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There are three phases involved when an officer arrests you for an OVI. Back in January we tackled phase one, vehicle in motion. This post is solely dedicated to Phase Two, personal contact.

The first task of Phase Two, observation and interview of the driver, begins as soon as the suspect vehicle and patrol vehicle have come to complete stops. Usually an officer will have developed suspicion that the driver is impaired by observing something unusual when the vehicle was in motion. i.e. speeding or weaving. However, this is not always true; the suspect could have been pulled over for expired tags or an equipment violation. Regardless of the evidence that may have come to light during detection phase one, vehicle in motion, the officer’s face-to-face contact with the driver usually provides the first definite indicators that the driver is impaired.

During the face-to-face observations, an officer will use his/her sense of sight, hearing and smell to gather evidence of alcohol or other drug influence.

Sight, here officers are looking for bloodshot eyes, soiled clothing, fumbling fingers, alcohol containers, drug paraphernalia and unusual actions.

Hearing, during the interview in the car officers are looking to hear slurred speech, admissions of drinking, inconsistent responses, abusive language and unusual statements.

Finally, there is Smell, here the officer is trying to smell alcoholic beverages, marijuana, cover up odors and other unusual odors. The arresting officer has to be properly trained to recognize these sensory observations and has to have the ability to smell the evidence clearly and convincingly.

The basic purpose of the face-to-face observation and interview of the driver is to identify and gather evidence of alcohol and/or other drug influence. There are a number of additional tests officers may and do use to determine if the driver is intoxicated while he or she is still behind the wheel. These techniques apply the concept of divided attention; they require the driver to concentrate on two or more things at the same time. They include both question techniques and psychophysical (mind/body tasks) techniques. These techniques are not as reliable as the standardized field sobriety tests but are still useful in obtaining evidence of impairment.

Questioning Techniques: Officers use three techniques when asking questions. First, they ask for two things simultaneously. An example of this is requesting that the driver produce both the driver’s license and the vehicle registration. Here, the officer is looking for a driver who forgets to produce both documents, produces documents other than the ones requested, etc. The second questioning technique is when an officer asks interrupting or distracting questions. This type of questioning occurs when the driver is asked to produce documents; the officer will then ask the driver without looking at your watch, what time is it right now? The officer is observing whether you ignore the time question, forget to resume the search for the documents or if the driver supplies a grossly incorrect answer. The final technique is asking unusual questions. This occurs when the officer has the driver’s license. An example of this type of question would be asking the driver what their middle name is.

In addition to the questioning techniques, an officer may ask the driver to recite the alphabet starting at a particular letter and ending at another. Also, the officer may ask the driver to count down from 48 to 33 out loud. Finally an officer may instruct to do a finger count. This is touching your thumb to each finger up and then counting, 1,2,3,4.

After Phase one and two are completed the officer will start phase three: pre-arrest screening. This phase includes field tests and breathalyzer. We will explain this important phase in a future post.

If you or a person you know are in need of competent DUI/OVI defense in Ohio contact Brian Taubman at 216-621-0794 or by email at BrianTaubman@taubmanlaw.net.

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up we are planning an extensive checkpoint list for you this week. In the meantime, however, we want to remind you that drinking and driving isn’t safe and the cops are on the lookout for drunk drivers.

We do that by telling you about a case we had from last St. Patrick’s Day. We had a client who was pulled over in Solon for expired tags. Once pulled over, the police noticed signs of intoxication – I.E. smell of alcohol, glassy eyes and slurred speech. Our client admitted to drinking a beer and subsequently failed the sobriety test.

Taken to the police station, he blew a .175, which put in him in position to receive a Super DUI. As we’ve often mentioned, Super DUIs are quite damaging to your long-term record. Fortunately for our client, after a few court appearances we were able to negotiate the plea to a regular DUI. The client received no time in jail, no yellow plates and was able to get driving privileges within two weeks. Although at Taubman Law we pride ourselves on being able to beat nearly every OVI case we face, sometimes the best result still leaves a mark on the record.

This case is a good reminder for people about their rights. Remember, you never have to perform field sobriety tests. Also, sometimes it is better not to blow in the breathalyzer.

As always, if you have an OVI case you need help with, contact us today to make sure your rights are protected.

Happy turkey time Northeast Ohio. The team over at Taubman Law is about to take a long weekend to enjoy the season, but we wanted to get our weekly list of checkpoints out before everyone begins their holiday travels.

Because so many people travel this time of year there are checkpoints and saturation points all over the area the next four days. So, while you might be tired of hearing us say it, we’ll say it again: If you’re going to be drinking, designate a driver. Take our word for it; you don’t want to deal with a DUI or OVI during the holiday season (check out our Cuyahoga County DUI site sometime to see what a pain the punishment for DUI/OVI is).

