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  • 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

Ten Ways to Beat a DUI / OVI in Ohio - 1 through 4
Ways 1-4 >>>       Ways 5-7 >>>      Ways 8-10 >>>

1. No Reasonable Suspicion To Make A Traffic Stop

For a police officer or highway patrolman to lawfully effectuate a traffic stop, the officer must have a valid reason to do so. The Fourth Amendment requires that an officer possess reasonable suspicion that a crime is either being committed or about to be committed before he/she can intrude upon the privacy of a citizen by making a traffic stop. Reasonable suspicion may consist of any minor traffic offense, such as speeding, weaving, an accident, expired plates, or a failure to activate headlights. Reasonable suspicion may also exist if the police receive an anonymous tip regarding erratic driving. Before a valid stop can be effectuated, however, the arresting officer must make independent confirmation of this unsafe driving.

2. No Signs Of Intoxication

Once an officer has made a traffic stop, he can inquire further as to whether or not the driver might be operating the motor vehicle while under the influence. The officer can confirm this suspicion through the administering of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, or “SFST’s,” or by using a portable breath test machine. Before the officer can make these inquiries, however, he/she must possesses a reasonable suspicion that the driver might be impaired. Such suspicion may be warranted if the driver has an odor of alcohol about his/her person, has slurred speech, or bloodshot and glassy eyes. An admission to the consumption of alcohol or a controlled substance may also meet the criteria of reasonable suspicion. If the officer observes no sign of impairment, then there is no reason to administer field sobriety tests as no reasonable suspicion exists to do so.

3. Improper Administration of Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests were developed to help determine the level of intoxication of a given driver without chemical testing. When a DUI / OVI suspect refuses a chemical test, the Standard Field Sobriety Test’s can serve as weighty evidence in favor of conviction if they are not properly performed by the defendant. To serve as evidence, however, the arresting officer is required to administer the tests correctly. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has established guidelines for how SFST’s must be administered. If an arresting officer fails to substantially comply with the guidelines set forth by NHTSA, then the results of those tests will not be admissible against the defendant. 

Our attorneys are very experienced in cross-examining arresting officers concerning the stop, arrest and any field tests that may have been administered.

Many jurisdictions carry in-dash cameras in every police cruiser.  The recordings made from these cameras must be disclosed to the defendant or his/her counsel. They help to establish not only the suspect’s performance on SFST’s, but also the officer’s compliance with NHTSA guidelines in administering the tests.

This office is experienced in identifying the appropriate, or inappropriate administration of field sobriety tests. Our attorneys are NHTSA certified to conduct and administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. If an officer makes a mistake, we can use that error to render the results of the test inadmissible. The less evidence the State has to convict, the less likely the State will be able to obtain a conviction for DUI / OVI.

Our lawyers have successfully defended cases in which the standardized field sobriety test were improperly administered and/or graded.

4. Standard Field Sobriety Tests Misinterpreted

SFST’s must not only be administered properly, but they also must be correctly scored. Arresting officers must carefully observe a DUI / OVI suspect’s performance on SFST’s to determine if the suspect is showing signs of impairment. Certain mistakes during the performance of a test weigh in favor of impairment, and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration sets forth the types of mistakes which will constitute a failure of the test. 

Arresting officers often misinterpret mistakes made by suspects performing the tests and deem the performance a failure. Through the use of video tapes and aggressive cross examination of the arresting officers, this office will be able to determine with specificity whether or not a DUI / OVI defendant actually did fail a field sobriety test, or if the officer was mistaken. If it is determined that a defendant did not fail a test, the results of that test will serve as evidence that the defendant was not impaired. Moreover, if the tests are performed adequately as a whole, such evidence may render any alleged probable cause for arrest invalid, serving to suppress any and all evidence obtained subsequent to an arrest for a DUI / OVI. Again, the less evidence a prosecutor has, the less likely he/she will be able to convict a defendant of a DUI / OVI. To determine if you passed the tests administered to you, call (216) 696-0900 or 1-888-DUI-OHIO (384-6446) immediately!

Disclaimer � Copyright 2007 Zukerman, Daiker & Lear Co., L.P.A. All rights reserved.

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