Columbus Ohio DUI Defense
As your Columbus Ohio DUI Lawyer, Schwart Law will provide you the representation and guidance needed to regain your driving privileges in the shortest possible period. This will include determining if there is a valid argument for appeal of an Administrative License Suspension, potentially staying a suspension, as well as requesting limited driving privileges for work, school, medical appointments, and other activities which may be approved by the court.
Defense of DUI/OVI
Being charged with DUI/OVI can have a substantial impact on your life, family and employment. You face potential confinement (including the 3 day driver intervention programs), mandatory driver’s license suspensions, high fines, driver’s license reinstatement fees, court costs, driver’s license points, and increased insurance costs. Ohio is continually passing new laws and Rules to make it appear that there are no defenses to DUI/OVIs. However, there are ways to challenge the validity of blood/breath alcohol testing (BAC testing), to challenge the validity of a refusal to undergo BAC testing, and to challenge the validity of immediate administrative driver’s license suspensions (ALS). Yet, often these defenses are not considered or raised in court. I have the knowledge, training, experience and creativity to raise the proper defenses and fight for your rights, including the willingness to go to trial.
Understanding DUI/OVI Charges
Most people do not realize that there are two types of DUI/OVI charges: (1) “Per Se” charge. This is when a person’s blood-breath alcohol and/or drug content exceeds levels specified in the DUI/OVI laws as “illegal” (such as .08 BAC test). This charge requires a valid BAC test to prove guilt. (2) “Impairment” charge. This offense means that no matter how much or how little alcohol or drugs a person has ingested, the alcohol and/or drugs “noticeably impairs” the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. This charge does not require a valid BAC test to establish guilt, because it is based solely on observed driving and behavior. A person can be charged with either charge or both violations.
Information is the key to making knowledgeable decisions. Only after conducting a thorough investigation, can an attorney have sufficient information with which to influence the prosecution to dismiss a case or plea bargain to reduced charges. Most important, the information obtained from the investigation will enable the lawyer to advise the person accused of his/her options, thus allowing the accused to make a knowledgeable decision whether or not to accept a plea to a lesser charge, go to a jury trial, or enter a plea of guilty, in the event the prosecution will not dismiss charges.
Dismissal, Plea Bargaining or Jury Trial
Every DUI/OVI has the potential for “legal” flaws or weak evidence. That is why it is necessary for the lawyer to conduct a thorough investigation in every case, no matter how cut and dried the case may appear. An investigation must include: (1) Review of all records, including records relating to any BAC test, even if the test was not actually taken. (2)Interview all people who may have knowledge of the events of the case. This often exposes contradictions in facts, or establishes facts different or in addition to facts stated by the law enforcement officer. Factual issues or disputes make it more difficult to establish guilt. (3) Review all video and audio recordings. Frequently there are video cameras and/or microphones in the law enforcement vehicle or in the law enforcement station that record driving, the behavior and physical condition of the person charged with DUI/OVI and/or what was said by the accused and officers. (4)File documents challenging the arrest and/or the evidence. These pleadings, for example, may ask the Court for an Order dismissing the charges, or ordering that evidence not be allowed to be presented at a trial.
Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
Administrative License Suspension (ALS) A person can face an ALS immediately upon being arrested and given a Notice of Suspension, for two reasons: (1) After taking a BAC or drug test, the test results are equal to or over the statutory legal limit, or (2) Refusing to take a BAC or drug test. The ALS mandates that a person accused is not permitted to drive for any reason for a specific period of time (for example, 15 days for first time offense and test is .08 or higher; or 30 days if first offense and refusal to take a test). Limited driving privileges (i.e., for work, medical care, school) are permitted after that time. An ALS appeal must be filed prior to or at the time of the Initial Appearance (which is supposed to be held within 5 days of an arrest). If the ALS appeal is not filed at that time, a person has up to 30 days after the Initial Appearance to file the appeal. I have developed unique methods to attack the ALS on appeal. If an appeal is granted, full driving privileges are restored (subject to a potential court imposed suspension) and there is no mandatory payment of a $475.00 BMV reinstatement fee to get driver’s license returned.