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In Ohio there are two instances where you can be given a breat test by a police officer. The first, the portable breath test, is generally administered during the initial traffic stop. Here’s what you need to know: This test is never mandatory and is not admissible in the court of law. Taking this test and failing will only lead to more evidence against you if you’re charged with OVI/DUI. There is no reason to consent to the portable DUI test.

If you fail this test, the officers will arrest you and take you back to the station to do another breath test on an approved device. Currently, there are two approved breath-testing devices in Ohio – The BAC Datamaster and the Intoxilyzer 5000. At this time you will be told you can blow or refuse. A refusal to blow at this point will be an automatic suspension of your license for a year and could have other repercussions if you have a CDL. If you choose to blow and are above the Ohio legal limit of .08, you will be charged with an OVI/DUI and booked. More importantly, if you are booked and have blown above .169 you will be charged with a Super DUI. It’s important to assess your own condition at this point.

Refusing to blow or blowing above the legal limit does not mean that you don’t have a chance to be found not guilty or have your charges reduced.

In the last year we’ve had two situations at Taubman Law where drivers have refused to take the breathalyzer at the station and another case where the driver blew above .169 in the station. We were able to work with each case and ensure the best result possible.

In first one, in Berea, the driver was pulled over for following too closely and submitted to a field sobriety test, which he failed. After a motion to suppress, we were able to get the charges knocked down to a reckless operation, our client was able to get his license back within nine months and was granted occupational driving privileges as soon as the statute allowed.

In another case,  we represented a person stopped in Vermillion for weaving and driving erratically. He failed his field sobriety tests and refused to take a breathalyzer. We were able to have his charges reduced to physical control, which carries no points and the client was allowed work privileges.

Finally, in a case where one of our clients blew above .169 and was charged with a Super DUI in Bedford, we were able to work a good plea accommodation. Charges were reduced to regular DUI and the client didn’t have to go through the embarrassment of having yellow ‘party’ plates or having an ignition lock. The client also served no days in jail and received driving privileges.

That’s all for this time. Feel free to ask a question in the comments field or contact me at briantaubman[at]taubmanlaw.net for more information. If you’re interested in my firm, Taubman Law, visit us at TaubmanLaw.net.

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Happy Friday Ohio.

With December officially here and a little break between Thanksgiving and Christmas we weren’t expecting many checkpoints this weekend. We have heard about one, however, in Parma. It will be from 9 pm to 1 am tonight on Ridge Road. As always, our advice is you designate a driver early if you’re going to go paint the town.

That’s all for now. We’ll update you if we hear anything else.

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Happy Friday, Ohio. After a week to relax and bask in the last of the warm weather we are back and better than ever. Heading into the holiday season you can expect more checkpoint posts filled with our sharp wit and strong sentence structures.

Let’s get down to business. (See, that was a strong declarative sentence.)

Thus far, we know of three checkpoints this weekend.

Akron will be having one tonight (Friday) at 3719 S. Main Street. We do not have the hours for this checkpoint.

Butler County will have one tonight from 11 pm to 4 am. It will be in the city of Monroe along Ohio 73.

Lucas County will have one tonight from 9 pm to 1 am tonight. The checkpoint will be held in the 6800 block of Angola Road in Springfield Township.

We also know about a checkpoint in Cleveland next Wednesday evening. This will be one of many throughout the area on the day before Thanksgiving. More details on that to follow.

Enjoy the weekend and, as always, drive safe.

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The seasons are beginning to change in Ohio, adding a little color to the trees. But while temperatures are starting to drop, the push that police have been making throughout 2011 to arrest drunk drivers continues.

So far we know of three checkpoints this weekend, including two in Cleveland Friday night. Yes, that’s two in the same city.

FRIDAY
Cleveland No. 1 - Will have one at East 111th Street and St. Clair. It will run from 11 pm to 3 am.

Cleveland No. 2 – The city will also have one in the Fourth District at Broadway Avenue and Baxter. It will run from 7 pm to 12 am.

SATURDAY
Maple Heights – Will have one on Saturday at Lee Road. It will run from 9 pm to 1 am.

