Summer break. It’s a time for barbeques, pool parties and…getting arrested? For some juveniles, the answer might be yes. Studies show that kids have a tendency to get into more trouble with the law during the months when they are not in school.
While overall juvenile arrest rates may be down, the number of teenagers who face criminal charges each summer remains high. The short and long term effects of a guilty conviction are harsh and can include:
- Impacting their ability to get a job or to get a Commercial Drivers License
- Impacting their ability to get public housing
- Impacting their ability to enlist in the military
- Depending on the severity of the crime, they may be prevented from carrying a firearm
- Drivers License Suspension
- Possible impact on return to school or transferring to a new school
- Having to pay fines, court costs, and restitution where assigned
- May affect immigration status
The following are 5 of the most common charges against juvenile offenders:
1. Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence (DUI / OVI)
While Ohio’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for adults age 21 years and older is 0.08 percent, minors are subject to a law known as “zero tolerance.” What this means that a juvenile driver can be arrested and charged for DUI / OVI if they are caught driving with any amount of alcohol, marijuana, or drugs in his or her blood. Teenagers who are arrested for drunk driving may also face related charges, such as underage possession, and use of a fake ID.
2. Possession of Marijuana and Other Drug Offenses
A significant portion of juvenile arrests involve marijuana and other drug-related offenses. Although juveniles caught with small amounts of marijuana are typically only hit with a fine, any juvenile conviction for a drug-related offense can potentially have implications for school enrollment, employment eligibility, and driving privileges.
3. Sexual Assault
Sexual assault crimes are prosecuted in Ohio at both the adult and juvenile levels. Prosecutors can seek to charge younger juveniles as adults depending on age and severity of the crime. Any teenager facing sexual assault charges, regardless of the severity, should seek legal representation immediately.
4. Criminal Traffic Offenses
Most traffic violations are misdemeanors; distracted driving, disregarding a traffic control device, speed exhibition, and speeding. Others may accompany criminal charges; DUI / OVI, causing bodily harm by the operation of a motor vehicle, evading an officer, and failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
5. Theft (Shoplifting)
Theft is another common juvenile offense. In Ohio, the penalties for theft are determined by the value of the property stolen, with the felony offenses carrying the potential for significant fines and even imprisonment.
If you or your teenager has been arrested, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation. We have extensive experience in Ohio criminal matters, and we can help protect you or your child.
Don’t ever assume that your DUI case is unbeatable.
These are very complex matters, and there are a wide range of defense strategies that have proven extremely effective in these types of cases.
While there are many effective defense strategies, here are 9 ways to win a Columbus DUI case.
1. The Traffic Stop Was Illegal And Wasn’t Supported By Probable Cause
A police officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over. If the police officer can’t explain why he or she reasonably suspected the driver had broken the law, then the traffic stop may be declared unconstitutional and the DUI charge may be dismissed.
2. The Arrest Was Illegal And Not Supported By Probable Cause
An officer needs to have probable cause to arrest someone. If the officer didn’t have sufficient evidence to merit probable cause, the arrest may be declared unconstitutional. The drunk driving charge could be dismissed.
3. The Field Sobriety Tests Were Administered Improperly
Field sobriety tests are always voluntary. If a police officer forced the driver to take a sobriety test, the accused individual’s Fourth Amendment rights might have been violated which means the test results could be thrown out.
Furthermore, it’s important these tests are administered properly. For example, if the tests are conducted on uneven ground, they could be considered invalid.
4. The Breath Test Was Administered Improperly Or With Faulty Equipment
There’s a right way and a wrong way to use a breath test machine. If an officer uses the machine incorrectly, the results could be thrown out. Additionally, mechanical issues may impact the accuracy of the results.
Some machines are affected by temperature. For example, if the machine is stored in the trunk on a cold day and not allowed to warm up prior to being used, the results might not be accurate and should be considered invalid.
