Defense Attorneys Who Helped Shape Ohio OVI Law
The state of Ohio treats drunk driving very seriously. The potential penalties for an OVI conviction are severe. It is important to work with an attorney who can effectively handle your case. Experience and a history of success are requirements if you want a defense attorney who can protect you.
At Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, our criminal defense lawyers not only understand Ohio OVI law, we helped shape it. With more than 200 years of combined experience, we have litigated many OVI cases before the Ohio Supreme Court, creating precedent that affects drunk driving cases throughout the state.
Learn from our new White Papers: Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol and A Quick Guide To Regaining Your Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest. .
Your Life, Your Priorities
We are a family-oriented southwestern Ohio law firm with lawyers who will listen to what is most at stake in your situation. Whether it is your job, family life or community reputation, what is important to you is important to us. We will do everything in our power to get you the best possible outcome so you can move forward with your life. Here is what former clients have to say about us:
“Charlie Rittgers and his entire staff provided nothing but excellence. His caring and kind demeanor helped my son through a difficult time. He made him feel very comfortable and at ease. We consider Charlie to not only be a fabulous, excellent attorney, but a friend as well. Thank you again.” -Sue M.
For a consultation with an OVI defense attorney at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, call 513-496-0134 or contact us online. We are available 24/7 and represent clients primarily in Warren, Butler, Hamilton and Clermont counties.
A History of Success in Drunk Driving Litigation
Our drunk driving defense attorneys are at the forefront of the field — handling allegations of OVI, DUI and DWI. We have argued many cases affecting OVI law before the Ohio Supreme Court. Here are several of our cases that have changed Ohio OVI law:
State v. Shindler (1994)
Charles H. Rittgers amicus curiae
Holding: A highly detailed pleading of facts and law is not required to trigger the right to a motion to suppress in an OVI case. Further, the burden rests with the state to show substantial compliance with regulations once the defendant files a motion (even if “boilerplate”) to suppress..
The law created in Shindler was upheld recently by State v. Codeluppi. Over the years, courts have lessened the burden on the state required by Shindler. Within the past year in Codeluppi, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the law in Shindler and discussed it at length in the 2014 decision.
For full court opinion of State v. Shindler, click here (PDF). .
State v. Hochhausler (1996)
In this case, Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima successfully argued that the “no stay” provision in the administrative license suspension statute was unconstitutional..
This provision explicitly prevented judges from suspending mandatory license suspensions after a person is accused of OVI. The court agreed that taking the discretion away from judges was unconstitutional as it was a violation of the separation of powers. Further, we successfully argued that third parties (not defendants) who were full or partial owners of vehicles that were seized by the state as a result of an OVI arrest had an interest in the vehicle and were entitled to a hearing and could fight to get the vehicle returned..
For full court opinion of State v. Hochhausler, click here (PDF). .
State v. Mayl (2005)
Charles H. Rittgers and Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima arguing affirmance on behalf of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers amicus curiae
Holding: The state is required to show substantial compliance with blood test regulations even when the blood test was not made at the request of law enforcement (i.e., the hospital drew blood). Further, the state must show substantial compliance even when the blood test was performed by an accredited laboratory and for purposes of medical treatment. In essence, the state was trying to lower its burden because the defendant’s blood was drawn at a hospital for medical purposes. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with our argument and held otherwise..
For full court opinion of State v. Mayl, click here (PDF). .
In addition to helping create OVI law, we closely follow the outcomes of all drunk driving cases throughout Ohio to leverage new developments in favor of our clients. Here are some of the Ohio Supreme Court cases that may impact our clients accused of drunk driving:
Cincinnati v. Ilg (2014)
Ilg was charged in Cincinnati, Ohio, with an OVI after testing above the legal limit on an Intoxilyzer 8000 breath testing machine. Ilg sought COBRA data from the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine that was used to test his breath in order to challenge the machine in court..
The state refused to provide the COBRA data citing various reasons. The trial court in Hamilton County Ohio excluded the breath test results as a result of the state’s refusal to provide the data the defendant requested. The case reached the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled that the exclusion of the evidence was proper..
Holding: A defendant in an OVI case can challenge the accuracy, competence, admissibility, relevance, authenticity, and credibility of a specific test result or whether the specific machine used to test the defendant operated properly at the time of arrest. The ruling clarified the ruling in the 1984 case of State v. Vega in which the court held that a defendant was precluded from challenging the general reliability of breath testing devices if they had been approved by the director of the Ohio Department of Health.
For full court opinion of Cincinnati v. Ilg, click here (PDF). .
State v. Codeluppi (2014)
Codeluppi was charged with OVI and speeding. She filed a motion to suppress the police report evidence on three sobriety tests. The police report was the only source of evidence and did not describe the directions and procedure of the sobriety tests..
Holding: The results of the field sobriety tests are not admissible at trial unless the state shows by clear and convincing evidence that the officer administered the test in substantial compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines and the burden laid out in State v. Shindler (a Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima case discussed above).
For full court opinion of State v. Codeluppi, click here (PDF). .
Building Excellent Strategies in a Variety of OVI Situations
The lawyers at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima defend drunk driving cases involving:
- First-time DUI
- First-time OVI
- Multiple/subsequent OVI offenses
- Commercial driver’s licenses
- Drugged driving
- Refusal of chemical tests
In addition to handling criminal charges, we represent people accused of OVI in administrative license suspension hearings.
Contact Our Ohio Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys
Before beginning our criminal defense practice, Charles H. Rittgers worked in the Warren County prosecutor’s office. In this role, he prosecuted people accused of OVI and other offenses. After entering private practice and fighting for clients who had been accused of OVI, Mr. Rittgers became a founding member of the National College of DUI Defense.
All the attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima who practice in the area of OVI defense are certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and have a history of successful results in OVI cases.
Contact our OVI defense attorneys online or call us at 513-496-0134 to schedule an initial consultation. Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima has offices in Lebanon, West Chester and Cincinnati. We are ready to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
Client Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Steve Kilburn had all the answers I needed when it came to my OVI charge. He’s very knowledgeable and quick to respond to any questions. He did a great job and I was more than happy with the outcome. I highly recommend Mr. Kilburn if you’re looking for an OVI attorney.” – James Peyton
Bartender Charged with DUI (M1). Faced Mandatory License Suspension, Jail: Our client was driving home from work when she was pulled over for not having a front license plate. The officer claimed to observe 6 out of 6 clues on the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test, claimed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage, and blood shot eyes. Our client refused all other standardized field sobriety tests as well as the breath test. Following a trial, our client was found NOT GUILTY.