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Need legal representation for an OVI or DUI case in Ohio? Contact Taubman Law (Northeast Ohio) or Hastie Legal Offices (Central Ohio). We protect the rights of our clients.

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Onyango Obama is uncle to a man you may have heard of – President of the United States of America Barack Obama. But even a strong family tree couldn’t help him when he was pulled over near Boston and blew a point .14 (the legal limit in Massachusetts, like Ohio, is .08).

That’s not to say that the less famous Mr. Obama didn’t try to play up his name. This story in the Huffington Post quotes an AP story that quotes Obama as saying he would ‘Call the Whitehouse’ with his one phone call.

Nonetheless, he’s in hot water with the locals and with U.S. Immigration (he’s originally from Kenya). Our recommendation if you get caught up in an OVI case? Call an experienced OVI attorney. (You know, like your friends at Taubman Law or Hastie Legal Offices in Ohio.) That call will get through to someone who can actually help.

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Summer is starting to wind down and football is upon us. This is a mixed blessing, of course, but we like football at the Ohio OVI Blog, so we’re feeling pretty good.

But the end of summer has police out in droves around the state. Already we have word of checkpoints throughout Ohio, and the details are below.

Since there are so many this week, we have broken the checkpoints down by day. We have called the usual areas and will update you if we hear more. We’re also still waiting to hear updates from our friends in Central Ohio.

As always, our recommendation is that you avoid drinking and driving at all cost. This will keep us all safe. Should you get charged with OVI in Ohio, however, we want to ensure your rights are defended. The law firms of Taubman Law (Northeast Ohio) and Hastie Law Offices (Central Ohio) have experience taking care of their clients.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s list.

FRIDAY

Cleveland – There will be a driver’s license checkpoint Friday night in the Second District. It will be at West 33rd and Broadview between 8 pm and 1 am.

Euclid – Will have one Friday night from 10 pm to 2 am on State Route 283.

North Royalton – Will have on on State Route 82. It will run from 8 pm to 12 am.

South Euclid – Will have one from 9:30 pm to 2:30 am. It will be on South Belvoir Blvd from 9:30 pm to 2:30 am. Got some new info on South Euclid … checkpoint is starting on Green Rd. north of Monticello. 2nd stop is Belvoir in front of quarry south. Finally on Mayfield, eastbound, in front of McDonalds! They are moving it around all night.

Columbus: Will have one on Sawmill Rd. just north of I-270 from 9pm-3am. Columbus police will be doing a second one on Refugee Road, west of Hamilton Road. East side of Columbus. 9pm to 3 am.

Muskingham County: Will have one on US 22 south of mile post 7 in Newton Twp. 10p-2am.

Clark County: Will have one on US 40 (National Road) and US 68 in western Springfield, OH 10pm-2am.

Butler County: will have one in Fairfield, OH on Pleasant Avenue in downtown Fairfield from 10p-4a.

Logan County: will have one at Russell’s Point (on Indian Lake), on Route 235 north of Lakeview Rd. 10pm-3am.

Lorain County: We try to catch every checkpoint but sometimes we miss one or two. Some of our friends alerted us to checkpoint in ELYRIA at 9 p.m. to 2 a.m on State Route 57 near West River Road.

SATURDAY

Akron – Will have one from 10 pm to 2 am on West Exchange Street.

Maple Heights – Will have one on Lee Road from 8 pm to 12 am.

Olmsted Falls – Will have one on Columbia at Bagley from 11 pm to 3 am

Washington Court House (Central Ohio): will have one at the intersection of Columbus Ave. and Olive St. Sat. 10-3.

Belmont County: They won’t release the details until tomorrow.

Portage County: Will have a checkpoint from 10 pm to 3 am. It will be in conjunction with the Brimfield Police on State Route 43.

SUNDAY

Bedford – Will have one on Northfield, south of Rockside from 9 pm to 1 am.

