Felony OVI Prompts Questions Over Juvenile’s Right To Counsel
Yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a felony OVI case that a juvenile has a right to counsel at every stage of a legal proceeding. State v. Bode, Slip Opinion No. 2015-Ohio-1519.
As stated in CourtNews, the court held that, “If confinement is a possible punishment for a juvenile, the juvenile must have waived his or her right to an attorney before the adjudication can be used to enhance a later adult conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OVI), the Ohio Supreme Court held.”
In this case, the court determined that the 2011 sentence for Jason T. Bode was wrongly enhanced when a juvenile OVI offense was counted as one of five prior OVI convictions. State law elevates an OVI misdemeanor offense to a fourth-degree felony OVI if the offender previously pled guilty to or was convicted of five or more OVI violations. However, the Supreme Court concluded that Bode’s juvenile adjudication could not be counted because he had no attorney during the juvenile proceeding and had not waived his right to counsel.
Justice Lanzinger explained that a juvenile adjudication can be counted when determining whether an offender has had five OVI convictions under R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d) because state law considers a juvenile adjudication to be a “conviction” when imposing a sentence for later offenses.
If you face a felony OVI or juvenile OVI charge, contact Charles M. Rowland II at (937) 318-1384 today.