Myth 1 -You must be drunk to be guilty
of DUI. Under one Ohio law, no
scientific tests are necessary. This violation is based upon a
police officer's observations of your driving, physical appearance, and
responses to what are called "field sobriety tests." A second law for
which you can be charged is the so-called "per se" violation. In effect
this law states, you are not permitted to drive with a prescribed level
of alcohol of .08 or more of alcohol in your breath. Blood and urine
have different mandated levels. In most instances a "breathalyzer" is
used. The government need not introduce any other evidence.
Myth 2 - You can make it harder to
prove you're DUI by refusing to take the breathalyzer.
Implied in your right to drive in Ohio
is the "implied consent law." This law states every person given the
right to drive in Ohio agrees to take a breathalyzer when asked. There
are severe penalties for refusing to take the test. But, there may be
legitimate reasons for not taking the test. When in doubt consult an
Myth 3 - The police can demand I take
field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer without consulting an
attorney. This is absolutely
untrue. You have a right to counsel once you are placed under arrest.
You must specifically state you will not take any further tests or
answer any questions without consulting an attorney. At that point, the
police must stop all questioning or any testing, giving you reasonable
time to contact an attorney. But, the police have the right to go
forward with a breathalyzer test after giving you reasonable time to
contact and consult with counsel. Your refusal to take a test after
being given a reasonable amount of time to call an attorney may be
considered a refusal to take the test.
Myth 4 - DUI is merely a traffic
violation. I don't need an attorney.
A conviction for DUI can be
devastating. Beside a fine and jail sentence, a conviction can impact
your insurance, employment, and credit. Under the new law, it can cause
your vehicle to be confiscated and sold by the state and give you a
felony record! Obviously, DUI is NOT a simple traffic offense. Advice of
counsel should always be sought.
is not intended as a complete description of your legal rights, but
contains some important issues you should consider.
Most criminal and traffic matters are charged on a flat fee basis,
depending on the court where the proceeding will take place and the type
of hearing or trial. For example a different fee will be charged if your
case has to be prepared for trial as opposed to one that a plea-bargain
is the likely result. Payment of these fees is usually required before
we will enter our appearance as your attorney in court.