A DUI case can be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on some specific factors. It cannot be expunged from a criminal record in Ohio. Here are some of the cases our firm successfully resolved.
Case #FCSS-40101 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was pulled over for swerving and straddling the centerline of the roadway. The police officer claimed that client had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, was slurring his speech, and had watery & bloodshot eyes. Client submitted to the three standard field sobriety tests (Walk & Turn test, One Leg Stand test, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test) during which the officer claimed that client exhibited all twenty clues for intoxication. Client was arrested and taken to the police station where he tested a .164 on a BAC DataMaster breath machine. The police charged client with Operating Under the Influence, Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration, and Driving Left of Center. After reviewing the video from the police and written reports, our investigation revealed that client had to take the breath test twice, and the testing officer failed to use a new mouthpiece for the second test. There were also numerous irregularities with all three field sobriety tests. We challenged all aspects of the case with a motion to suppress. Before the court hearing on the motion, the prosecutor dropped the Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration charge and proceeded only on the Under the Influence charge. The judge, however, agreed that all three field sobriety tests were improperly done and ordered them suppressed. Client eventually accepted the prosecutor’s offer to reduce the charge to Reckless Operation.
Case #GCMM-71001 Stow Municipal Court
In response to an anonymous call, the police followed client into the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. Client stated that he had pulled into the parking lot because he had had too much to drink. He was unable to perform the field sobriety tests and was arrested. At the police station, he registered a .237 in a blood-alcohol content breath test. He was cited for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (second offense) and Operating a Vehicle with a blood-alcohol content over the high-end .17 limit. Client was facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days. We challenged the case with a motion to suppress, claiming that the stop violated client’s constitutional rights due to a lack of reasonable suspicion by the officer. The judge denied our motion to suppress. The case was appealed, and the Court of Appeals sided with Attorney Weisenburger and ruled that the municipal court incorrectly denied our motion to suppress. The decision was then reversed, and all charges were dismissed. Special thanks to Attorney Patricia Smith, who handled the appeal in this matter.
Case #HCMM-50601 Newton Falls Municipal Court
Client crashed her vehicle into a ditch. She refused the breath test. Although she had multiple prior DUI convictions, only two were within the prior six years, so the police charged her with a third offense, OVI, OVI Refusal, and Failure to Control. The OVI Refusal carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days in jail if convicted. We filed a Notice to Preserve the police cruiser video and a Demand for Discovery. The police refused to give us a copy of client’s cruiser video. As a result, the prosecutor was forced to dismiss both OVI charges.
Case#CAA-30901 Akron Municipal Court
Client was pulled over for a Marked Lanes violation and failed the Walk & Turn test, the One Leg Stand test, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. She was arrested and taken to the police station, where she tested .151 on an Intoxilyzer 5000 machine. The police charged her with Marked Lanes, Operating Under the Influence, and Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration. In the course of our investigation, we eventually examined, among other items. This simulator was used to calibrate the Intoxilyzer 5000 at the police station, observing condensation in the hosing of the simulator. A suppression motion was filed, resulting in the prosecutor conceding the breath test result and reducing the charge to Physical Control.
Case #ICEM-61601 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was pulled over by a state trooper because he only had one working taillight, and he was driving on the center line repeatedly. He exhibited slurred speech, a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, and bloodshot & glassy eyes. He refused a Portable Breath Test and passed the One Leg Stand test, but failed the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test as well as the Walk & Turn test. Client was then arrested and eventually tested a .132 on the breath test at the state patrol post. He was charged with Operating Under the Influence, Operating with a Prohibited Blood Alcohol Concentration, and a Tail Light violation. We obtained the cruiser video, which showed client driving on, but not over, the center line at least twice and also showed that one of his taillights was not working. On audio, the trooper could be heard telling client that these two infractions were the reason he stopped client’s vehicle. We challenged multiple aspects of the case with a motion to suppress. After pointing out to the prosecutor that neither of the two infractions claimed by the trooper was actually violations of Ohio law (it is not illegal in this jurisdiction to drive ON the centerline, and Ohio law only requires ONE tail light, not two) and therefore the trooper had no apparent reason to stop client’s vehicle, both DUI charges were dismissed. Client agreed to a minor misdemeanor violation with a fine of $150 & court costs.
Case #JCBS-40701 Medina Municipal Court
Client was pulled over because one of his taillights was cracked and emitting white light. His speech was slurred, he exhibited glassy, bloodshot eyes, and he failed the three standard field sobriety tests, stumbling badly and almost falling. He was arrested and taken to the police station, where he initially refused the breath test. Still, He later changed his mind, blowing a .102 on a BAC DataMaster machine. Although he had two prior DUI convictions, they were outside the six-year look-back period, so the police charged him with a first offense level Operating Under the Influence and Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration. We challenged various aspects of the case with a suppression motion. The judge accepted our argument that Ohio law only requires ONE tail light to emit a RED light, ruling that the police officer had no reasonable and articulable suspicion to justify stopping client. All charges were then dismissed.
Case #KCDS-71202 Summit County Common Pleas Court
Client was arrested for a Felony OVI after an eyewitness reported him operating a vehicle in a restaurant parking lot. Client was unable to perform any field sobriety tests. Officers obtained a search warrant for a blood sample and took client to a nearby hospital. Client was subsequently indicted on two counts of Felony OVI with specifications, alleging five or more prior OVI convictions and a BAC level above the enhanced .17 limit. Client was facing the possibility of a thirty-month prison sentence. We filed Motions to Strike the prior convictions based on constitutionality, and, after multiple hearings, the court ruled that several of the prior convictions were constitutionally defective, and banned the prosecution from using them. Accordingly, the prosecutor agreed to amend the charge down to a misdemeanor, second offense OVI. Client was sentenced to 5 months local jail with credit for time served, the minimum mandatory fine of $525 plus court costs, and a two-year license suspension.
Case #LCDO-51201 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was pulled over for driving 53 MPH in a 40 MPH zone. The police officer claimed that he smelled alcohol. Client refused to take a Portable Breath Test. Unfortunately, client attempted the three standard field sobriety tests and, in the officer’s opinion, botched them all. Client was arrested and taken to the police station for a breath test. On both breath tests, using an Intoxilyzer 8000 machine, client tested 0.000 (no trace of alcohol whatsoever). The police then charged him with Operating Under the Influence and Speeding. We obtained the police reports, breath test documentation, and videos from both the police cruiser and the police station. After arguments with the prosecutor, the OVI charge was dismissed outright, and client was assessed a $25 fine on the Speeding ticket.
Case #MCXH-31002 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was a college student from a foreign country. He was pulled over by a state trooper because his rear license plate light was out. Client passed the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test but failed the Walk and Turn test, One Leg Stand test, and Portable Breath Test. He was arrested and taken to a nearby police department for a breath test, where he blew a .035 on a BAC DataMaster. The trooper charged him with Underage OVI (over a .020), No Rear License Plate Illumination, and a Seat Belt violation. We obtained the cruiser video, but the field sobriety tests were done off-camera, and the instructions were nearly inaudible. After extensive negotiations, the OVI charge was reduced to Reckless Operation. The other charges were dismissed, ultimately resulting in a fine of $150 & court costs, no jail time, a six-month license suspension, a Driver’s Education Class (8 hours), and allowing client to return to his home country.
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The attorneys in our law firm primarily service Portage County courts (Ravenna and Kent) from our office in Ravenna, and Summit County courts (Akron, Stow, Barberton) from our office in Stow. Cases in all other courts in North East Ohio, such as Cuyahoga County courts, are handled under specific terms and conditions.