Everything gets ranked these days, including sports teams, colleges, students, lawyers, vacations, and products. For products, you can find lists of everything from the best weight-loss pills to the best vacuum cleaners. Neither of those is recommended as a gift, by the way, even though it is the holiday season. And because it is the holiday season, one thing being ranked is drunk driving rates. A recent Forbes article compares the rates among the 50 states and D.C.
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.
Over the past couple of years, this blog has followed and discussed the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Mitchell v. Wisconsion. While Supreme Court decisions can seem like seismic shifts in the law when they are issued, the reality is it often takes time for their effects to be felt on a practical level. Such is the case with Mitchell. While it was decided over a year-and-a-half ago, it is just now being discussed by Ohio Appellate Courts.
DUI cases (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) are some of the most complicated cases filed in Ohio courts. From field sobriety tests to breath/blood/urine tests, there are many minute and highly technical details that can make or break an OVI defense in court. Often, a seemingly simple but no less important detail can get lost under the mountain of specialized evidence in OVI cases: why did the person get pulled over in the first place? And, more importantly for OVI defense: what degree of evidence does the prosecution need to present to justify that traffic stop?
The Michigan legislature recently passed a bill which would permit first-time DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) offenders to have their records sealed (expunged). Michigan, like Ohio, currently permits record sealing for many criminal offenses but prohibits record sealing for DUI convictions. The Michigan bill passed with an overwhelming majority and is now waiting for the governor’s approval. The potential change in Michigan’s expungement law raises the question of whether first-offense OVI convictions in Ohio should be eligible for record sealing.
The 2020 holiday season may see a decrease in partying, but there will still be a seasonal increase in enforcement of DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio). The Ohio State Highway Patrol plans an increased presence in December, and the federal government has proclaimed December of 2020 to be ‘National Impaired Driving Prevention Month’. You may be avoiding holiday parties and other large gatherings this season, but if you are on the road at night, officers will be watching closely to see if you should be stopped. There are ways to avoid being stopped, charged with, and convicted of OVI in Ohio.
Now that I can buy three takeout margaritas with my enchiladas to-go, can I sip one on the way home? If not, can my passenger drink it? And if that’s not allowed, where am I supposed to put the drinks while I drive? I don’t want to get charged with ‘Open Container’, or any other Ohio alcohol-related offenses for that matter.
We’ve used this space in the past to discuss how the nationwide trend in marijuana legalization has impacted the enforcement of DUI laws (called ‘OVI in Ohio’). After last week’s election, 37 states plus Washington D.C. have now legalized marijuana in some fashion. While recreational use of marijuana has been decriminalized (but not legalized) in Ohio, medical marijuana has been legal here since 2016. What does this mean for marijuana DUI charges? Could changes to Ohio’s OVI laws be on the horizon?
Most states now have some form of legalized marijuana. Thirty-four states (as well as D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico) have medical marijuana programs, and ten states permit recreational marijuana use. The states with recreational marijuana have questioned whether marijuana legalization results in more traffic accidents. According to a recent article in the USA Today, the answer seems to be ‘no’. Nevertheless, Ohio aggressively enforces a flawed marijuana DUI law (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio).
A semi rolled-over and spilled about 11,000 salmon onto the highway. As the fish flopped around on the road, the truck driver was charged with DUI. But it turned-out he had ‘auto-brewery syndrome’, a condition in which his body makes its own alcohol. This condition is rare but has been identified many times. For a person charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) who drank no alcohol, auto-brewery syndrome may be responsible.