What to expect from your OVI Attorney
Hiring the right attorney to represent you in an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) case is as important as choosing the right surgeon to perform surgery on you or your loved ones. In Ohio, recent changes in our OVI/DUI laws have changed the period in which an OVI conviction will affect you from 6 years up to 20 years. That's right, if you are convicted of an OVI, it can be used against you for the next 20 years. Specifically, if you are convicted today, and at any time during the next 20 years an officer has reasonable grounds to believe your are operating a vehicle impaired, and asks you to submit to a chemical test to determine the level of alcohol in your breath, blood or urine, if you refuse to submit to the chemical test and are subsequently convicted of that OVI, you are subjected to enhanced penalties as if you had a high level of alcohol in your system (namely a 0.17 blood alcohol level).
This 20 year look-back isn't the only reason it is important to get
the right OVI lawyer! Ohio has
mandatory sentencing on OVI cases. That's right, our state legislators apparently
feel that our judges aren't smart enough to determine appropriate
sentences for those who stand before them, so our Ohio law makers have
determined minimum mandatory sentences by which our Courts must comply.
So what should you expect from your OVI lawyer? I believe that it is most important that you have a level of comfort with your OVI attorney. You should take comfort in the level of knowledge that he/she has with Ohio OVI law. Your OVI attorney should be knowledgeable about the specific Court procedures for things such as getting driving privileges and whether you need to be present at pre-trial hearings. Your attorney should also explain in detail what will happen at each hearing you attend so you know what to expect prior to arriving at court. Finally, your attorney should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case as the case progresses.
If you are just starting the search for an OVI attorney or have recently been charged, I think it is a good idea to write down the events of the evening on which your were stopped and arrested. As a matter of fact, I prefer my clients to start their story with the time that they got out of bed that day (or the preceding morning) and tell me about their day. I like as much detail as possible including what time they had their first drink, what they were drinking (size, flavor and number of drinks), and when they had their last drink. Finally, include as much detail about the contact with the officer as possible including how the traffic stop was initiated and what was discussed with you and the officer. I suggest that this narrative statement be typed and double spaced so as to leave room for the OVI lawyer to make notes if need be.
By giving the OVI lawyer lots of information, he/she can begin a thorough representation.