Will the new Rules of Professional Conduct help Ohio OVI/DUI Defendants?

At the begining of February, 2007, the Ohio Supreme Court adopted new Rules of Professional Conduct. While we attorneys have always had rules to govern our conduct, the "new rules" are much more specific and some go as far as spelling out "imperatives" for us to follow.

It is this attorney's belief that new rule 3.1, which governs "Meritorious Claims and Contentions" places a duty on prosecutors not to assert an issue that doesn't have a basis in "fact." How does this help OVI/DUI defendants? Quite simply put, if an investigation and arrest was preserved on video and the video clearly shows that the officer did not give the proper instructions or use the standardized procedures for the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (i.e., the HGN/eye test, the Walk & Turn, and the One-leg Stand), then the prosecutor, under Rule 3.1, may have a duty to agree that the test was not administered in "substantial compliance" with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's standardized procedures.

So what happens if the prosecutor still tries to use the field tests against you? Well, the "Scope" of the new Rules of Professional Conduct suggest that they may be subjecting themselves to sanctions. But again, these rules are new and only time will tell if they truly have any implications to OVI/DUI cases or not.

And as previously stated, the position in this article is the opinion of the author and may not be shared by other attorneys (especially prosecutors)! It is strongly encouraged that these issues be discussed with your OVI/DUI attorney to see if the Rules of Professional Conduct may have an impact on your Ohio DUI/Ohio OVI case.


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