Delaware, Ohio DUI


DUI in Delaware, Ohio? Most of the DUI arrests in Delaware County, Ohio are Ohio State Patrol and Delaware County Sheriff's Office. Other police agencies we see throughout any given year making DUI arrests in Delaware County, Ohio are Powell P.D., Delaware P.D., Westerville P.D., Genoa Twp. P.D., and the handful of other smaller departments throughout northern Delaware County.

The OSP Post on US 23 works US 23 and southern Delaware County pretty aggressively during the peak DUI enforcement hours. Currently, 2 troopers are spending a significant amount of time on Powell Rd., Sancus, US 23, and the tributary roads feeding these major roadways. Troopers Young and Jones are certainly not having any difficulty finding vehicles to pull over as this area is populated by many upwardly mobile singles and more affluent families under the age of 40.

Naturally, this 5 square mile area has plenty of restaurants and bars that cater to these folks who tend to be our typical DUI client (i.e. 21-45, college educated, with a nice job and family). A large percentage of our practice is spent in the Delaware Municipal Court representing otherwise law abiding citizens with jobs at risk who never imagined finding themselves before a Judge on a DUI.

Fortunately, the OSP cruisers that work this area have cruiser video systems. I have found that the videos are extremely helpful in representing my clients charged with DUI in Delaware, Ohio. A number of my clients in the past few years have displayed no signs or minimal signs of impairment. I do believe that the mindset of 90% of my clients is that they believe they consumed a safe amount of alcohol over a safe period of time so as not to be illegal. Many of the arrest videos corroborate this theory. However, these same clients usually refuse to give a breath test for a variety of reasons. Most of the time it seems as though our clients have "heard not to take a breath test". Thus, they refuse and receive a 1 year license suspension.

The Delaware Municipal Court Judge, David Sunderman, takes a dim view of refusals. He does not feel comfortable granting restricted driving privileges until he "hears" the case (either at a suppression hearing or plea hearing). Also, Judge Sunderman does tend to look at prior DUI cases reduced to reckless operation for sentencing enhancement purposes. Prior DUI convictions are near guarantees of jail time, long license suspensions, and alcohol treatment. The more prior DUI convictions, the longer the jail and license suspensions. Also, Judge Sunderman strictly enforces the "Restricted Plates" (yellow license plates) provision of the DUI code. He frequently orders ignition interlock devices in vehicles as a condition to driving privileges for multiple offenders. And, in the Spring of 2006, he started ordering Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) on repeat DUI offenders.

Judge Sunderman runs a very efficient courtroom and is very much involved in the client's case from the pre-trial forward. For example, the majority of judges of Central Ohio are not involved in pre-trial conferences between the defense attorney and prosecutor. However, Judge Sunderman reviews, to some degree, nearly every case set before him at a pre-trial. Also, from the practitioner's perspective, every attorney litigating a case before Judge Sunderman needs to do their own legal research prior to the hearing or trial. Judge Sunderman is a voracious reader of case law and professional journals. He will know the most recent case on point. He keeps a large flat screen monitor on his bench and will review legal research "on the fly".

Finally, you can expect court dates to run pretty much on time which is one of the pleasures of practicing in his courtroom. The judge : case ratio is very high in The Delaware Municipal Court. In other words, the volume of cases that Judge Sunderman and Magistrate Kevin Pelanda hear on an annual basis is near the top of all Ohio courts. A second seat on the bench is coming soon. Despite the amount of cases and Judge Sunderman's more "hands on approach", the DUI cases move smoothly unlike many other Ohio courtrooms.