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Ohio’s Highway Patrol planned twice as many sobriety checkpoints this year as it had in 2010 thanks to a federal grant. More than a quarter of those took place this past weekend. The patrol planned 27 checkpoints this weekend. Increasingly, they are seeing people driving dangerously because of narcotics both illegal and prescription. In some cases officers can look at the direction the suspect’s eyes are moving to determine whether they are intoxicated on alcohol versus pills.
The Cleveland Police department is continuing the trend on cracking down on drivers and announced today that they will be doing a license checkpoint on Monday. The checkpoint is between the hours of 10:00 a.m and 14:00 p.m. on St Clair between East 93rd Street and East 96th.
If you or anybody you know ran into any legal problems this weekend, contact us for professional and courteous help.

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Editor’s note: This article is from Attorney Ed Hastie’s article in Columbus’ 614 Magazine, entitled “To Blow or Not to Blow”

The most common question I receive from clients and prospective clients is whether or not they should take a breathalyzer test. Many times this question comes while a client is in the back of a police car or pulled over to the side of the road. Other times a suspected OVI offender must make the decision on their own because no attorney can be reached. Contrary to popular belief there is no set answer. In order to make the decision you need to understand the consequences and effects of refusing a “breath” test.

Let me start with Rule #1. If you aren’t sure whether you should drive, take a f*cking cab! If everybody followed Rule #1, I wouldn’t need to write the rest of this column. Ok, I’ve gotten that off my chest.

OVI Overview
In Ohio there are two types of OVI charges, a per se charge and an impaired charge. A per se charge is when a person has a prohibited amount of alcohol in their blood, breath or urine. This charge occurs when a person “blows over.” An impaired charge is when a person’s driving was impaired by the use of alcohol. This type of charge is much more subjective and doesn’t rely on the results of a breath test. Generally you will be charged with both if you fail a breath test. If you understand the difference between the two charges you can make an informed decision about whether or not to submit to testing.

“Oh crap, I’m getting pulled over!”

It’s a common scenario; a client is out drinking and makes the terrible decision not to follow Rule #1. Your driving caught the attention of police and you are getting pulled over. What should you do?

First, pull safely over. Keep in mind officer safety when deciding where to stop. Be courteous at all times throughout your interaction with the police. Yelling and berating a cop is a sure way to exacerbate the situation. When questioned, never admit to drinking. This will be used against you in court. Besides, nobody believes you only had “1 or 2” drinks. Remember, the police officer is gathering information to decide whether to arrest you and to make his case air tight. You are under no obligation to give them any information.

“Step out of the car”

Generally, the police officer will then ask you to step out of the car. This is a key part of your case. Ask the officer “am I under arrest?” If yes, then get out and shut up. If no, tell the officer you would like to remain in your car since you aren’t under arrest. CAUTION: This is likely to upset the officer. Make sure you say this in a calm voice with both hands where the police officer can see them. They will likely ask again. At this point, I would repeat your answer. If they begin to threaten you or continue arguing, I would get out of the car and inform the officer that you don’t intend to answer any questions.

“Stand on one leg…”

In an attempt to gather more evidence, an officer will ask you to submit to standardized field sobriety testing (SFSTs). Generally I do not advise a client to submit to field testing. First, you probably aren’t going to pass. These tests are subjective and interpreted by the officer. They are looking for more than just whether you can keep yourself vertical for 30 seconds. Many clients think they have passed when in fact they haven’t. You’ve been drinking and these tests aren’t as easy to pass as your buddies tell you. There is no penalty for not taking the field tests. Unlike refusing a breath test, you won’t lose your license if you refuse field testing. Additionally, refusing gives the police less evidence to substantiate an OVI charge. If they arrest you anyway, you have a much better chance of beating the charge or getting an acceptable plea offer.

“Blow into this”

Finally, you are taken to the station and told to blow into the breathalyzer machine. Should you do it?

You first need to make an honest assessment of how much you have had to drink. If you have seriously had only one or two drinks then you may want to roll the dice. To get a better idea of what puts you over the limit, check out the Drink Wheel at www.intox.com/wheel/drinkwheel.asp. Remember, this can only give you a basic idea. For example, the time I pounded eight airline miniatures on the four hour flight to Vegas would have put me into the failure category. Luckily, I took the advantage of a modified version of Rule #1: I took a limo. That particular trip (after some hot dice), I even took a limo back. Okay, back to reality.

