Answers to frequently asked questions regarding OVIs in Columbus Ohio:
If you’re arrested for a Columbus OVI then you should request the judge to give you time to find an attorney. An experienced OVI attorney can help you find the best option suitable to your case. In a typical OVI case your options include plea bargain negotiation, pursuit of case dismissal, and taking the case to court.
Plea Bargain Negotiation
You plead guilty and try to work out a plea bargain with the office of District Attorney. If this is your first offense then you may ask for a suspended sentence.
Taking Case to Court
You should only select this option if you’re sure that you have strong defense. Under this option, you plead “not guilty” and take your chances by going to trial.
Driver Intervention Program
First time offenders convicted of OVI may be able to get enrolled in a 3-day driver’s intervention program, and a mandatory 3-day incarceration in Jail.
Even if it is your first offense, a Columbus OVI offense is a serious charge in the state of Ohio. You can be incarceration in jail, face heavy fines and probation, have your driver’s license revoked, pay years of drastically increased insurance premiums, and there may be serious consequences with your job as well.
Under these circumstances it is highly recommended that you have an attorney review your case. We invite you to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys. We will review the specifics your case, and help you to determine the best option available to you. Even if you decide not to hire an attorney it is still empowering to know your best options.
Yes – we have helped many of our clients fight and win Columbus OVI cases. By building a strong defense, it is not only possible to get the punishment reduced, but in some cases the charges may get dropped entirely. It all depends upon who is representing you, and the details of your case. Having a skilled Columbus OVI attorney can significantly increase your odds of winning an OVI case.
We systematically review all reports filed by the police to find any anomalies in procedure. Moreover, we also ask for complete disclosure regarding the device used to conduct the BAC tests, the personnel responsible for conducting the test and maintaining the device, and also the lab certification.
Any error found in the police documentation or testing procedure may be used by our attorneys to build a strong defense for our clients.
As Ohio OVI laws are strict but are updated regularly, it is not uncommon for even the most experienced police officers to make mistakes while filing reports. Such errors in important documentation can be used to fight and beat OVI charges. You can schedule a free consultation with our attorneys; we will review your case and will help you in finding the best solution possible.
If you’re convicted for an OVI in Columbus then court may order the suspension/revocation of your license, but there are many defenses that can be undertaken depending upon the facts of the case to prevent the suspension/ revocation of your license.
Your license may get suspended by two authorities:
– Administrative license suspension by Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)
– Legal Suspension by Court
The Ohio Bureau of Motor vehicles (BMV) may suspend your license if you either refuse to give a chemical test of your BAC or if the results of chemical tests reveal that you had exceeded the legal alcohol or drug limit.
The legal suspension of license is ordered by court if somebody is found guilty of an OVI charge.
If you are pulled over by an officer under the suspension of an OVI charge then your license may get suspended under two conditions:
1. If you refuse to give a sobriety test requested by the officer.
2. If you give the test and your results reveal that your Blood Alcohol Concentration level is above the legal limit (0.08).
Under both these conditions, the officer may confiscate your driver’s license and you will get an Administrative License Suspension (ALS).
The Administrative License Suspension (ALS) is a separate civil case against you by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Under the ALS, your license may get suspended automatically from about 3 months to 5 years depending upon prior offenses and refusals. This suspension will be independent of any probation, fine or penalty imposed on you by court for an OVI offense.
The ALS can be contested by your Attorney during your arraignment. Depending upon the facts of your case, your attorney must decide whether to stay or appeal your ALS. The ALS must be appealed within a certain time period after the suspension of your license or you will lose the right to fight for it.
By staying the ALS you may continue to drive depending upon the case.
If you are convicted of an OVI then the suspension of your license may be ordered by court. You may still be allowed to retain your driving privileges under certain restrictions if you have a strong defense attorney on your side. Our attorneys have extensive experience in fighting and winning OVI charges. Call us for a free consultation to evaluate your best options in your case.
With experienced DUI legal representation and the right evidence, it is possible that you may win an ALS hearing. Our attorneys have an extensive experience in these regards.
In Columbus, and ALS can only be administered if:
1. The Officer has “reasonable cause” to believe that the driver of the vehicle is impaired.
2. The driver of the vehicle refuses a chemical BAC test.
3. The driver gives a BAC test and his BAC is found to be above the legal limit (0.08).
An experienced DUI attorney can study your case and test reports to see if all of the above conditions were met or not. Any lapses found in procedure can be used to build a strong defense of your case.
You must request the hearing within thirty days after your arrest. You won’t be allowed to contest the suspension after thirty days. You should consult our attorneys in a free consultation session and discuss your options with them. They are experienced in the field and will help you find the best option available to you.
The majority of the Columbus OVI cases do not make it to trial in court, they are settled during the pretrial period. This is why it is very important that you hire an experienced Columbus OVI attorney to handle your case. Before a case makes it to court, it passes through many pre-trial Procedures such as arraignments and pretrial motions.
During an arraignment the court will the read the charges against you; you will have to enter a plea either “Guilty” or “Not Guilty”. If you plead “Not Guilty” then you will be given a chance to review the prosecutor’s evidence and defend yourself against all accusations being made by them. During this time you will also have the opportunity to appeal against any administrative license suspensions.
The most common OVI offenses are misdemeanors and they are largely governed under traffic Laws; Serious offenses with repeated OVI priors will be considered a felony. Felony OVI charges are governed by Criminal Laws and they are charged by an indictment.
