Scott M. Kuboff, Esq.
Northeast Ohio Trial Attorney

Understanding Your Rights

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Posts tagged DUI
New OVI/DUI Law In Effect

Ohio H.B. 388, known as "Annie's Law," modifies Ohio's OVI/DUI sentencing in significant ways and is effective April 6, 2017.  Most notably, Annie's Law provides the following changes:

Unlimited Privileges with Ignition Interlock 
Under former OVI/DUI law, courts granted "limited" driving privileges for work, school, medical appointments and court.   These privileges restricted people's ability to drive except for the limited times on specified days.  

Under Annie's Law, first-time OVI/DUI offenders can now obtain "unlimited" driving privileges provided, of course, that an ignition interlock device is installed in their car.   An ignition interlock is, for lack of a better description, a portable breathalyzer that is connected to your car.   In order to start the car, you must pass a breath test.

Jail Suspended for First Offenders with Ignition Interlock
Under former OVI/DUI law, a first offender had to serve a minimum of 3 days in jail.   Most had the privilege to do so at a 3-day Driver Intervention Program (DIP) which are hosted in local hotels. 

Under Annie's Law, if the first offender has "unlimited" privileges with the interlock device, the court must suspend all jail during the period of the license suspension.  

Longer License Suspensions
Annie's Law increased the license suspensions for all offenders:

1st OVI/DUI:  1 to 3 years (was 6 months to 3 years)
2nd OVI/DUI: 1 to 7 years (was 1 to 5 years)
3rd OVI/DUI: 2 to 12 years (was 2 to 10 years)

1/2 License Suspensions for First Offenders with Ignition Interlock
For first offenders with "unlimited" privileges and an interlock device, the court can reduce the license suspension by half.  In other words, a 1 year suspension would be 6 months with an interlock device.  

10-Year "Look-Back" Period
OVI/DUI are "enhanceable" offenses; meaning each subsequent offense comes with increased penalties.   The "look-back" period is the time between (1) date of old conviction and (2) date of new charge.  Under former OVI/DUI law, the "look-back" period was 6 years.  Under Annie's Law, the "look-back" period is 10 years. 

For More Detailed Information
Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler publishes the gold-standard for OVI/DUI sentencing and penalties.   I do not know any OVI/DUI lawyer who doesn't have a copy of this guide in his or her briefcase.   Check it out here.  

If you have been charged with an OVI/DUI, want a comprehensive defense, and need immediate driving privileges, contact Scott, for a no cost, no obligation consultation and case evaluation. 

UYR: Your Rights at Checkpoints

A lot of attention has been directed towards the Mayfield Heights Police Department (MHPD) for the fake drug checkpoint they created a few weeks ago. To catch you up to speed, the MHPD placed signs on I-271 which read "Drug Checkpoint Ahead." However, there was no checkpoint as it would most likely be unconstitutional. Instead, the signs were placed as a ruse to stop drivers who took evasive actions such driving over the grassy median or at emergency vehicle crossings, both of which are traffic violations giving rise to probable cause to stop the vehicle. 

In response to what is justified criticism, MHPD claimed that it's fake checkpoint is legal because, in fact, there was no checkpoint and the stops of vehicles were justified based upon actual traffic violations. While this arguably passes legal muster, it still is a cheap tactic that unnecessarily placed motorists in danger. 

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has found that stops of motor vehicles are "seizures" under the Fourth Amendment. Generally, in order to be a reasonable and justified seizure, the police must be able to point to specific facts which led them to believe that: (1) the motorist is unlicensed, (2) the automobile is not registered, or (3) either the vehicle or an occupant is subject to seizure for violation of the law. Obviously, stopping a random vehicle at a checkpoint does not fit any of those criteria. However, SCOTUS has found that in order for a checkpoint seizure to satisfy the constitutional requirements of the Fourth Amendment, it too must be reasonable under the circumstances. To this end, SCOTUS defined a balancing test that weights the "gravity of the public concerns served by the seizure, the degree to which the seizure advances the public interest, and the severity of the interference with individual liberty." Applying this balancing test, SCOTUS has upheld the constitutionality of checkpoints set up to (1) detect drunken drivers and (2) illegal immigrants.  Drug checkpoints, however, are not constitutional.   

MHPD claims their "fake checkpoint" was legal because there was, in fact, no checkpoint.   Had there been an actual checkpoint for the specific purpose of finding illegal narcotics, I would anticipate that the courts would have found such action unconstitutional and a violation of the individuals Fourth Amendment right to be free from arbitrary government intrusion.