But the secret of the hidden bullet trick is not what the police (via Form 2255) tell the DUI suspect. The secret lies in what they don`t tell the suspect. Certainly, there will be a longer ALS if the suspect refuses. But ALS is a pre-trial suspension, pre-dissolution. If the suspect appears in court and pleads guilty to OIV or drunk driving, the judge (or court) will impose another stay himself. In general, this suspension is for 1 year, even if the defendant has passed the test. In other words, the administrative suspension in the form of an SLA is different from the judicial suspension imposed once the case is resolved. Another important consideration is what happens if there is an acquittal. Under Ohio law, ALS does not end if the person is found not guilty. Since ALS is only imposed if the person gets a test above the limit or refuses, an acquittal does not end the suspension. The only way the suspension ends is if the court lifts it because (1) the police did not have the right to arrest the person, (2) the police did not inform the suspect of the implied consent provisions, (3) the person did not refuse the test, or (4) the person took the test and did not exceed the legal limit. It is not uncommon for a person who refuses to take the test to be found not guilty and then have to complete the remainder of the one-year ALS, even if the judge or jury has determined that they are not guilty of impaired driving.
However, this does not mean that ALS time is “wasted”. For example, a court could usually impose a one-year suspension for a first violation. If ALS has been stayed on charges (perhaps after 5 days), the court will usually credit the 5 days prior to the stay. If the ALS has remained intact, the court usually dates its own suspension to the beginning of the ALS (usually the dates of arrest). In other words, it may make sense to keep ALS intact, even if a stay would be possible to “finish” it sooner. To avoid these constitutional and legal problems, Ohio courts have created some relief for DUI defendants facing the “fast and safe” immediacy of ALS. When an accused first appears in court (the prosecution) or even at subsequent appearances, trial courts may (if they deem it appropriate) postpone or “suspend” ALS. The only other option is a permanent ID card. The catch here is that permanent identification invalidates the person`s driver`s license.
This means that the person must pass a new test (written and driving) in order to obtain a driver`s licence. They can`t even get limited driving licenses until they have a valid driver`s license. This means that the suspect has undergone the test (has not refused), but there is no result above the limit. In this situation, the police (yet) have no reason to impose ALS. Note that this does not mean that police will wait to charge the suspect with drunk driving violations. There will still be an impairment fee, but there will be no Per Se violation (for testing above the legal limit. This case will be taken to court (as if there were a rejection). A second Per Se fee may come later (if the blood or urine test is above the legal limit).
Many are surprised by the immediate impact of ALS. For example, a person arrested for drunk driving with a refusal or test above the legal limit cannot drive to work the next day or even the next day. They can`t drive to get their car out of the crisis, pick up their children from school, or take them to a doctor`s appointment. You can`t rent a car, drive to a customer, or go home for the holiday season. These are very real issues that people face on a regular basis. But most people don`t realize the importance of these consequences until they have to deal with them. The best choice is to seek legal advice before making a decision. And police usually allow a suspect to contact a lawyer before deciding what to do.
That`s why Yavitch & Palmer`s DUI and OVI lawyers are available 24/7 to help people make this difficult decision. Our lawyers will take the time to explain the implications of the suspension and driver`s license in simple and understandable detail. For 25 years, we have been helping people navigate (even in the middle of the night) the minefield of the arrest trial for drunk driving. It is important to know that the police officer can choose which test to offer to a suspect. The suspect cannot choose which test (if any) they will take.