Ohio DUI Defense Fails to Get Dismissal

Ruling on a challenge from a DUI defendant who thought her retrial of a criminal conviction took an unreasonable amount of time, the Ohio Supreme Court recently said that prosecutors dealing with such cases are not bound to a specific time-frame.

The issue stems from a case involving Theresa Hull who was charged with DUI and driving with prohibited blood-alcohol content in late 2001 . She tried and failed to get the results of her breath test suppressed and she was convicted on the prohibited blood-alcohol charge. She appealed the denial to suppress her breath test evidence and an Appeals Court overturned the conviction and requested a new trial.

Hull was found guilty again in the second trial and that decision was upheld by an Appellate Court. Hull’s Ohio DUI defense attorney cited the Ohio Revised Code in an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. The Code says that those charged with first- or second-degree misdemeanors are to be brought to trial within 90 days of the arrest or service of summons. Hull’s Ohio DUI defense attorney said that time frame should have started when the retrial was ordered.

It took 149 days to reschedule Hull’s case.

The High Court wrote unanimously that, whereas the statutes of the speedy-trial system do specify a time frame for bringing a person to trial, they do not apply to "criminal convictions that have been overturned on appeal."

The Court further found that the time limits for criminal convictions outlined in the Ohio Constitution and the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution take precedence over the speedy trial statutes, as the statutes do not specifically address remanded cases.

Supreme Court Justice O’Donnell said that had the Ohio State Legislature wanted the "statutorily imposed speedy-trial time limitations to apply to convictions reversed and remanded on a plea of no-contest, it could have easily provided for that circumstance." The court went on to say that the Legislature could amend the statutes and
clarify time constraints for retrial if it so wished.

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