The Traffic Laws, unlike the criminal laws, require that some motions must be before entering a plea. Failure to make the motions in due time can result in a waiver. It is therefore crucial that the council considers some motions to be entered if the plea of “not guilty” is to be entered in a misdemeanor case.
Following are two pre-trail motions that must be made before a plea is entered:
– Objections and Defenses based on the defects in the institution of Prosecution
– Objections and Defenses based on the defects in the complaint
The Following Pre-trial motions must be made 7 days before a trial or 35 days after the arraignment:
– Motion to Suppress Evidence. This includes but is not limited to the identification testimony on the grounds that it was obtained illegally. (any objections to the admission of chemical test results must also be included in the motion to suppress in Ohio)
– Requests and motions for discovery.
– Motions for severance of charges.
The Pretrial hearing gives the Criminal Defense Attorney a chance to discuss the defendant’s case with the Prosecutor. This stage generally occurs after discovery or when evidence has been collected by both parties. The value and strength of evidence may be discussed and a plea bargain negotiated. If both parties agree then a plea may be entered by the defendant under a plea agreement. This plea may be of a lesser offense.
During a motions hearing, the court will consider the pretrial defense motions to suppress evidence. At this stage, your attorney will have a chance to challenge the validity of the evidence compiled by the government against you. It is important that you hire an experienced attorney with prior OVI experience and knowledge about the validity of blood and chemical tests. Your attorney can challenge the accuracy of the BAC chemical tests during this trial. If it is proved that the tests were inaccurate, this can destroy the prosecutor’s case.
An OVI is considered to be a very serious offense in Ohio. If you are charged with an OVI then you will be facing severe penalties. Penalties for an Ohio OVI conviction may either be optional or mandatory. Some judges have set their own mandatory penalties which include some of the optional penalties as well.
Penalties for the first offense:
– Incarceration in Jail for a minimum of 3 days
– Driver’s Intervention program (OVI School)
– Monetary fines starting from $375 in addition to court costs.
– Suspension of the Driver’s license for a minimum period of six months. During this period, the driver will have minimum privileges even after the “hard-time” is over.
If the tests of the defendant return “High-End” results or if he/she is guilty of a refusal while he/she had a prior in the previous 20 years then the Jail time will get doubled to 6 days instead of 3 days or the defendant may enroll in a three day driver’s intervention program and spend three days in Jail. Restricted plates will also be made mandatory after the refusal.
Penalties for the second offense:
– Fines starting from $525 in addition to court costs
– Mandatory Incarceration in Jail for ten day consecutively. This punishment will get doubled if the defendant has “high end” test results or if in the past twenty years he has a refusal with a prior.
– Suspension of the Driver’s license for minimum one year. The minimum “Hard time” period during the suspension will be thirty days.
– It is mandatory for the driver to get restricted license plate. These plates have a yellow background and red numbers.
– Mandatory 90-day immobilization of the automobile used if it was titled to the defendant at the time of the offense.
Penalties for the third offense:
– Fines starting from $850 in addition to court costs
– Incarceration in Jail for a month
– Suspension of the Driver’s license by court for a minimum of two years. The “Hard Time” waiting period during this suspension will last for six months. Moreover the driver must also install the ignition disabling device for 181- 365 days.
– It is mandatory for the driver to get restricted license plate. These plates have a yellow background and red numbers.
– It is mandatory that the defendant must forfeit the vehicle if it was titled to him/her during the time offense was committed.
Felony OVI Penalties
– Mandatory Incarceration up to 5 years. Judges are reluctant to keep prisoners for long term in local Jails and so they often opt for mandatory incarceration in State Prison.
– Monitory Fines ranging from $1,350 to $10,500 and more.
– Suspension of Driver’s license from 3 years to a life time. For the first years, the defendant will not have any driving privileges.
– It will be mandatory for the defendant to forfeit the vehicle involved in the felony.
– If the defendant is ever granted driving privileges he must have the mandatory restricted plates.
The judges may also impose any of the misdemeanor OVI offense penalties and community control sanctions written in the Revised Code, Ohio.
If you plead yourself to be “not guilty” then even under normal circumstances, a typical OVI defense case may last for several months as it passes through the DMV and the courts. More complicated cases may extend to a period of six months to a year. Cases that involve multiple priors or a felony such as an accident may take several years to be settled.
An exact estimate of the correct duration of the case can only be made after reviewing all the specifics related to a case. As each case is unique, the duration of even seemingly similar cases may differ. An experienced attorney can give you a reliable estimate of how long your case may last in court. You can call our attorneys for a free consultation session. They’ll review your case in detail, and will give you a reliable estimate of how long your case may take to get resolved.
Being caught up in an OVI charge can be very expensive. Even if you are a first time offender, your costs once added up may exceed even $15,000 in court fees, fines and bails, alcohol treatment programs, increased insurance premiums, and lost work wages. Many of these costs will still be applicable even if you aren’t convicted. If you are convicted, the costs can continue for several years into the future.
While the actual amounts may vary according to situation, some common costs associated with an OVI defense case are:
– Monitory fines
– Mandatory treatment programs
– Court costs
– Attorney fees
– Costs associated with incarceration and bail
– Lost wages due to court appearance
– Lost employment opportunities
– Costs of periodic chemical testing and blood tests
– Costs of Alcohol treatment programs
– Costs of traveling to and from court
– Car impoundment costs
– House arrest costs
– Car towing and storage costs
– Driver Intervention Programs (OVI school)
You can reduce these costs significantly, and in some cases you may be able to get them dismissed entirely by fighting the charges against you in court.