. If you have been accused of this offense, having an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side could be critical.

No matter the situation, getting behind the wheel intoxicated during this holiday weekend is a bad idea. This scenario could lead to getting arrested for an OVI or possibly harming someone because of a crash. Your future and the lives of others should not be put at risk. Have a designated driver on hand if you do decide to imbibe, and have a safe holiday weekend.

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Super Bowl Weekend is High Risk Time for DUI Offenses

Sports fans across the country are gearing up for the anticipated Super Bowl game this weekend. This means that tens of thousands will be partying with their friends while cheering for their favorite team. Alcohol often comes into the mix while watching the game and it is important for drivers to remember the dire consequences of driving while under the influence. Whether you’re enjoying a good time at the World of Beer, checking out the Super Bowl Party at Ohio University with friends, or visiting a friend’s house, be sure to plan ahead and never drive home if you are impaired.

State patrol troopers in Ohio made 63 arrests for drunk driving, officially known as OVI, last year during Super Bowl weekend. More than 99 local law enforcement groups will be setting up checkpoints and keeping a sharp eye out for anyone under the influence, and they will not hesitate to arrest offenders.

Even a first DUI charge carries the potential for severe consequences, including up to 6 months in jail and a fine of over $1000. You may also face a suspension of your driving privileges for up to 6 months and some careers can be threatened by even a first conviction. Subsequent DUI charges carry even harsher sentencing.

If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI offense, an officer may request that you provide a breath, blood, or urine sample to test the alcohol content of your blood. You have the right to refuse to submit to these tests, but a refusal carries a price. “Implied Consent” laws in Ohio mean that by driving on the roads in Ohio you have consented to DUI testing. When you refuse to uphold this consent, you face a minimum jail sentence of 3 days that may be extended to 6 months, a fine between $375 and $1,075, suspension of your driving privileges from 6 months to 3 years and the possibility of an interlock ignition device being required for your car. Refusing to submit a sample for a BAC test may lead to these penalties, but it can deny prosecutors physical evidence against you for a DUI charge, so it is important to carefully consider your options.

If an officer suspects that you are impaired, the odds are good that you will be arrested for the offense. If you are detained, contacting a lawyer as soon as possible may help you avoid serious consequences or minimize the damage to your future. An experienced DUI attorney can intervene on your behalf and may be able to seek out alternate sentencing such as rehabilitation programs in lieu of jail time.

When enjoying one of America’s favorite events, have fun with your loved ones and friends, but remember to designate a sober driver or make arrangements to keep you and your friends off of the streets if alcohol is served at your Super Bowl party.

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Holiday Celebrations and DUI Warnings

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.

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Labor Day Weekend OVI in Ohio

As the summer draws to a close, many tourists and locals will be out to finish the season with a last hurrah over Labor Day weekend. The four-day weekend induced by the National Holiday will give everyone a chance to take trips, socialize, and relax. For some, that includes drinking with friends, and in light of the festivities, it’s important to proceed with caution when alcohol is involved. The Columbus police force will be on the look-out for drunk or drugged drivers, and may have checkpoints set-up to catch those with a BAC of more than .08. Nearly 700 individuals were reported as OVI, or more commonly known as DUI, offenders for 2012, and both local officers and highway patrolmen will be on high alert.

If you are pulled over while driving, that means that the officer already has probable cause, meaning a compelling reason, to stop you. This can range from a broken tail-light to speeding, but once you are stopped, the officer will keep an eye out for any signs of intoxication. If an officer notices any of the following, you may be arrested on suspicion of OVI:

  • Slurred or nonsensical speech
  • Inability to follow the officer’s directions
  • Statements or admission of guilt by you or a passenger
  • Open containers in the vehicle
  • Smell of alcohol
  • Unusually enlarged or constricted pupils

The officer may suspect that you are intoxicated if he finds any of the above, and you may be asked to complete a field sobriety test. You are not legally required to take this test, and it can be more difficult to pass than one would expect. If you refuse the test or fail, you may be asked to take a BAC test in the form of a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test. There are legal ramifications for refusing these tests, unlike the field sobriety test.

If you are arrested for OVI in Ohio this weekend, you could face anywhere between 180 days and 18 months in prison and / or up to $5,000 in fines, depending on your circumstances. You may also have your license suspended and you may be required to participate in an intervention program. Remember that in the event of an arrest, you do have the right to remain silent and it may be in your best interest to consult an attorney before speaking to the police.

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4th of July DUI in Ohio

Independence Day is a time to celebrate American history with family and friends, but it can be easy to get caught up in the festivities. The Fourth of July is one of the biggest days of the year for driving under the influence arrests, commonly known as DUI, DWI or OVI depending on the state. In 2011, almost 600 OVI arrests were made by Ohio State Highway Patrol. Ohio has strict laws and harsh penalties for those convicted of an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence) offense, ranging from prison time to heavy fines and driver’s license suspensions. These accusations carry serious consequences that can impact all areas of your life.

A person found to have blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than .08 while in physical control of a vehicle can be charged with OVI, according to Chapter 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code. The penalties for the offense increase, however, if the person’s BAC is higher than .17.

The majority of DUI offenders have never been charged before and are facing their first DUI. For first-time offenders with BAC of less than .17, an OVI is usually categorized as a first degree misdemeanor. This can carry a sentence of up to 6 months in prison, but any OVI convictions comes with a mandatory 3 days in jail. If the driver had BAC over .17, however, they may also be required to participate in a driver’s intervention program. In addition, an offender convicted of OVI can face fines from $375 to $1, 075, and the person’s driving privileges can also be suspended from 6 months to three years. A defense attorney may be able to assist you with getting a special permit to drive for purposes such as education and work during your suspension.

If an offender is charged with another DUI within 6 years, the penalties increase as outlined by Ohio Revised Code 4511.19. For a second OVI offense, the offender must serve a mandatory 10 days in jail, and may be sentenced for up to 6 additional months. Fines of up to $1500 can also be ordered, and your license can also be suspended. Subsequent OVI charges continue to increase potential consequences, and if you accrue more than 3 OVIs within 6 years, you may be charged with Felony DUI in Ohio. This means that the charge is a fourth degree felony, and carries potential sentences of up to $10,000 in fines and / or up to 5 years in prison.

In addition to jail time and fees, OVIs can have other negative impacts on your future. Unless a lawyer can help you get the charges reduced or dropped, the offense may go on your record, which can affect your educational, housing, and employment opportunities. Your insurance will probably go up if you are convicted, and you can even be dropped altogether.

Remember to drive safely during the festivities this Independence Day. If you find yourself facing charges after the holiday, seeking legal help may be the best option to work toward a not-guilty verdict, a case dismissal or another favorable outcome. An attorney may be able to fight a blood or urine test, as these tests are administered by humans and are subject to error. These tests are often the prosecution’s key evidence against you, and a lawyer can try to get these thrown out, minimizing your chances of a conviction.

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