First you must understand the consequences. If you refuse or fail the test you will be placed under an Administrative License Suspension. A refusal gets you a thirty day “hard” suspension (no privileges allowed) and a 1 year “soft” suspension (privileges at the judge’s discretion). Even if you plea to a lesser charge, your license will still be suspended for a year. If you have a prior conviction a refusal will double your ¬¬exposure to jail time. A failure gets you 15 day hard suspension and a 6 month hard suspension. Either way your license is going to get suspended.

Remember, a test removes all doubt. A high test (.17 BAC or above) doubles your minimum jail sentence, and assures “party plates” upon conviction. A breath test is just another strong piece of evidence they will use against you. In a per se charge general evidence of your sobriety and driving won’t matter. Sure, there are ways to prove a test was faulty. However, my experience indicates beating a test is extremely difficult.

Finally, by the time you are asked to take a breath test you most likely have already been charged with the “impaired” OVI. In that case a low test will not save you. The impaired charge is harder to prove. After all, once you’re at the station your goal should be to minimize the damage. Not taking a test will eliminate the per se charge and give the police less evidence with which to convict you. In most circumstances, refusing is the right decision.

“You are free to leave”

After you leave, call an attorney. There will be plenty of time to ponder why you didn’t take a f*cking cab.

For more on the DUI/OVI practice at Hastie Legal, visit our site.

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Happy Monday to you, Ohio. As we reported in our weekend post, there is a checkpoint today in Cleveland.

Here are the details: The checkpoint will be at Madison Avenue and West 85th Street. It will begin at 9:30 p and run until 1 am.

As always, the Ohio OVI Blog is here to make sure we keep the streets safe and protect people’s rights. We want you to know about checkpoints so you make the wise decision to designate a driver if you’re going out to drink. At the same time, we want to make sure your rights are protected if you get mixed up in a DUI or OVI case. We have legal teams in Northeast Ohio and Central Ohio who know OVI law in Ohio. Please contact us if you need help.

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Things have finally cooled off across the state, giving us all a much-needed break from the heat.

But we’ll tell you what hasn’t cooled off: The Police’s desire to stop drunk driving!

OK, that was probably one of our worst attempts at a transition here at the Ohio OVI Blog, but every post can’t be on par with a David Foster Wallace novel, right? Let’s get down to business. It’s summer and lots of people are out enjoying a few adult beverages. But responsible drivers everywhere are taking cabs and designating drivers to get home safely. We hope you’re doing the same. The police are doing there part to catch drunk drivers, and we’ve heard news on four checkpoints so far for this weekend and into next week.

The first will be in Seven Hills Saturday night. It will be from 7 pm to 1 am at Rockside at Pinnacle Park.

In Central Ohio, we have details on two checkpoints so far.

One is in Millersport (Fairfield County) tonight. It will be on State Route 204, just east of State Route 37. This is near Buckeye Lake.

The other is in Plain City (Madison County). It will also be tonight and will be on State Route 42 near W. Main Street. It will be right by the Der Dutchman restaurant, a place we’re sure you Plain City locals know well.

The last checkpoint we’ve heard about will be in Cleveland. It will be Monday night, but the details have not yet been released.

In other news, we’ve heard that Rover fest – which takes place in Eastlake – will be hopping this weekend. It sold out, and the police will have strong saturation points throughout the area to monitor safety. It’s likely there will also be liquor control mechanisms in place, including undercover agents. If you’re heading out to see Rover (or just to see Ms. Morning Glory), be safe and be smart.

That’s all we have for now. Remember, we keep this blog to warn people of the dangers of drunk driving. But we also want all drivers to know they have legal rights. Should you get mixed up in an OVI or DUI case, we have lawyers who know how to help you. Find out more at the sites for Taubman Law (Northeast Ohio) or Hastie Legal Offices (Central Ohio).

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