OVI Lawyer Near Me

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OVI Lawyer Near Me

In the 1980s, an extended crackdown against “drunk drivers” began. Elements of this crackdown included tougher laws and harsher law enforcement tools. Lawmakers lowered the legal BAC level and re-worded the OVI law to make these cases easier to prove in court. Ignition interlock devices and DUI checkpoints are the most obvious examples of enhanced law enforcement tools.

If you are charged with OVI or DUI, the deck is stacked against you. Only a dedicated OVI lawyer near you from The VanNoy Firm can level the playing field. Our professional team knows how to successfully challenge the state’s evidence. Since prosecutors have the burden of proof, less available evidence means an OVI lawyer near you has a better chance of successfully resolving these serious charges. 

Drunk Driving Stops

Normally, officers must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to launch DUI investigations. These investigations normally include the “have you been drinking?” question. The field sobriety tests, which are discussed below, are even more important. Reasonable suspicion of intoxication usually includes things like:

  • Erratic driving prior to the stop,
  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Odor of alcohol,
  • Unconsciousness, and
  • Slurred speech.

The reasonable suspicion rule does not fully apply at DUI checkpoints. Officers must have reasonable suspicion to investigate individual motorists. They do not need reasonable suspicion to detain them. A person’s place in line is sufficient.

Challenging the FSTs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved three field sobriety tests for law enforcement use in Ohio. Each test has reliability issues.

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: The DUI eye test usually detects nystagmus, or involuntary pupil movement. However, roadside HGN tests are not administered under controlled conditions and are thus unreliable. 
  • Walk and Turn: Roadside heel to toe walk tests are also rather unreliable. Many officers force defendants to walk imaginary lines. That is a nearly impossible task. It is even more difficult if the defendant wore high heels, flip flops, cowboy boots, or anything other than athletic shoes.
  • One Leg Stand: Many officers testify that the defendant “failed” this test based on minor technicalities, like elevating the wrong leg, holding it at the right angle, or dropping it a few moments too soon.

The field sobriety tests usually serve as probable cause for the arrest. Additionally, if the defendant refused to submit a chemical sample, prosecutors must use these field tests to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Chemical Test Issues

About 80% of OVI defendants voluntarily submit chemical samples. The sample is nearly always a breath sample. The modern Breathalyzer is essentially an updated version of the 1920s Drunk-O-Meter. As such, the Breathalyzer, despite all its bells and whistles, has some serious flaws. Some of them include:

  • Unabsorbed Alcohol: If the defendant had been drinking in the last hour or so, that alcohol is in the person’s breath, but not yet in the person’s blood. So, the Breathalyzer’s BAC estimate might be artificially high.
  • Mouth Alcohol: If the defendant burps or vomits within the 15 minutes prior to the test, alcohol particles flood into the mouth and skew the BAC estimate.
  • Calibration: Breathalyzers are temperature-sensitive instruments. Especially during certain times of the year, the air temperature in Ohio changes quickly and drastically. Additionally, a Breathalyzer might not fully account for a person’s fever, if any.

To drive home these flaws with jurors, an OVI lawyer near you often partners with a degreed chemist or other expert witness.

Contact a Dedicated Lawyer

OVI has very serious direct and collateral consequences. For a confidential consultation with an experienced OVI lawyer near you, contact The VanNoy Firm. Home, virtual, and after-hours visits are available.

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