5. A Medical Issue Or Some Other Factor Interfered With The Breath Test
Several everyday issues can lead to false positives on a breath test. Let’s say a person burps after recently consuming alcohol and then takes a breath test, the results might show a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) than normal. Or, if a person is running a fever when they take the test, the results may also be skewed.
Your lawyer will review the case to determine if any interfering factor was present and seek to have results thrown out.
6. The Blood Test Was Administered Improperly Or The Equipment Was Faulty
While blood tests are typically conducted in a more controlled environment than breathalyzers, there is still the possibility of errors. For example; Was an alcohol swab used on the draw site? Was the sample handled correctly during the testing process? Any issue that might interfere with the accuracy of the results could lead to the results being considered invalid.
7. A Medical Issue Interfered With The Blood Test
There is an enzymatic method is typically used for determining alcohol content in blood tests. However, this method may lead to inaccurately high readings that confuse serum alcohol, which might be produced by tissue trauma, like bruises, with ethyl alcohol. If there’s reason to believe that such a factor interfered with the blood test, the results should be thrown out.
8. The Accused Was Not Operating The Vehicle
Occasionally, a person will be charged with DUI even though he or she was merely caught sitting or sleeping in the vehicle. If the police officer did not personally witness the individual driving while intoxicated, the case can be dismissed.
In cases like these, the court must determine whether the evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was either in actual control of the vehicle (keys in ignition or engine running) or driving.
9. Jurisdictional Issues And Speedy Trial Issues
The location of the DUI dictates which courts will hear the case and which police officers can conduct the arrest. In some cases, if an officer makes an arrest outside of his or her jurisdiction, it can be used as part of a defense strategy. The prosecution has a limited amount of time to try your case. If the Commonwealth fails to prosecute during the allotted time frame, the case can be dismissed.
If you’ve been accused of DUI, take action to ensure that it doesn’t impact your life. Columbus DUI defense attorney Terry Sherman will help you secure the results that you need to be able to move forward with your life. Schedule your free consultation
Of course, it is your right to defend yourself against DUI/DWI charges; post bail, make a plea deal or plead guilty.
However, the outcome will have long-lasting consequences; fines, fees, stained permanent record (even appearing in Google searches for your name), suspension or revocation of a driving privilege, much higher auto insurance costs, and jail time.
1 – Reconsider Pleading Guilty
If you chose to “blow” or provide urine or blood sample at the time of your arrest, and your blood alcohol content (BAC) was above .08%, it doesn’t guarantee your conviction. A DUI lawyer can offer advice that could affect the severity of your sentence. If your BAC was lower than .08%, a DUI attorney may be able to use your low BAC to achieve a better plea bargain your case.
2- Plea Bargaining & Sentence Bargaining
Many states prohibit the prohibit plea bargaining of a DUI charge (e.g., DUI to reckless driving), hire an attorney who knows the prosecutors. This can make a vital difference in post-conviction & penalties.
Most states offer sentence bargaining for a DUI conviction that may reduce the period of incarceration. If it is your second DUI, for example, you may agree to a guilty plea if you know your sentence. For an aggravated DUI charge (your BAC was over .15% that resulted in injury or death) sentence bargaining is vital. A skilled DUI lawyer should manage the sentence bargaining for you.
3- The Penalties for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th DUI are Very Steep
Even if you pled guilty to your first DUI, you better get the assistance of an accomplished DUI attorney for subsequent DUI charges. Second, third, and fourth DUI offenses almost always involve incarceration, large bail bonds & steep penalties. Lawyers have familiarity with the court system, the prosecuting attorneys, what plea bargains and sentence bargains are available to you, and can navigate the complex administration procedures to achieve the best outcome possible.
4 – What About The Cost of A DUI Attorney?
Your DUI lawyer will be right there beside you in court; negotiating, entering your plea, and bargaining down your sentence so you may also have lower fines and fees. This may offset, if not cover, the cost of representation.