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Cleveland

  • 3912 Prospect Avenue East
  • Cleveland, OH 44115
  • Phone: (216) 696-0900
  • Fax: (216) 696-8800

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Zukerman, Daiker & Lear Co., L.P.A.

Attorneys at Law

Dui / Traffic

Prosecuting a DUI / OVI in Ohio

There are many parties involved in the prosecution of a DUI / OVI.  Each is influential in his/her own way in determining whether or not a given defendant will be convicted for an offense of Operating a Vehicle while Impaired, or “OVI.”  The following are a few of the parties that will be a part of your case if you have been charged.

1. The Arresting Officer

The arresting officer in an DUI / OVI case typically stands as the only witness for the prosecution. In cases where there is no chemical test measuring the defendant’s Blood Alcohol Content or “BAC,” the arresting officer may be the only evidence the State can present to sustain a conviction for DUI / OVI. It is the officer who observes the suspect driving, and initially determines whether he/she is impaired. The officer’s observations of a person suspected of DUI / OVI, such as the defendants erratic driving, the odor of alcohol on the accused's breath, the person's agility or slurred speech, are admissible in court. Furthermore, the officer can also testify in court regarding the defendant’s performance of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. 

The arresting officer often will discuss a DUI / OVI case with the prosecuting attorney and help the prosecutor to determine how to go forward with the case. The officer will relay to the prosecutor the varying degree of the effect of the alcohol/drug of abuse on the defendant's ability to drive. The prosecutor’s file may include an Alcohol Influence Report (AIR) created by the officer which lists the officer’s observations of impairment. The officer will help the prosecutor to determine how strong the State’s case may be against the defendant. Factors such as the defendant’s cooperation during arrest, indications of impairment, and results of field sobriety and chemical testing will all help the officer decide whether or not an DUI / OVI conviction should be sought. Factors weighing against conviction may move the officer to recommend a reduction in charges to the prosecutor. The arresting officer is a very influential figure in the prosecution of an DUI / OVI.

2. The Prosecutor

Each suburb or city has a prosecuting attorney who is responsible for administering justice to those who commit misdemeanor within each prosecutor’s jurisdiction.  In larger jurisdictions, such as the city of Cleveland, the city may have a law director responsible for supervising an army of prosecutors.  Each prosecutor must answer to the citizens of his/her jurisdiction and for most jurisdictions, DUI / OVI convictions are a high priority.  Powerful lobby groups closely monitor a prosecutor’s record in convicting DUI / OVI defendants, and those who fail to convict alleged drunk drivers may draw the ire of these organizations or eventually lose their job. 

If a person has been charged with DUI / OVI, it is the job of the prosecutor to vigorously seek a conviction.  Alternatively, if a person is charged with DUI / OVI but the facts of the case do not warrant a conviction, it is the job of the prosecutor to evaluate the situation and act accordingly. 

It is the prosecutor that must be convinced whether to go forward with the prosecution of a DUI / OVI offense or to offer a reduction in charges.  To obtain a reduction, the prosecutor must typically be convinced that one is warranted.  This means it is up to the defendant to show that a conviction is not warranted.  Most defendants are unaware of what evidence will persuade a prosecuting attorney to reduce a charge. 

This office will fully investigate every case, and point out the difficulties a given prosecutor may have in obtaining a conviction at trial. If the prosecutor remains unmoved, our attorneys are formidable adversaries, and are willing to take the case to trial.  This fact alone can often be the determining factor in getting a DUI / OVI charge reduced to a lesser offense. If the case must go to trial, most prosecutors are experienced and strong advocates.  To prevail over them at trial you will need strong advocates of your own. To contact an attorney, call (216) 696-0900 or 1-888-DUI-OHIO (384-6446) immediately!

3. The Judge

Much like prosecutors, each jurisdiction has a judge who presides over the court. In larger jurisdictions, a given court may have multiple judges. Unlike the prosecutor, however, the judge’s role is to be impartial, and not advocate either the prosecutor or the defendant.  The judge must preside over proceedings and decide which evidence is admissible and which is not. Though many cases go to juries, the judge can also hear cases and stand as the sole trier of fact in a given case. If no jury demand is submitted to a court, a bench trial is assumed.

In addition to overseeing court proceedings, a judge has the final determination in regard to whether or not reductions will be accepted.  For instance, assuming the defendant, or more likely defense counsel, is able to convince the officer and the prosecutor that a reduction in charges is warranted, the judge is responsible for accepting or rejecting this reduction.  If the judge refuses to accept the reduction, the parties must take the case to trial.
Disclaimer � Copyright 2007 Zukerman, Daiker & Lear Co., L.P.A. All rights reserved.

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