Police officers in Georgia are being trained to draw blood from drivers suspected of DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio). Typically, a person arrested for OVI in Ohio is taken to a police station for a breath test or urine test. Occasionally, an OVI suspect is taken to a hospital for a blood test. In Georgia, DUI suspects will now have their blood drawn by police officers. Could we soon have police officers drawing blood from OVI suspects in Ohio?
Ohio may need a new acronym for impaired driving. Our state has used various drunk driving abbreviations in the past. There was ‘DUI’ for Driving Under the Influence and then ‘OMVI’ for Operating a Motor Vehicle Intoxicated. Now that Ohio law does not require the vehicle to be motorized, we use ‘OVI’ for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence. In the future, the acronym may be ‘OVD’ for Operating a Vehicle Dehydrated. A study published in Physiology & Behavior suggests dehydrated driving is similar to intoxicated driving.
Cases of Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault often involve testimony regarding accident investigation and accident reconstruction. Accident investigation is the collection of evidence at the crash site, and this activity is typically not considered the domain of expert testimony. Accident reconstruction is the use of scientific methods to determine the cause of the accident, so testimony on this subject is ordinarily considered expert testimony. A recent Ohio case illustrates the expert nature of accident reconstruction testimony.
Some municipalities in Ohio have used unfair procedures for enforcing traffic violations detected by cameras. The Ohio General Assembly addressed that unfairness by creating a new process for traffic camera violations. Not all municipalities are following the new rules. Recently, a municipal court judge found the Village of Brice did not comply with the newly mandated rules. In an ironic twist, Brice complained to the Court of Appeals that the Village was denied due process in the municipal court proceeding.
One act can result in both a criminal case and a civil case. A well-known example of this principle is the O.J. Simpson cases. Simpson was found Not Guilty of murder in the criminal case, but he was found liable for wrongful death in the civil case and ordered to pay $8.5 million to the Goldman family. A recent case involving a fatal wreck demonstrates how this principle applies to Ohio cases involving Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault.
There are many different ways somebody can find themselves as the subject of an OVI/DUI investigation. The most common is when an officer witnesses a driver commit a traffic offense, initiates a traffic stop, and then conducts an investigation based on their observations of the driver. Other times, an officer will conduct the traffic stop after receiving a tip from someone that a particular driver may be impaired. How precise do these tips need to be to justify a traffic stop? How much corroborating evidence does an officer need to corroborate the tip? The Ohio Supreme Court recently weighed in on these questions in State v. Tidwell.
There has not been a live DUI defense seminar in Ohio for over a year. The Premier Ohio DUI Defense Seminar, hosted by the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (OACDL) is typically held in March. This year, with the hope of having participants present in-person, the seminar was postponed until June. The postponement paid-off, and the 20th annual seminar was not only live (with reduced capacity), but was also live-streamed to lawyers across the state. It wasn’t held at the usual time, but it had the usual high quality.
Being charged with Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault is stressful. Individuals in that situation often experience feelings of guilt and fear. For those individuals, it would be helpful to have a solid understanding of the offense they are charged with, the penalties they are facing, and the court process ahead of them. It would also be beneficial for them to learn about the evidence used in court and possible defense strategies. Two new books contain this useful information: the Ohio Vehicular Homicide Guide and the Ohio Vehicular Assault Guide.
When a defendant appeals a DUI conviction (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio), the defendant often claims the judge made an erroneous ruling regarding a motion to suppress. The appellate court then reviews the suppression issue decided by the judge to determine whether the judge’s decision was erroneous. When the issue involves a ‘finding of fact’ by the judge, the appellate court evaluates whether the finding was supported by competent, credible evidence. Two recent Ohio cases illustrate this appellate evaluation with opposite outcomes. Continue Reading
Qualified Immunity, a defense used by police officers in civil rights lawsuits, is a topic not typically discussed in this blog. However, as a criminal defense lawyer, I have been asked about Qualified Immunity due to recent events in the United States. In addition, an individual who files a lawsuit based on a false OVI arrest may encounter this defense. Accordingly, I have asked attorney Eric Hollway to provide a guest article on Qualified Immunity. Mr. Holloway, a civil rights lawyer who represents clients in false arrest claims, prepared the remainder of this article.