An enormous sense of dread ravishes the pit of your stomach as the fear and realization sets in. You have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). The anxiety and uncertainty of your current predicament looms over you and you think, what do I do? Who do I turn to? What happens now?
It is a situation where you never want to find yourself, but the unfortunate reality is if you consume any amount of alcohol and get behind the wheel and drive, you might wind up in that exact circumstance. Jeff Meadows of Meadows Law Firm, one of the region’s top DUI attorneys, believes it is important to be educated and understand what you can expect and how he can help you through this difficult scenario.
“When someone calls, we set up a consultation,” Meadows says. “I explain Ohio’s DUI laws and what they have been charged with. We go over all of their paperwork to make sure everything is factual and accurate. I explain what is involved with each type of hearing and what I can do to fight it.”
Impairment: You are charged with this if you refuse to take a chemical test. This is based on everything the officers see, smell or hear on the road, including allegations of bad driving, bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, balance problems, etc.
Per Se Violation: When you have a chemical test, blood, breath or urine that exceeds the illegal limit (.08 for breath.)
It’s important to understand the No Tolerance Law. Even if you test under the legal limit, you can still be charged with impairment. Meadows explains some of the factors taken into consideration when working a DUI case.
“Cases are easier to win when there is no bad driving. This includes situations when a police officer stops a person for reasons such as a burned out headlight, missing front license plate, equipment violations, etc.,” he says. “It also helps when there is no field sobriety test, what I like to refer to as ‘roadside gymnastics.’ ”
In the consultation, Meadows explains exactly what the person is charged with and reviews the mandatory penalties if they are convicted. Then he talks about the actual process:
The first step is the arraignment, with a plea of not guilty. Meadows addresses driving privileges and schedules a pre-trial hearing. In pre-trial, Meadows meets with the prosecutor to see if they can resolve the case and possibly settle the charge as a reckless operation instead of a DUI charge. Meadows and his client discuss everything that individual is entitled to such as the officer’s written report, videos and breathalyzer calibration logs. If the case is not resolved in pre-trial, the next step is to file a motion to suppress. This is a hearing where Meadows challenges whether the officer had a right to stop you.
Next, the prosecutor must prove probable cause for the arrest. There are standards and specific procedures that must be followed when giving either a field sobriety test or a chemical test. If not given properly, this evidence is thrown out. If the judge finds that police have complied with the regulations, they can use that evidence in the case. It now becomes Meadows’ burden to prove that the test was not reliable. If the case is not settled at this point, the next step is going to trial where Meadows will use his expertise and knowledge to help his clients pursue a positive outcome.
No one ever wants to find themselves in this unfortunate predicament, but it is important to understand what to expect and who you can trust to help you though the process.
Meadows Law Firm is located at 5900 West Chester Road, West Chester, OH 45069. You can reach them at 513.860.5533 or visit their website at www.meadowslawfirm.com.