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Defenses to DUI in Ohio

There are many different arguments that your lawyer can bring forward as a defense to the drunk driving cause. Some challenge whether or not your arrest was made properly. Defenses challenging your arrest include:

  • that the officer stopped you without reasonable suspicion or that he had no probable cause to arrest you
  • that the officer lacked jurisdiction to arrest you (for example an Ohio officer arrested you just over the state border so that you were not in Ohio at the time of your arrest)
  • that the officer did not observe you committing any illegal act
  • that you were not properly Mirandized (told of your Miranda rights such as the right to remain silent, right to an attorney, etc.) when you were apprehended
  • that there is not enough evidence to establish you were either operating or in physical control of a vehicle so the officer should not have arrested you
  • that there were other plausible reasons for your driving behavior than alcohol or drug impairment (ex. a slick or icy road, on the cell phone while driving, distracted by someone in the car, etc.)

You could also challenge the officer’s determination of your impairment by contesting his inferences of your impairment through your behavior, the field sobriety tests, or the chemical BAC test. Defenses challenging the officer’s inferences (ex. bloodshot eyes, smell of alcohol on your breath, etc.) include:

  • that lack of sleep or prescription medications are plausible, alternate explanations for your behavior (slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, stumbling, etc.)
  • that lack of contact lenses or allergies are plausible, alternate explanations for your stumbling or bloodshot eyes

Defenses challenging the administration of the field sobriety tests include:

  • that you were coerced by the law enforcement officer into taking the field sobriety tests. You did not actually consent and they were not administered voluntarily.
  • that the field sobriety tests were improperly administered without strict compliance with the NHTSA standards so the results are invalid
  • that the law enforcement officer only asked for compliance with one field sobriety test, greatly diminishing its validity in determining your impairment (about 70% validity with one test v. 83% validity with all three)
  • that the law enforcement officer administered field sobriety test on wet road or incline, in the dark, etc., greatly diminishing the test’s validity
  • that the field sobriety tests are subjective and hence depend on the officer’s opinion and possible bias
  • that you have a physical impairment or on medications that negatively affected your performance on the field sobriety test and thus the validity of the field sobriety test results are skewed

Defenses challenging the results of the chemical BAC test include:

  • that you were subject to a chemical BAC test after the three hour limitation (from time of arrest) had expired and therefore the results of the test are inadmissible
  • that there was no 20 minute observational period before you took the chemical BAC test so the test results could be skewed by any “oral intake” you performed right before the test (such as water, gum, or food)
  • that the law enforcement officer unreasonably ensured compliance with the chemical BAC test (officers only allowed reasonable measures to obtain sample for chemical BAC test)
  • that you were not allowed to obtain an independent BAC test (this does not apply if you did not make an effort to obtain one)
  • that physical factors (acetone on the breath from being a diabetic or elevated blood temperature) skewed the breath test results
  • that the breath test was improperly administered by someone not certified to work with the machine and hence the results are invalid
  • that the brand of breathalyzer used in your chemical test is not an device approved by the Ohio Administrative Code
  • that your blood sample for a chemical BAC test was not withdrawn by a lab technician or other health professional and therefore the test cannot be admitted as evidence against you
  • that you had consumed food recently which skewed the BAC test or were chewing gum/ smoking right before the chemical BAC test which could have altered the results (mostly a factor in the breathalyzer tests)
  • that the breathalyzer was improperly used or calibrated and therefore the test is invalid
  • that the brand of breathalyzer used by the police for your chemical BAC test is notoriously unreliable for correct readings and therefore the results of the test are likely invalid
  • that the breathalyzer device was not “subject to an instrument check” on a regular basis required by the Ohio Administrative Code (requires the breath-testing device be checked every seven days at lest) and therefore the test is invalid
  • that the solution used in the machine was more than three months old or had not been kept under refrigeration when not in use and hence the test is invalid

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