FAQ - Contesting A DUI / OVI

Q: Should I contest my DUI / OVI?
A: If you were charged with a D.U.I. (called O.V.I. in Ohio), you may be wondering if you should contest the charge or simply plead guilty. To make this decision, you should consider what happens if you plead guilty, what happens if you plead not guilty, and whether it’s worth the cost and time to contest the charge and possibly avoid the consequences of a DUI / OVI conviction.

If you plead guilty to the charge, you will not have an opportunity to review the evidence against you, and you can’t change your mind later. The conviction will become part of your permanent record. A DUI / OVI conviction can have collateral consequences, including effects on automobile insurance premiums, disability insurance, life insurance, professional licenses, immigration status, international travel eligibility, and education, as well as current and future employment. Those consequences are in addition to the sentence imposed by the court for the DUI / OVI conviction.

If you plead not guilty to the charge, you will at least have an opportunity to review the evidence against you, analyze the strength of the prosecution’s case, and try to have the charge dismissed or reduced. It may appear on the surface that there is no hope of beating the DUI / OVI or getting the charge reduced because the officer says you were under the influence or the test result says you were over the legal limit. In many cases, however, evidence is not admissible and the case against you is not as strong as it seems on the surface.

Not everybody should contest their DUI / OVI charge. For some, the consequences of a DUI / OVI conviction are acceptable. For others, it’s worth the time and cost to try to keep the DUI / OVI off your permanent record. If you conclude that it’s not worth the time and cost to fight it, plead guilty to the DUI / OVI. If you want the opportunity to avoid the consequences associated with a DUI / OVI conviction, plead not guilty and contest the charge.

Q: Should I represent myself in a DUI / OVI case?
A:
If you have been charged with a D.U.I. (called O.V.I. in Ohio), you may be wondering if you need a lawyer to represent you or if you can handle the case yourself (pro se). To decide if you should hire a lawyer, you need to evaluate how familiar you are with the court process, how much you understand DUI / OVI law, and whether you intend to simply plead guilty or actually contest the case.

Most people are not familiar with the court process. One benefit of hiring a DUI / OVI attorney is that attorneys have experience with the court process and court personnel. Having an attorney represent you is like having a tour guide in a foreign country. At a minimum, the attorney can guide you through the process, assess the situation, tell you what to expect, warn you of dangers, and answer your questions.

Handling a DUI / OVI case yourself is like being your own doctor. I can read about my medical problem and treat it myself to some extent, but if I need surgery, I’m going to a doctor with expertise in that type of surgery. You can learn about DUI / OVI law and procedure, but if you’re really going to contest the charge, you need an effective DUI / OVI lawyer to challenge the evidence and help you get the charge dismissed or reduced.

If you feel comfortable with the court process, you speak well, and you intend to simply ask for the most lenient DUI / OVI sentence, you may not need a lawyer. If you would like someone to guide you through the process and speak on your behalf, you should probably hire an attorney. If you intend to contest the case with the hope of getting the DUI / OVI charge dismissed or reduced, you should definitely hire a good DUI / OVI lawyer.

Q: How do I choose a DUI / OVI attorney?
A: There are many attorneys that handle DUI / OVI cases in Ohio, which makes it difficult to select the right one for your case. If you are trying to decide which lawyer to hire, here are some suggestions.

Choose A Lawyer That Focuses On DUI / OVI Cases. Some attorneys practice many different areas of law, while other attorneys focus on one area of law. If you are selecting a physician to treat an injury in your big toe, you should find one that only works on feet, and preferably a podiatrist that specializes in big toes. If you are selecting a lawyer for a DUI / OVI case, you should find one that only handles criminal defense cases and focuses on DUI / OVI defense.

Choose A Lawyer With Expertise In DUI / OVI. Find an attorney with education and training for issues that recur in DUI / OVI cases. Those issues include chemical testing for breath, blood and urine, roadside field sobriety testing, and search and seizure law, as well as D.U.I. detection and investigation. Many attorneys with these qualifications belong to the National College for D.U.I. defense and regularly participate in that organization’s continuing education seminars.

Choose A Lawyer With DUI / OVI Experience. You wouldn’t select a physician for your foot surgery who has education in foot medicine but has no experience operating on feet. Select an attorney who has experience handling O.V.I. cases, including suppression hearings and jury trials.

Choose A Lawyer With Interpersonal Skills. Your attorney will be communicating with the prosecutor and the judge on your behalf. Your attorney will also be talking with you about the law, the court process, and the evaluation of your case. Your attorney should also be a good listener to understand your concerns and to know your priorities for the outcome of the case. For these reasons, your attorney must have good communication skills.

Choose A Lawyer With Appropriate Fees. There is a wide range of attorney fees for DUI / OVI cases, and the least expensive lawyer is not necessarily the one you should choose. The cost of contesting an DUI / OVI is going to be higher than the cost of simply pleading guilty. In addition, the cost of a lawyer with DUI / OVI expertise will likely be more than the cost of a lawyer without that expertise. If a lawyer’s fee is relatively low, the lawyer may not understand the time required to effectively defend a DUI / OVI case, the lawyer may not intend to invest that much time, or the lawyer may place a low value on his or her time.

When you are selecting a lawyer, particularly if you intend to contest the DUI / OVI, choose a qualified attorney that gives you the best chance of getting the charge dismissed or reduced so you avoid the consequences of a DUI / OVI conviction.

Lawyer For DUI / OVI Offenses In Columbus And Central Ohio

My practice is focused on DUI/OVI defense, and I represent clients that are contesting DUI / OVI charges in Columbus and central Ohio. For more information about me, please see my profile, and for details about my practice, please see the firm overview. You can also see what clients say and review my past case results. I limit the number of cases I accept so I can provide outstanding service to my clients. If you would like to discuss how I can help with your DUI / OVI, EMAIL ME or call me at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free consultation.