Ohio's State Highway Patrol is teaming with local law enforcement agencies to set up sobriety checkpoints throughout the state. The checkpoints are part of the state's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, which runs from August through September of 2013.
The checkpoints will likely lead to driving under the influence, or DUI, charges.
Sobriety checkpoints in Ohio
Sobriety checkpoints are roadblocks set up by police officers to stop vehicles and question drivers about their use of drugs or alcohol while driving. In order to be legal, these checkpoints must be publicized in advance.
Generally, state law does not allow an officer to stop a vehicle unless there is suspicion that the driver violated the law. In a case that went to the Supreme Court, Michigan v. Sitz, the Court upheld the use of these checkpoints. The Court found that the benefit of reducing the risk of drunk driving outweighed the inconvenience to the drivers who were stopped.
Impact of a DUI conviction in Ohio
DUI convictions come with hefty penalties in Ohio. Enforcement officers are working to keep the state's roadways safe by removing drivers who are suspected of violating the law and are estimated to make over 25,000 DUI arrests every year. If you are charged with a DUI, it is important to take the charges seriously before they become a conviction.
Criminal penalties associated with a first DUI in Ohio can include:
- Six month revocation of the driver's license.
- Mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment.
- Potential installation of an ignition interlock device.
Penalties associated with these charges can be increased based on the facts surrounding each situation. If, for example, an accident was connected to the arrest and there were injuries, harsher penalties may apply.
Defenses available, contact an attorney
Defenses are available for those charged with a DUI. A variety of defenses are available if, for example, a breathalyzer was used at the checkpoint to gather evidence to make the arrest. Possible defenses include whether or not the officer using the breathalyzer was properly trained on how to use the device as well as whether or not the device was properly calibrated and maintained.
These are just a few of the defenses that may be available. The type of defense will depend on each situation. A successful defense could lead to a reduction or, in some cases, even a dismissal of charges. Contact an experienced Ohio DUI lawyer to discuss your options.