Memorial Weekend 2012 DUI/OVI Stops in Columbus: Understanding Your Rights

Memorial Day is a holiday in which we celebrate the service given by the men and women of our Armed Forces throughout the decades. People choose to celebrate this holiday (which generally marks the beginning of summer) in many ways. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and local police departments, including the Columbus Division of Police, will be especially vigilant to ensure the safety of the community.

One of the more common offenses during major holidays in Columbus and across the nation is DUI (Driving Under the Influence), which is also called OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence). Driving while under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or controlled substances has statistically been shown to put the lives and property of others at risk. Ohio has strict laws regarding DUI in the hopes of reducing the rate of first time DUI and repeat DUI offenders.

However, neither the state's laws nor the police enforcing them are infallible. This is why a person who has been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence is not automatically convicted. Our legal system allows for the rights of the defendant to be upheld during a criminal proceeding with a fair trial. Many people work with a Columbus DUI Lawyer to pursue a favorable outcome, such as case dismissal, not guilty verdicts, minimized sentencing and other options.

There are many factors that your attorney will examine in building your defense strategy.

Was the stop constitutional? Law enforcement officers need probable cause in order to stop your vehicle. This means that they need a reason to justify the stop in the first place. Commonly, this includes things like speeding, broken taillights, not obeying traffic signals, swerving, etc. If your attorney can determine that the reason given was not applicable, such as obscured stop signs or speed limit signs, you can possibly pursue case dismissal or otherwise weaken the prosecution's case.

Were there errors in the chemical testing? In Ohio, the police may give you a DUI chemical test to determine your blood or breath alcohol concentration level (the legal limit it 0.08%). These tests are not error-proof. Everything from the maintenance of the equipment, poor machine calibration, tainted evidence, or any medical conditions you may have can invalidate the results obtained.

Failure to read Miranda Warning. You have likely heard part of the Miranda Warning in movies or television. This famous warning was created to ensure that individuals arrested for alleged crimes are aware of their rights and are not taken advantage of by law enforcement. If the arresting officer did not read the Miranda Warning, this can be used to weaken the prosecution's case.

A conviction for OVI in Columbus, OH is unimaginable, because of the financial cost and impact to future employment opportunities or certain licenses. If retained, a criminal attorney can help you try to obtain a case dismissal (not possible in all cases), not guilty verdict, minimized sentencing, or reduced charges (in limited situations a DUI can be reduced to a charge such as reckless driving). Given the consequences, it's critical to consider all of your defense options and carefully examine the details of your case as soon after the Memorial weekend arrest as possible.

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