Last week, in an OVI suppression hearing, a local judge ordered all evidence of our client's alcohol impairment, including her incriminating statements and failed field sobriety tests to be suppressed, effectively protecting her from prosecution as a multiple OVI offender, and 3rd OVI offender in 6 years. Prior to the successful suppression hearing, our client faced a mandatory minimum sixty days in jail and up to one year incarceration. She also faced a mandatory license suspension between two and ten years, forfeiture of her vehicle, and additional sanctions. After the suppression hearing the charges were dismissed.
Our client, who had been out at a local bar with friends, had consumed craft beers. As she was pulling away from a closed business parking lot around 2:00 am, a police officer followed her, suspecting that she was driving under the influence of alcohol. The officer continued to follow her in the hope of observing her commit a traffic offense. While the officer observed no traffic violations, he did observe our client pull into a second closed business parking lot several miles from where he originally saw her. The officer decided to stop her to investigate despite not seeing any traffic violations.
Upon his initial approach, the officer claimed the following: a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot and watery eyes, and slurred speech. These observations are commonly alleged by officers in OVI stops. When the officer asked her if she had been drinking, our client admitted to consuming several craft beers before leaving the bar to drive home.
After detecting alcohol related clues, the officer removed her from her car and administered field sobriety tests all of which he claimed she failed. Our client was arrested at the scene and taken to the station where she refused the officer's request for a breath test. She was charged as a multiple OVI offender, and 3rd OVI offense in a 6 year period with a refusal.
In court, the prosecutor refused any plea negotiations in light of what was described as an egregious OVI, and an offender with an extensive history of alcohol related offenses.
Faced with the prospect of mandatory penalties that included up to one year in jail, up to a 10-year license suspension, and the forfeiture of her vehicle, our lawyers recommended a motion to suppress.
At the suppression hearing, our lawyers argued that despite the evidence supporting the OVI charge, the police officer illegally stopped and detained the client because he was without reasonable suspicion to believe that she had either committed a traffic offense or was engaged in the commission of criminal activity.
Ultimately, the court agreed with our analysis and arguments, and the motion to suppress was granted essentially gutting the prosecutor's case.
If you are facing an OVI offense, please speak with a competent attorney who has won OVI trials and motions to suppress so you can protect yourself from the many consequences of an OVI conviction, including loss of employment and substantial financial consequences. Please call our office for a free consultation to talk to one of our OVI attorneys to discuss your rights.