When you get arrested for DUI in Columbus, you might think there’s little you can do, especially if you take a breath, blood, or urine test and your results are over the .08 Ohio legal limit. It may be in your best defense to contact a Columbus DUI lawyer. There are a number of ways that you can fight the charge. An experienced OVI attorney in Columbus can discuss with you all of the options available to you for fighting your specific DUI charge.
1. Probable Cause
The Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures without warrants. The amendment was written to protect people’s homes, but later was interpreted by the courts to include their vehicles. That means that police need probable cause to make a vehicle stop, which counts as a “seizure” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. To have probable cause, the police officer, deputy, or trooper making the stop must have a reasonable suspicion that you’ve broken a law, and the officer has to provide “specific and articulable” facts to support the stop.
Just about any kind of traffic infraction can be sufficient for an officer to pull you over — a burnt out headlight or expired license plates, for example. A common reason that police in and around Columbus use to pull drivers over is a marked lanes violation, or in other words swerving over the yellow line. Oftentimes a marked lanes violation will lead to a police officer or trooper administering field sobriety tests and arresting the driver for OVI / DUI.
However, sometimes the facts and the evidence may not support the stop. In that circumstance, a good OVI / DUI lawyer can challenge the stop as unconstitutional and work to get any evidence obtained from the stop — such as your field sobriety test results — suppressed in court. That may lead to a dismissal of your charges, or a reduction to a lesser offense with lighter penalties.
2. Coerced Statements
You have a constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights not to make incriminating statements against yourself. It may be the case that when the officer pulled you over, he or she manipulated you into making statements that are now being used as evidence against you in court. Your DUI defense lawyer may be able to argue that these statements were taken in violation of your constitutional rights and possibly get a judge to agree that your statements should not be used as evidence. Without your statements, the prosecutor might have a tougher time proving the charge and might be willing to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of your charge.
3. Coerced Testing
When your OVI / DUI charge is based on a test you didn’t consent to, you may be able to argue that your were coerced into taking the test. The circumstances under which this defense might be successful are limited, but include being told when you’re not actually under arrest that you no choice but to submit to the test because of the implied consent in your obtaining an Ohio driver’s license. An experienced OVI / DUI defense lawyer can discuss with you whether this defense might be available in your case.
4. Testing Errors
Ohio has complex and detailed regulations for how breath, blood, and urine tests must be administered when a person is arrested for an OVI / DUI charge. When these regulations aren’t followed, the test results may be invalid. A skilled criminal defense lawyer with experience challenging OVI / DUI test results will look at the results in your case with a sharp eye for any mistakes that may open the door to getting your test results suppressed so that they can’t be used as evidence against you in court.
With no test results to support your charge, the prosecutor may be willing to negotiate for a lesser charge such as reckless operation, or to dismiss your case altogether.
Some common problems with DUI testing include:
- The person who administered the test didn’t follow proper testing procedures or wasn’t properly trained to administer the test
- The test wasn’t performed within the time limit mandated by Ohio law
- The samples weren’t analyzed properly
- The results weren’t recorded properly
- The machine wasn’t properly maintained or calibrated under Ohio regulations
5. Factual Challenges
Sometimes the facts of your case just won’t support an OVI / DUI charge. Police officers can be fallible like any other human being, and sometimes they get it wrong. It’s important to discuss with your DUI defense lawyer everything that happened and not to leave out any detail, however minor it may seem. Once your lawyer hears all of the facts, he or she may see problems with the prosecution’s case that could lead to a dismissal or a reduction in charges.
How the Columbus DUI Attorneys from LHA Can Help
Criminal DUI charges in Columbus are serious and defending them should not be taken lightly. The outcomes can include jail time, loss of your driver’s license, and significant fines — not to mention the stigma of a criminal record. You may be tempted to try to represent yourself to save money, but your best chance at avoiding a conviction or getting reduced penalties is to have an experienced Columbus criminal defense attorneys at your side through the process. Your defense may come down to details in your case or nuances of the law that a defense attorney will be best equipped to use to your advantage. If your lawyer is successful in getting your charge dismissed or sufficiently reduced, he or she also may be able to help you get the arrest expunged from your record and wipe the slate clean so you can move on with your life and leave the DUI charge in the past.
Need Help Fighting Your Columbus OVI Charge? Contact a Columbus DUI Lawyer Today.
With the help of an experienced, competent Columbus DUI defense attorney, you can be assured of understanding all of your legal rights and options and know that your rights will be protected. The criminal defense team at Luftman, Heck & Associates protects rights of people charged with an OVI / DUI on a daily basis and would be honored to do so for you. To contact us, either call or email [email protected].