(614) 361-2804 Call 24/7

Columbus DUI Attorney

Columbus dui attorney

SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION







    COLUMBUS DUI ATTORNEY

    Attorney Douglas Riddell has been repeatedly recognized in the field of DUI and criminal defense in Ohio. He is Certified in the Approved Curriculum for DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Practitioner Course designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

    Below are common questions we hear from clients.

    DO I NEED TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HELP WITH MY COLUMBUS DUI CHARGE?

    YES.

    A DUI in Columbus is a very serious charge — even for a first offense OVI.  Penalties could include: mandatory jail time, fines, losing your driver’s license and even losing your job. Talk to an attorney about your case before pleading guilty or no contest to any charges. 

    Our firm offers free initial DUI case reviews in Columbus. Even if you don’t decide to hire an attorney, you should at the very least know your options in court.  

    Click here for more on whether you should hire an attorney for a DUI (OVI).

    free consultation columbus dui ovi attorney

    WHAT ARE POTENTIAL DEFENSES TO A COLUMBUS DUI CHARGE?

    Why did the police stop your car?

    Did they search you or your car?

    Did the police ask you anything?

    What paperwork did the police give you?

    Did you take any field sobriety tests?.

    With this information, we begin to analyze potential defenses to the OVI charge.  A few examples of possible OVI defenses include:

    The Initial Traffic Stop: Did Columbus Police Violate The Fourth Amendment?

    Did the initial stop by the police violate your constitutional right to be free of unlawful search or seizure?

    Did the officer have reasonable suspicion that you had committed a traffic or criminal offense?

    If police did not have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime, the stop may have violated your Fourth Amendment rights. Columbus police are not allowed to pull you over just because they have a hunch that you look suspicious.

    Police have to be able to point to specific facts supporting the suspicion that you have committed a traffic or criminal offense.  If they can’t, then anything that happened once they stopped you cannot be submitted into evidence (including any field sobriety test results or breathalyzer results).

    Examples of DUI (OVI) cases in Ohio and in Columbus That Were Dismissed Based on Problems With the Initial Traffic Stop

    Anonymous Tip of an Impaired Driver

    In these cases, the driver was stopped based on an anonymous tip.

    Asleep in a Parked Car

    Officers can approach someone sleeping in their car as part of their community care-taking function.

    But in one case, an Ohio DUI / OVI was overturned and sent back to the lower court where driver was asleep in a parked car. In that case, the driver woke up when officer knocked on the window and driver said she was fine. The officer possibly exceeded his care-taking function by investigating for OVI after realizing the driver was fine.

    Yelling in the car

    OVI was thrown out where the driver was yelling and making exaggerated arm movements with his arms. When stopped by police, he smelled of alcohol. The OVI was thrown out because the police exceeded their care-taking function. Yelling and gesturing does not justify a traffic stop.

    No traffic violation

    If you did not commit any traffic violation, there may be no probable cause to pull you over in the first place. This situation has happened many times in Ohio courts. For example:

    BREATHALYZER MACHINE: WERE THERE ANY PROBLEMS?

    Was there a problem with the administration or calibration of the breathalyzer machine?  If the breathalyzer was not properly calibrated before or after your test, the result could be invalid.

    URINE & BLOOD TESTS: WERE THERE ANY PROCEDURAL ISSUES?

    Driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs is an increasing focus of Columbus police and Ohio State Highway Patrol.  An increasing number of cases involve urine tests, which present unique issues to be examined by defense counsel.

    Were the urine or blood tests properly collected?

    Were they contaminated in any way?

    Was there any other food or medication that could have influenced the result?

    FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS: WERE THE INSTRUCTIONS CLEAR? DID POLICE FOLLOW PROTOCOL?

    Was the officer properly trained in field sobriety testing?

    Did the officer demonstrate and administer all of the tests correctly?

    Did the officer properly administer the eye test?

    If the officer made a mistake in explaining or demonstrating the tests, the results could be thrown out.

    Likewise, an Ohio court threw out a DUI / OVI where the driver was pulled over for an equipment violation (no rear license plate) and there is no evidence of erratic driving. The court found no reasonable suspicion to support administering field sobriety tests.

    DO THE VIDEO DASH CAM AND POLICE REPORTS SHOW ANY INCONSISTENCIES?

    Does the dash camp video clearly show the field sobriety tests?

    Was there some reason that the field sobriety tests were not recorded?

    If field sobriety tests were performed, but not on the video, this may be another potential area of defense.  Video evidence is often the key to establishing a strong defense – as in this OVI case, which was dismissed based on video evidence.

    SHOULD I JUST GO TO COURT ON MY OWN AND PLEAD NO CONTEST?

    The “no contest” plea is often misunderstood.  In almost every case, if you plead no contest to your DUI charge, the judge will find you guilty almost immediately thereafter.

    A “no contest” plea means you are admitting to all of the facts alleged in the complaint.  By pleading no contest, you give up your right to a trial and your right to put on witnesses in your defense.

    For example, in the case of a DUI, the complaint might allege that you had glassy eyes, that you had a strong odor of alcohol, that you were slurring your words, that you failed the field sobriety tests, or that you blew over the legal limit.  If you plead “no contest,” then you are admitting that all of these facts are true.  The judge will in almost every case have no choice but to find you guilty.

    For a more detailed explanation of no contest pleas, take a look at our article “Should I Just Plead No Contest”?

    WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE FOR AN OVI CONVICTION IN OHIO?

    The maximum penalties for an OVI conviction vary depending on whether you are a first time offender or have prior OVI convictions on your record.

    If you are a first time OVI offender and you are found guilty of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI), it is usually charged as a first degree misdemeanor. That means that it would carry a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.

    Other penalties could include probation, community service requirements, ignition interlock, license suspension, higher ago insurance rates as well as could impact your employment or educational opportunities. Read more here about the penalties for a first time OVI conviction in Ohio.

    If you are found guilty of a second OVI, the penalties increase. Ohio law requires that if you are convicted of a second OVI offense, you must serve a mandatory at least 10 days in jail, with a maximum sentence of 6 months. If you have a “high test” (a BAC of .17 or higher), penalties may double as well.

    If you have been charged with a DUI (OVI) in Columbus, your case will likely be filed in the Franklin County Municipal Court.  The Court is located at  375 South High Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  Nearly every day, Columbus DUI Attorney Doug Riddell is at the Franklin County Municipal Court representing his clients facing DUI / OVI and other misdemeanor charges.

    The Franklin County Municipal Court (located in the heart of Columbus) is one of the largest and busiest municipal courts in the state of Ohio.  In 2011 alone, more than 125,000 criminal, traffic and environmental cases were filed in the municipal court.

    For defendants, this means that the process in Franklin County can be very stressful and overwhelming.  For example, there are frequently long lines and often cattle call appearance times.  Hiring an attorney to help you navigate this fast-paced and hectic court system is invaluable.

    Columbus DUI Attorney Doug Riddell has significant experience defending clients facing DUI / OVI charges in the Franklin County Municipal Court.  He knows the system inside and out and can offer unique insight into your best options for beating or reducing your charges.

    Columbus traffic sign - DUI attorney