OVI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated, is what Ohio law enforcement officials, courts, and statutes call driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Avoiding an OVI conviction is the only way to keep the charge off your permanent record because, unlike most other misdemeanors or low-level felonies, an OVI conviction cannot be expunged with the completion of a sentence and proof of continued good behavior.
The Columbus, Ohio, OVI defense attorneys with The Maher Law Firm discuss the three basic ways to avoid a drunk or drugged driving conviction here. To briefly recap:
- The person accused of OVI can work with his or her lawyer to prove the arresting officer made mistakes when stopping the driver, conducting field sobriety tests, or interpreting field sobriety test performance. Dashboard and body camera footage from the police can be invaluable for this, and bystanders are also allowed to record traffic stops.
- Evidence showing that the police officer, laboratory personnel, or court system made mistakes while collecting, analyzing, storing, and presenting breath, blood, and urine samples and test results can be presented by the defense. Procedural errors can make evidence inadmissible, meaning the prosecution may not have a case to make to a judge.
- A Columbus, Ohio, OVI defense lawyer can negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor, meaning the defendant accepts a sentence for a lesser charge.
The plea deal option deserves special attention. Prosecutors in Columbus and Franklin County are most likely to offer pleas to reckless operation or physical control. Either might be acceptable, but no one accused of OVI should automatically plead guilty to any criminal or traffic offense without first consulting with an experienced Columbus Ohio defense attorney.
Reckless operation, which most states call reckless driving, indicates that a person was operating in a way that demonstrated lack of concern for consequences. The charge can apply to exceeding a posted speed limit by more than 25 mph, causing a crash that inflicts injuries, or putting other people on the road at risk by, for instance, crossing a double yellow line, jumping a curb, or going the wrong way on the interstate.
A physical control charge indicates that a law enforcement official found the accused driver in the driver’s seat of a vehicle and in possession of the keys to the vehicle’s ignition. The vehicle can be parked, and even on private property like a driveway.
Penalties for reckless operation and physical control can mirror those for OVI, including a license suspension that extends to the defendant’s commercial driver’s license, hundreds of dollars in fines and court costs, and multiple points on your driving record. The consequences can also be similar, ranging from a sharp increase in insurance premiums to losing a job that requires holding a valid CDL and keeping a clean driving record. A dedicated lawyer will do all he or she can to protect his client from the most severe penalties.
To find out if a DUI attorney from the Columbus offices of The Maher Law Firm can help you avoid a drunk or drugged driving conviction