Anyway, we already know about checkpoints in Elyria, Euclid and Portage County this weekend. The details of those, along with the list of other areas we checked, are below. If we hear anything else we’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, we’d like to use this time of thanks to say how much we appreciate our readers. We’re over 700 ‘likes’ on Facebook and have had several posts go over 500 views on our blog. We hope this blog helps keep our community safe. We’re big fans of Northeast Ohio here at Taubman Law, and we’re always happy to help you defend your rights. Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email if you ever need anything.

In the meantime, enjoy the stuffing and eat the last piece of pie while nobody is looking.

Akron/Summit County – We haven’t heard yet; we will update you when we get details.
Beachwood – NO
Bedford – NO
Berea – NO
Brecksville – NO
Brooklyn – NO
Brooklyn Heights – NO
Cleveland Heights – NO
Cleveland – As of right now none are scheduled, we will update as soon as we know more.
Elyria – They have one scheduled on Friday, November 26, on Lake Ave.
Garfield Heights – NO
Kent – NO
Lakewood – NO
North Ridgeville – NO
Euclid - Yes, Wednesday the 24 of November from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. It will either be on Euclid, Lakeland or Lakeshore
Ohio Highway Patrol – None scheduled in Cuyahoga County, will update if we receive any more information.
Independence – NO
Maple Heights – NO
Medina – NO
Mentor – NO
Middleburg – NO
North Royalton – NO
Olmsted Falls – NO
Olmsted Township – NO
Parma – NO
Parma Heights – NO
Portage County -Yes, on Saturday, November 27, there will be saturation patrols in Brunswick with the focus on State Routes 202, 2, and 18.
Rocky River – NO
Shaker Heights – NO
Sandusky – NO
Seville – NO
Seven Hills – NO
South Euclid – NO
Streetsboro- NO
Strongsville – NO
University Heights – NO
Valley View – NO
Youngstown – NO
Wadsworth – NO
Warren – NO
Westlake – NO

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If you found this blog, you’re either interested in OVI in Ohio, have recently been charged, know someone who has been charged or are just curious.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI or OVI, your head is probably spinning as you ask yourself the normal questions: What are the next steps? How much trouble could I be in if convicted? How much will I spend trying to prove my innocence?

It’s OK. First, let’s take a deep breath. The legal process from here can be a bit tricky, so the next thing you need to is consult a lawyer who can help you navigate. Of course that, too, can be tough. If you type DUI lawyer into Google you’ll be overwhelmed with the results. How do you select one when so many come up? You take careful steps to pick an attorney who will act as a guide through the legal steps necessary to properly defend yourself. And to do that you need to create some standards before you hire anybody. To help with that I’ve created a troubleshooting guide.

Here are four questions you should be asking yourself as you look for a DUI or OVI attorney.

1.      Are they concerned with aggressively fighting for you and your rights?

Many attorneys handle DUI cases like clockwork, looking to have you plea out at the first offer, meaning you’ll have a non-expungeable DUI on your record. While no outcome is guaranteed, your attorney should be helping you define a strategy that ensures someone is looking out for your long-term welfare. That means they should help you with a game plan that considers all of the options and explains the possibility of each.

2.      Can this person explain the potential consequences and solutions in a way you understand?

Let me be honest with you: The legal world is the worst offender when it comes to jargon and technical speak. That can be tough when you are scared and have questions about what will happen to you. If an attorney can’t simply explain the process and your options to you, you’ll have a hard time being sure you were represented fairly. Find someone you can talk to through this difficult process.

3.      Are you talking with your attorney?

It’s not a crime to be busy, but it’s certainly an insult when a lawyer is too busy to talk with you personally. If you’re in a tough spot, you should be able to get face to face interaction with your attorney when you want it. If you’ve tried to meet with your attorney and you ended up talking with someone else at the firm, or told to just send an e-mail, you’re at the wrong place.

4.     Does this attorney have experience with DUI or OVI cases?

There are attorneys out there who are great at practicing everything from tax law to dispute resolution, but that doesn’t mean they know how to handle every case. Oftentimes people turn to an attorney they know or have used before in any situation, but that’s not always a good idea. You should always know the person representing you has experience in the practice area in which you have a need. I often use this example: Josh Cribbs is tremendous in the field of professional athletics, but I doubt I’d hire him to pitch a decisive game for the Indians. Different situations call for different expertise, so make sure you’re talking with someone who knows everything about DUI laws in the state of Ohio and understands the local legal system.

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.