Columbus Police held a roadblock on High Street and Thompkins Street early Saturday morning. Police say they targeted that intersection because the area had impaired driver crashes up to 8 times higher than the rest of the city.
10TV sought the legal opinion of Tim Huey. He's a defense attorney specializing in OVI cases.
There are three ways people can avoid going through a police roadblock. The first, as required by the Supreme Court case Michigan v. Sitz, compels advance public notice of checkpoint locations. The second, requires road signage placed before the checkpoint. The third allows for drivers to use side roads to avoid going through the checkpoint.
When asked if Columbus Police followed procedure in pulling over J.T. Barrett, Huey replied, "Typically, what you would have if somebody attempts to avoid a roadblock, that might arouse suspicion, even though they are allowed to do that. They would follow them for however long they would want to follow them and they may see some minor traffic violation and that gives them the excuse to pull them over."
It's unknown if Columbus Police used a traffic infraction to pull Barrett over. The second question asked to Huey: OSU Athletic Department says Barrett was simply cited, but was he ever arrested?
"In every instance, if you're charged with OVI, you're going to be arrested. You have to be technically placed under arrest," explained Huey.
Columbus Police confirm that J.T. Barrett consented to a breathalyzer and blew a Blood Alcohol Level higher than .08.
Within sight of where J.T. Barrett was pulled over by police, a billboard for an alcoholic beverage states “Great Beer, Great Responsibility. 21 Means 21.”
J.T. Barrett is 20 years old. That brings the legal allowable limit for someone Barrett's age down to .02.
The third question posed to Huey, can J.T. Barrett fight the charges?
"If it weren't for the fact that it's under so much scrutiny, he might be in the position of saying, I want to have my day in court," answered Huey.
Huey has successfully convinced juries that police sobriety tests have margins of error significant enough to reduce charges. That could allow Barrett to face a lesser sentence with an amended charge of Underage OVI.
The typical result of a first misdemeanor offense of underage OVI is probation. The Franklin County Municipal Court has not received his charges yet. It's unknown when Barrett will be summoned to court.