Ohio’s DUI Process – Understanding What Happens During a DUI in Ohio
No one ever wants to be arrested because it can be a frightening and intimidating experience. Most of the time, people arrested and charged with DUI are not familiar with the criminal process because they are not necessarily career criminals. Most people arrested and charged with DUI just made a bad mistake, a mistake that put them in very unfamiliar territory. Understanding the Ohio’s DUI process will help you if you are ever in this situation.
Ohio’s DUI Procedures
The first thing to happen in any Ohio DUI procedure is being stopped by a police officer and arrested on suspicion of DUI. If the police ask you any questions after arresting you, they are required to read you your Miranda Rights, telling you that anything you say or do may be held against you in trial. If they fail to do this you might be able to suppress anything you said to the police.
Following the arrest, you will be taken to a police station or jail where you will be fingerprinted, take a chemical test to determine your alcohol level, and your personal possessions will be taken. Later on, you will appear in front of a magistrate or other judicial officer who will inform you of the charges against you and he or she will give you the chance to plead guilty (don’t do this) or not guilty and set bail so you can be released. You will be given a hearing date sometime in the next two weeks after the arraignment.
Your next appearance will be at the pretrial hearing. Prior to this hearing the prosecution will turn all of the evidence they have over to your attorney so he or she can use it as part of their investigation. Some of the evidence will include police reports, alcohol level testing reports, video evidence, and anything else. A lot of DUI cases are resolved at the pretrial hearing because the prosecutor and defense attorney talk about the merits of the evidence and negotiate a lesser charge for a plea of guilty. If you and your attorney do not accept the offer of the prosecution, your case moves onto a motion hearing.
The purpose of the motion hearing is to challenge any of the prosecution’s evidence. The judge in the case will rule what evidence will be admissible at trial. For example, if the chemical test reports conflict in any way, then it may be suppressed at trial. It is also a chance to resolve any issues prior to trial that should be resolved, and it is another opportunity for the defense attorney and prosecutor to negotiate a plea deal in the case. If the case is not resolved at this point, a trial date will be set.
The trial is a chance for you to face any witness testifying against you, and for you to challenge the prosecution’s case. The police officer will need to testify against you and any other eye witnesses the prosecution has may also testify. If you have any defenses you want to present this is also the time and place to do that. If you are found guilty at trial, then you will be sentenced at a sentencing hearing by the judge in your case.
How to Fight a DUI Arrest in Ohio
Before your case ever gets to trial, you and your attorney may decide to fight the actual arrest. How can you do this? For the police to have the authority to arrest you, they have to be reasonably justified. Often police officers use the following reasons to justify an arrest, but you may be able to challenge those reasons:
● Eyes that are bloodshot – while bloodshot eyes can be a sign of intoxication, it can also be a symptom of being overworked, tired, or your eyes may simply be irritated.
● Driving erratically – sure, erratic driving can be a reason to get pulled over, but what were the road conditions, were you dodging a moving animal, or were you justified in how you drove?
● Alcohol signs – if you were arrested because the police officer smelled alcohol that does not mean you were impaired. What if someone spilled alcohol on you?
● Speaking problems – If your speech was slurred there may be another reason that does not involve alcohol. Maybe you just had dental work done.
● Failing a road test – Road tests are notoriously hard, even for sober people. There are several reasons why someone would fail a test that do not include being drunk. Just because someone doesn’t walk a straight line does not mean they have been drinking.
Being arrested for DUI in Ohio can be a frustrating and intimidating experience, but you can succeed over it. Make sure you educate yourself with DUIRights.com and fill out the Free Ohio DUI Arrest form to get an experienced Ohio DUI attorney to help overcome your DUI charges.