DUI: 8 Vital Things to Remember

DUI: 8 Vital Things to Remember

It’s holiday season! You can probably guess that this time of year sees a dramatic increase in DUI arrests. Over the holidays, drinking and driving has become a serious issue. Between office parties and family get-togethers, many people are less vigilant about staying sober when they know they’ll be driving, or refusing to drive at all when they have been drinking.

Thanks to DUI statistics over the years, police officers can now forecast which holidays have an increased risk for drunk driving, which means they’re hyper vigilant during these times. Because of this, DUIs skyrocket over the holidays.

Of course, the best way to avoid a DUI on these holidays is to avoid drinking at all, but if you find yourself facing a DUI charge, here are some things you’ll want to know.

1. You can get a DUI even if you don’t feel drunk.

There is no scale that tips when your blood alcohol content goes from 0.07 percent to 0.09 percent. You don’t suddenly feel drunk or start falling over. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the difference between a BAC of 0.05 and 0.08 includes effects like:

  • Difficulty detecting danger
  • Impaired self-control
  • Diminished muscle coordination
  • Problems controlling speed

These are hardly measurable effects, and there may still be no outward or visible indication of intoxication, even at 0.08 percent. Because of this, people might feel completely comfortable having another drink. In the eyes of the law, someone who is just barely over the legal limit can face the same penalties as someone who is clearly displaying signs of intoxication.

2. Cooperate

If you’re pulled over by a police officer under suspicion of driving under the influence, it is imperative that you cooperate with him or her at all times. Even if you are severely intoxicated, you should do your best to comply with the officer’s requests. Do not argue with a police officer under any circumstances. Remember that your lack of consent can affect you adversely later in court

3. Your car might be towed

If you’re charged with a DUI, the officer will transport you to the police station in a patrol car. Your vehicle will probably be towed at your expense, and you’ll be notified as to which company has towed your vehicle and will be given the contact information to retrieve it. Contact the towing company that impounded your vehicle as soon as possible and arrange for it to be picked up and pay all towing costs.

4. Booked, processed, contact your lawyer.

After you arrive at the police station, you can expect to wait for up to several hours before being processed. If this is your first offense, the process will take longer. Your fingerprints and mugshot will be taken and an investigator or other police officer may ask you questions about the circumstances of your driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You will be given the opportunity to contact your attorney prior to your arrignment. This is extremely important…ask for a lawyer. Contact DUI Defense Attorney Terry Sherman.

5. You may be incarcerated, you may be released.

The length of time you stay at the police station depends on several factors, including the location of your DUI, your age, criminal record, the severity of your intoxication, as well as other factors. If you’re to be released on bond, you will be given the opportunity to contact a bondsman, friend, or relative to arrange for the amount to be paid and for someone to pick you up from the police station. In some cases, you will be incarcerated immediately. Nevertheless, be prepared to remain at the police station for a minimum of several hours before the logistics of your DUI charge are settled.

6. You’ll go before a Judge.

If charged with a DUI, you will likely have to appear in court to receive your sentencing. You will have the option of using your own attorney or being appointed one by the court. Remain calm and respectful during the court proceedings at all costs. Answer any questions truthfully and make sure you do so with your attorney by your side. If you fail to appear in court the judge will most likely issue a warrant for your arrest.

7. Community service and/or fines.

Several people who are charged with DUI are required to complete community service or court referral programs. If you’re one of them, complete these programs as soon as possible so that it can be reported back to the court that you have fulfilled your sentencing. Remember to pay any fines in full as soon as you are able. Typically, there are payment plan options available.

8. Long term consequences.

If you get a DUI, the charge will probably stay on your record for several years, if not permanently. Potential employers will be able to view these records before they hire you, so if you’re planning to look for a new job in the near future, be upfront and honest about your DUI charge. It’s better to explain the situation beforehand than appear to be covering it up.
Of course, be careful this holiday season. Use Uber, Lyft, or a designated driver. However, should the worst happen and you do get arrested for a DUI, contact a DUI attorney Terry Sherman as soon as possible for legal help.

Even online, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Even online, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes on social media, you likely read abusive and offensive statements posted or left as comments to a post.

Justin Olsen, an 18-year-old Ohio man has been arrested and is facing state and federal charges after investigators claimed he made threats against federal law enforcement and Planned Parenthood. The FBI investigation found multiple entries in which Olsen posted his support of mass shootings, and cited a target of Planned Parenthood.

Olsen was arrested on Aug. 7 and told the FBI that his posts were “only a joke”. He was booked into the Mahoning County Jail on state charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, and the federal charge of threatening a federal law enforcement officer.

Is abusive language unlawful?

Although the Justin Olsen’s charges are severe for online behavior, a malicious or threatening post may qualify as defamation. Defamation is the publication of a statement about someone which hurts their reputation in the eyes of members of society.

Abusive language is always in bad taste but it is unlikely to break the law unless threatening or contains criminal intent.

Can I be arrested for releasing a video?

Richard Godbehere, a Hawaii native, knows all too well about the repercussions that come with “over-sharing”. In February, he uploaded a 5 minute video of himself driving, then cracking open a beer and taking a drink. He made a joke stating “We all know drinking and driving is against the law. You’re not supposed to do that. But they didn’t say anything about driving and then drinking.”

Even though he knew he was posting a video of himself doing something illegal, he was still surprised when the police showed up at his house prepared to arrest him on charges of consuming alcohol while operating a vehicle.

Although Godbehere stated the video was meant as a parody and claimed there was no beer in the bottle, the Police Chief Darryl Perry stated “Our traffic laws are in place for a reason, and Mr. Godbehere’s blatant disregard for those laws is the type of behavior that won’t be tolerated.”

Severe consequences.

In Steubenville Ohio, social media played a part in the case against two football players who were found guilty of raping a drunk 16 year old girl.

The victim says she doesn’t remember much of what happened that night when Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, assaulted her at a friends party in 2012, and was only made aware of it after a video popped up on social media. A key piece of evidence was an instagram photo of the boys carrying the girl out of the house by her arms and legs.

Legal experts say photos and videos, whether posted publicly or obtained by police, have to meet certain criteria:

  • They must be authenticated, meaning the prosecutors have to prove the images are what they seem and have not been altered or staged;
  • And they can’t be shown out of context

Additional charges were later brought against two teenage girls after police were shown twitter posts threatening the victim physical harm if she didn’t drop the charges.

When the accused admits to posting the materials themselves, the incriminating posts put them in the awkward position of having to disavow their own words. The boys each served 2 years in prison.

If you or someone you love is in need of an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer, call Terry Sherman. 

5 Common Juvenile Crimes Committed During Summer Break

5 Common Juvenile Crimes Committed During Summer Break

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.

9 Tips to Help You Win Your DUI Case

9 Tips to Help You Win Your DUI Case

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

Can I represent myself against DUI charges?

Can I represent myself against DUI charges?

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.