Back in 1791, when the 8th Constitutional Amendment was ratified, the Framers of the Constitution decided there should be limits on financial sanctions for criminal behavior. Accordingly, the 8th Amendment prohibits ‘excessive fines’. Courts have interpreted the Constitutional prohibition of excessive fines to apply to forfeiture of property in criminal cases. The Ohio Supreme Court recently held that forfeiture of a $31,000 vehicle for a repeat DUI conviction (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) does not violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the 8th Amendment.
From the 2008 Lindsay Lohan stories to the 2022 news reports about Paul Pelosi’s DUI conviction, the past 14 years have shown a dramatic increase in the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for individuals charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio). A recent report by Coherent Market Insights indicates IIDs in North America will be a $68.5 million industry by 2027. In Ohio, the increased use of IIDs is due, in part, to Annie’s Law. IIDs may be an effective method of preventing OVI, but they do have drawbacks.
Suppose a person is charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) and that person previously refused an alcohol/drug test when arrested for OVI. Can that person’s sentence be enhanced for the current OVI based on the prior refusal? This question was recently addressed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In Ohio, this question is addressed in the Ohio OVI statutes. The Ohio OVI statutes are nuanced and do provide consequences for prior convictions and test refusals.
Most people charged with a first-offense DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) are not aware of the possible consequences. When someone in that situation learns the sentence for a first OVI conviction in Ohio includes a mandatory minimum jail term of three days, it can be frightening. However, judges are authorized to substitute a three-day driver intervention program (DIP) in place of three days in jail. This article provides details about DIPs in OH.
Imagine you are totally sober, but your child’s daycare calls the police and reports you may be intoxicated. Imagine further the police make you perform field sobriety tests while your toddler is running around on the sidewalk. Now imagine you are prosecuted for DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) and Child Endangering and your child is taken away from you for two months, only for a blood test to show no alcohol or drugs, because you were totally sober. Katie Slayton does not have to imagine it: it happened to her. Her experience was the perfect storm of circumstances in a DUI/OVI investigation.
Can you get a DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) on a vehicle which is not motorized? Like many legal questions, the answer is, ‘maybe’. A person involved in a recent ‘pedal pub’ incident found out the hard way the answer is ‘yes’ when operating a mobile bar in Georgia. But what about Ohio?
The recent arrest of former U.S. Women’s Soccer goalie Hope Solo resulted in significant media coverage. As articles like this one from CNN reported, Solo was charged in North Carolina with DWI and Child Abuse. What North Carolina calls ‘DWI’, Ohio calls ‘OVI’. What North Carolina calls ‘Child Abuse’, Ohio calls ‘Child Endangering’. Solo’s reported incident illustrates what happens when a driver is accused of being under the influence with children in the vehicle.
Utah is apparently leading the way in traffic safety measures. This blog’s last article discussed Utah’s lowering of the ‘legal limit’ for blood alcohol concentration to .05. Now, Utah is working on a law which makes it illegal for an individual to be under the influence when using a vehicle’s driver assistance system. Under the new law, a driver cannot escape criminal liability for DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) by claiming they were not ‘driving’ the vehicle. The same is true in Ohio, without a new law.
We are in favor of government measures to reduce impaired driving. We are not in favor of the government providing misleading reports to the public about those measures. In 2019, Utah introduced a measure to reduce impaired driving: it lowered the ‘legal limit’ for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from .08 to .05. A recent press release from NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports that traffic deaths in Utah decreased when the state lowered its ‘legal limit’ to .05. The press release is misleading.
When I vacation in other states, people ask me where I’m from. When I say “Columbus”, I usually have to add “Ohio”. I have learned that very few people travel to Ohio for vacation. Some people do travel here for business and personal trips. Whether here for a business trip, a personal trip, or an improbable vacation, if a driver with a license issued by another state gets a DUI/OVI in Ohio, that person faces consequences in Ohio and may face consequences in the state which issued the driver’s license.