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Appeals process returns drunk driving case to lower court

For anyone who has never been faced with the prospect, drunk driving charges might not seem to be that big a deal. The truth of the matter is that New York law is pretty harsh and conviction on a driving while intoxicated charge can end up being life-altering -- and not in a good way.

There is so much at stake, regardless of how hold you are or how seemingly unspectacular the circumstances of the case may be, that anyone dealing with DWI charges should be working with an attorney.

A case out of Ohio reflects that such cases are taken seriously by the courts. That said, it only makes sense that defendants should take such matters seriously, too. 

The case we're writing about here doesn't seem to be all that significant. A 52-year-old woman was pulled over by police during a stop in August 2011. According to the legal records, the suspect driver was put through field sobriety tests after the stop and then arrested for alleged DWI and speeding. But the officer didn't video record the stop or the tests.

In the course of her trial, the defendant moved to suppress the evidence gathered from the stop. The argument made was that it hadn't been collected in accordance with nationally accepted standards.

The trial court denied the motion, saying it lacked sufficient detail to support a hearing. The woman pleaded no contest and was sentenced to a 30-day jail sentence, all but two days of which was suspended. She was also fined $600, had her driving privileges restricted to work for 180 days and was placed on probation for a year.

The woman lost her first appeal, but then took the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court. And that body ruled that the original trial court erred by refusing to grant the suppression of evidence motion. As a result of the reversal, the case reportedly is being returned to the trial court where a suppression hearing might alter the course justice has already taken.

Source: The Morning Journal, "Columbia Station woman's OVI case sent back to trial court," Kaylee Remington, April 17, 2014
Source:, "Ohio Supreme Court overturns drunken driving charge, says Elyria court erred in dispute over evidence," Robert Higgs, April 17, 2014

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