Juvenile DUI Offenses Cannot Be Used To Enhance Sentence
If you have a juvenile DUI offense on your record, this is big!
In a 4-3 decision impacting juvenile DUI cases, State v. Hand, Slip Opinion No. 2016-Ohio-5504, the Ohio Supreme Court declared that treating cases from juvenile court as prior convictions for adult-sentencing purposes is unconstitutional, violating the due-process clauses of the Ohio and U.S. constitutions, and is “fundamentally unfair.”
Writing For the Majority…
It was a close 4-3 decision. Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, writing for the majority, said
Juvenile courts hold a “unique place in our legal system.” In re C.S., 115 Ohio St.3d 267, 2007-Ohio-4919, 874 N.E.2d 1177, ¶ 65. They are legislative creatures that “eschewed traditional, objective criminal standards and retributive notions of justice.” Id. at ¶ 66. The overriding purposes for juvenile dispositions “are to provide for the care, protection, and mental and physical development of children subject to [R.C. Chapter 2152], protect the public interest and safety, hold the offender accountable for the offender’s actions, restore the victim, and rehabilitate the offender.” R.C. 2152.01(A). In contrast, the purposes of felony sentencing “are to protect the public from future crime by the offender and others and to punish the offender.” R.C. 2929.11(A). In summary, juvenile adjudication differs from criminal sentencing—one is civil and rehabilitative, the other is criminal and punitive.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Paul E. Pfeifer and William M. O’Neill joined Lanzinger in her opinion. Justice Terrence O’Donnell was joined by Justices Judith L. French and Sharon L. Kennedy in his dissenting opinion.
What Does It Mean For Juvenile DUI Cases?
The impact on DUI law in Ohio is apparent because the opinion specifically references a juvenile DUI analysis in a previous case. With that framework, a judge would be hard-pressed to argue that a juvenile DUI is not covered by the opinion. Given the nature of the punitive enhancements mandatory under most DUI sentences, this case is a big deal.
If you need an attorney who limits their practice to DUI and understands how to defend a juvenile DUI, contact Charles M. Rowland II (DaytonDUI) at (937) 318-1384 or 24/7 at (937) 776-2671.
All I do is DUI defense.