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What to expect during your first DUI court appearance

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2021 | DUI / OVI

When someone receives a DUI charge, they’re accused of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, making it impossible for them to operate the vehicle safely. A DUI charge is serious, and the consequences could be far-reaching depending on what happened as a result of a DUI. When Ohio residents go in for their first DUI court appearance, they may be a little nervous about what to expect.

The court process

In Ohio, a DUI is often referred to as an OVI, or operating a vehicle under the influence. When you get a DUI or OVI, the police officer will issue a traffic ticket listing out the offenses that you’re charged with. It will also list out the corresponding code sections you’re accused of violating.

Your first court appearance, also known as the arraignment, will take place within five days of you receiving your ticket. You’re allowed to have a criminal defense attorney represent you at the arraignment and throughout the case. At the arraignment, you’ll plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, you’ll be immediately sentenced, and the OVI or DUI conviction will go on your permanent record. If you decide to plead not guilty, you’ll have an opportunity to defend yourself after reviewing the prosecution’s evidence. At this point, you’re also allowed to appeal the administrative license suspension that most likely has taken place.

After this initial hearing, your next appearance will be a pre-trial hearing. You and your attorney will be able to review the prosecutor’s evidence against you before that hearing. That evidence will likely include materials like the police report, alcohol test reports, witness statements and any video from the incident. At the pre-trial hearing, your attorney will have an opportunity to speak with the prosecuting attorney and possibly come to a resolution that helps avoid trial. This would be called a plea bargain. If the plea bargaining doesn’t work out, you’ll head toward a trial.

Who can people turn to for help with DUIs?

A DUI is a serious offense, and it could affect your ability to drive and move on with your life. People dealing with this issue may benefit by working with attorneys who have experience with this area of law.