Why Are Ohio DUI Sentences Different County to County?

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Ohio DUI cases differ from county to county. Many of our clients get confused when the DUI laws seem to be different based upon the county in which they were arrested. Every one of Ohio's 88 counties has jurisdiction over DUI arrests in their respective counties. In other words, where a DUI case is heard is determined by which county the person was arrested. The only exception is juvenile DUI (the county of residence can also have jurisdiction over the juvenile DUI offender).

Each judge in each county has discretion to sentence a DUI offender from the mandatory minimum penalties to the maximum penalties. However, the differences between judges is felt immediately when it comes to such basic topics such as whether or not the DUI offender has to appear at his/her arraignment, whether or not the judge will grant restricted driving privileges, whether or not the judge will "look back" farther than the law requires for "prior DUI convictions", whether or not the judge favors ignition interlock devices, house arrest, work-release, and other "soft" penalties, including continuous alcohol monitoring known as "SCRAM".

From an attorney's perspective, it is vital, even critical, to successful representation of a client, to know all the nuances of a particular judge. Essentially, there are so many micro-issues that will twist and turn an Ohio DUI case's progress that failing to completely understand your judge's proclivities will diminish an attorney's effectiveness. Over the next month, I will highlight each of the jurisdictions in which we routinely practice DUI in Ohio. The subtle differences from a client's perspective and the Ohio DUI attorney's perspective will be featured.