Nearly one million Americans are arrested for impaired driving every year. And when many of those individuals are told they failed a breath test, they often feel as though there is no hope other than to plead guilty to an OVI/DUI. However, a recent New York Times article highlighted the fact many of these breath test machines-or "breathalyzers" as many people call them-are unreliable. In fact, an investigation revealed the number of breathalyzers that produce inaccurate results is both, enormous and frightening.
As most people know, medical marijuana was legalized in Ohio in 2016 and medical cannabis sales through dispensaries became legal in 2019. While a obtaining a medical marijuana card enables individuals to use marijuana in accordance with a doctor's prescription, many individuals believe it is a free pass to use the marijuana in whatever manner; however, it is not. There are many restrictions on its use. For instance, an individual cannot smoke medical marijuana. Anyone prescribed medical marijuana should use it in accordance with a medical doctor's prescription both, in terms of the amount used and the method of use.
How can the government take my license before I am convicted of a crime?
We all know that we are innocent unless and until proven guilty in this country. Yet, after an OVI accusation, it feels as though punishment is served prior to any conviction and without due process. In most Ohio OVI cases, a person's license is taken immediately upon suspicion of OVI through the "Administrative License Suspension" (ALS). Ohio imposes the ALS because Ohio is an "implied consent" state-essentially your Ohio Driver's license is a contract between you and the state of Ohio, whereby you agree to follow Ohio's rules to drive on Ohio's roads. One of those rules is that you agree to blow into the machine and not blow over in exchange for the right to drive. If you refuse to blow or blow over, then the state can take your license on the spot. While this seems directly related to your criminal OVI charge, it is a civil action by the Ohio BMV against you for violating your implied consent agreement.1
State regulators have scheduled a final inspection of 525 Genntown Drive in Lebanon this week as part of the final step towards About Wellness Ohio obtaining the certificate of operation needed to run the facility. If the dispensary passes inspection it could open within a couple of weeks.
Medical marijuana was effectively legal in Ohio on September 8, 2018 and the first dispensaries opened in early 2019. In the coming months and years, we anticipate Ohio will see more dispensaries and more medical marijuana patients. Despite the legalization, medical marijuana patients and marijuana users have a number of legal pitfalls and restrictions.
In an effort to curb drunk driving and to prevent impaired drivers from ever getting behind the wheel, it's not uncommon to hear the admonition "remember: buzzed driving is drunk driving." While an effective marketing ploy and pithy phrase, does the Ohio Revised Code agree?
Under Ohio law, an OVI charge is ordinarily a misdemeanor and not a felony. Unlike felonies, misdemeanors are not punishable by any prison time and the most serious misdemeanor is punishable by only up to six months of local jail time with a few exceptions. Under certain circumstances, however, operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol can elevate to felony charges.
The Sixth District Court of Appeals in State v. Huffman, 2017 Ohio 7007, recently released a decision clarifying what constitutes a marked lanes violation. This case is valuable for criminal defense attorneys not only because it delineates what constitutes a traffic offense but also because many of our clients charged with OVI are often initially stopped for such a violation. The Court held that a violation of Revised Code § 4511.33, the marked lanes statute, occurs when a driver travels completely across the center line or fog line.
The penalties for people convicted of drunk driving have never been more severe. A conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence in Ohio can land a person in jail, lead to expensive fines, cause the person's license to be suspended and require them to enroll in treatment classes. The penalties can be more severe depending on a number of factors, including prior convictions, higher blood alcohol content levels and more.