Most drivers throughout the United States are familiar with DUI when referring to alcohol-related offenses committed while operating motor vehicles. In Ohio, however, the more common term for this type of crime is OVI (operating a vehicle impaired). Ohio law does not restrict such crimes to motorized vehicles; horse-drawn carriages, bicycles or other non-motor vehicles also apply.
If you get pulled over in a traffic stop and the situation takes a turn for the worse when the officer asks you to get out of your car, a plethora of negative thoughts may enter your mind, such as whether you are going to get arrested, what your family will say, or if you’ll wind up spending the night in jail. If a police officer charges you with OVI, you’ll have your work cut out for you to avoid conviction.
How to plead
The court often allows you to act on your own behalf when fighting OVI charges in court. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to do so. In fact, most people facing such charges in court prefer to rely on experienced criminal defense assistance. An important decision you’ll likely make is what type of plea to enter in court. The following facts may be pertinent to your particular situation:
- Often times, pleading not guilty is a defense option employed in the hope of receiving a plea offer from prosecutors.
- When a defendant accepts a plea agreement, penalties are often far less severe than the maximum allowed for a guilty plea.
- A defendant is often able to change a plea as the adjudication process unfolds.
- Some people plead guilty to lesser charges to get more serious charges dropped.
- Past driving records and criminal histories bear significant impact on individual cases.
Acting alone in court is extremely stressful and challenging, especially for someone with no background in law. Exploring available defense options and determining the most viable defense in a particular situation is a skill an experienced criminal defense attorney possesses. You will no doubt face many other challenges in your personal and professional life if you get arrested and charged with OVI. Attempting to fight your own battle in court may unnecessarily add to your burden.
An Ohio criminal lawyer can advocate on your behalf, and most importantly, protect your constitutional rights throughout the criminal justice process. If an attorney determines a law enforcement officer somehow violated protocol during or following your arrest, he or she can challenge the evidence the prosecution proffers on your case. This type of defense often leads to a dismissal of charges or, at least, convinces the court to deem certain evidence inadmissible for trial, which can obviously lead to a more positive outcome.