Drinking And Driving Before 21 Years Of Age: How A Juvenile OVI Conviction May Come-Back To Haunt A Person (Part II)

Alright, it has been a couple days since my last posting about Juvenile OVI conviction and I promised a follow up to discuss uncounseled Juvenile OVI convictions.  Knowing that you are all just chomping at the bit, let’s get this analysis going!

But, before jumping right into it, let’s do a quick recap about Juvenile OVI convictions and enhanceability.

As I discussed in my last amazing blog, R.C. 4511.19(G) lays out the sentencing structure for individuals who have been previously convicted of OVIs.  However, in State v. Adkins, 2011-Ohio-3141, the Ohio Supremes found that R.C. 2901.08 provides that an offender’s juvenile adjudication for delinquency is a conviction for purposes of determining the sentence to be imposed for a later offense.  Thus, juvenile adjudications can be counted under R.C. 4511.19(G) for sentencing purposes. Id.

Okay, now that is out of the way, we shall now move forward on our legal journey.

In State v. Bode, 2015-Ohio-1519, the Ohio Supremes took a look at if an uncounseled Juvenile OVI adjudication can be used to enhance penalties for an adult conviction for OVI under R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d).

In Bode, Bode was facing a felony OVI for having five previous OVI convictions within the past twenty years.  One of those convictions was a 1992 uncounseled Juvenile OVI adjudication.  Bode argued that this adjudication cannot be used against him for enhanceability purposes.  Well, good thing for Bode, the Ohio Supremes agreed.

After going through a very lengthy analysis (which I won’t bore you with), the Ohio Supremes ultimately hold that the due process protects the right to counsel for juveniles at every state of the proceedings.  The Ohio Supremes went on to state that the possibility of confinement as a disposition for juvenile adjudication requires waiver of the right to counsel by the juvenile before the adjudication may be validly used as an enhancement offense under R.C. 4511.19.

Lastly, and going for the big finish, the Ohio Supremes stated “just like for adults in State v. Brooke, 2007-Ohio-1533, we hold that for juveniles, the state may not use a prior, uncounseled delinquency adjudication to enhance a sentence for a later violation of R.C. 4511.19 if the right to counsel was violated because an appropriate waiver was not obtained.”

Outstanding!

And just as I stated in the previous blog article, this shows the importance of talking with an experienced DUI/OVI attorney to help explain how even a juvenile OVI adjudication or an underage OVI conviction can come back to haunt an individual.

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