Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to Find the Right Lawyer for You

Provided by Rittgers & Rittgers

Be Comfortable with Your Lawyer

Regardless of who you hire, make sure you are comfortable with your lawyer. Your attorney will be handling one of the most important aspects of your life and it is important that you are comfortable with him or her.

Interview Your Lawyer

Interview your lawyer. Interview a number of lawyers. Not only are you picking your lawyer, but the lawyer is picking you. It has to be a good fit for both parties.

Make Sure Your Lawyer has a Good Reputation

When choosing a lawyer, you should determine what that lawyer's reputation is in the community; both in the legal community and in the general community.

Intoxilyzer 8000; Ohio's New Breath Machine

Article Provided by Rittgers & Rittgers

The state of Ohio has purchased 700 new Intoxilyzer 8000 machines designed to measure breath alcohol levels. The Intoxilyzer 8000 is a portable machine that is designed to measure breath alcohol levels, but the machine is prone to error and is unreliable. The Intoxilyzer 8000 has begun to be used in a few counties and is expected to be rolled out statewide by fall 2009. Both the Intoxilyzer 8000 and an earlier version, the Intoxilyzer 5000, have faced a number of legal challenges in other states. Tennessee, after testing the Intoxilyzer 8000 extensively, chose not to use it. Florida, Arizona, Louisiana and Minnesota have all had lawsuits involving the Intoxilyzer. Florida started using the Intoxilyzer 8000 in 2002 and had problems initially because people being tested did not blow enough air into the machine and the machine failed to register the lack of sufficient volume. The problem was subsequently fixed. In all these cases in other states, they have requested that CMI, the company that makes the Intoxilyzer, produce the source code. CMI has resisted producing the source code because they contend it is a trade secret.

Challenging the Intoxilyzer 8000

Despite the difficulties in raising the issue of the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 8000 in Ohio, based on the track record of the device in other states there are bound to be legal challenges. Ohio may be less likely than other states to face lawsuits challenging the Intoxilyzer 8000. The 1984 case of State v. Vega — in which the Ohio Supreme Court held that a defendant in an OVI case may not attack the general reliability and validity of breath taking instruments — still applies.

Ohio Leads Nation's Surge In Female OVI

Article provided by Rittgers & Rittgers

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When Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced an increased targeting of impaired drivers, he specifically noted the national increase in female drivers arrested under drunk driving charges.

In fact, statistics coming out of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified a continued surge in drunken driving charges against women. The study cited a nearly 30 percent increase in female arrests between 1998 and 2007, contrasted with a 7.5 percent decrease in DUI charges among male drivers.

While women saw a massive percentage increase compared to previous years, they still fall far short of male drivers in terms of the numbers of drunk driving convictions as a whole. Nevertheless, the dramatic increase is frightening.

Ohio is one of 10 states where the number of female OVIs increased. In fact, Ohio led all other states with an increase of 17 percent. Of additional concern is the fact that female drivers are three times more likely than male drivers to have children under 14 in the car.

Many have offered thoughts on why OVI arrests have increased among women; a prevalent opinion seems to be that, as OVI laws have stiffened, police officers are less likely to let drivers off with a warning.

In late 2008, Senate Bill 17 was adopted in Ohio, bringing much stricter guidelines to the state's OVI laws. Under this bill, Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) devices are required for all second-time offenders, and, at the courts' discretion, may be required for first-time OVI convictions. The SCRAM device is an ankle bracelet that measures blood-alcohol content (BAC) through perspiration. The device monitors your BAC once an hour and, if you violate your sentencing or probation, officers will be dispatched to retrieve you.

Fines and driving suspensions were also increased and officers were given more authority to conduct blood tests.