What Is The Legal Process In Ohio For A DUI?
You have been stopped by a police officer for driving under the influence (DUI), also known as an OVI. The officer gives you a sobriety test after warning you of your “implied consent” – you do not pass it. The police officer is reasonably certain that you are driving while intoxicated. He reads Miranda rights to you, places you in the back seat of his patrol car and calls to have your vehicle towed. What must be going through your mind at this time?
Many of those individuals who are being arrested for a first offense have had no previous experience with being arrested and may be frightened as to what will happen to them. Their quandary is “what happens next.” Accepting the fact that they are being charged with a DUI is the first step in understanding their reality. The second step is to call their attorney so that he can help them with what needs to be done next.
What is the Law Regarding Ohio’s OVI/DUI?
For the most part, Ohio uses the term OVI (operating a vehicle while under the influence), instead of the more popular term DUI. It means the same thing as DUI or DWI; these terms are interchangeable. However, under the Ohio’s OVI laws, the term also encompasses allegations of driving under the influence of other controlled substances such as prescription drugs. Under Ohio law, you may be arrested if your “blood alcohol content” (BAC) is .08 percent or above.
After an Arrest, What Happens Next?
What you do within the first few hours after an arrest for OVI may determine the outcome of your case. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to call an experienced criminal law attorney. He will walk you through the various stages in the process.
- The arraignment. This is a hearing where the state’s charges against you are read into the record. At this time you will be asked how you plead: guilty, not guilty or no contest. A “no contest plea” is basically stating that you are not disputing the charge, but you are not admitting to it either. Bail may also be set at this time.
- The preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, the evidence against you will be presented to the court. This evidence against you may consist of the results from your BAC tests, as well as the arresting officer’s statement and the statement of any eyewitnesses. Defense evidence will be any rebuttal evidence presented to the court by your attorney. At this stage, the court will determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold you over for trial.
- Pre-trial motions, if any. Your attorney will determine at this stage whether there are any procedural challenges to be made concerning the state’s evidence that has been presented to the court. One example would be to challenge the admissibility of the BAC test on the grounds that the equipment was defective, or the officer administering the test did not follow procedures or was negligent in his administration of the test.
- Trial. If there is a jury trial, all of the evidence, both the state’s evidence and any rebuttal evidence, will be presented. The jury will determine whether there will be an acquittal, or a guilty verdict.
Keeping in mind all the various stages involved in an OVI/DUI trial, you can see why having your attorney with you from the beginning is the most important stage in the process.
If you are facing criminal charges in Dayton, please contact the VanNoy Firm online by clicking here, or give us a call at 937-952-5043 or Toll Free at 1-800-CRIMINAL.