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If you have been arrested are faced with a drunk driving charge, you are probably experiencing a wide variety of feelings including fear and anxiety about what the outcome may be. The court process involves appearing before a judge at least once, but usually a few times before the matter is resolved. If you have never appeared in court, this can add an extra layer of stress. There are specific things that someone should know before going before a judge. Assisting clients throughout Akron and other areas of Cuyahoga County, Cleveland DUI lawyer A. Dale Naticchia is ready to assist you with preparing for your first court appearance, as well as preparing a strong defense in your DUI case.DUI / OVI First Appearances in Ohio
Under Ohio law, a drunk driving charge is called operating a vehicle under the influence, or OVI. This charge begins from the moment you are stopped by law enforcement and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. You will usually be booked into jail until you have your first court appearance, which is called an arraignment. Ohio law requires the arraignment to take place within five days of receiving the ticket for drunk driving. This means that you may be in jail for up to one week, which can cause serious repercussions in your personal or professional life.
During the arraignment, you will have the right to have an attorney with you. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. The arraignment is a relatively straightforward hearing without much negotiation about the charges or the outcome. You will be asked whether you plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. If you decide to plead guilty, the judge will next decide what the appropriate sentence should be. This also means that you will have a DUI / OVI conviction on your record.
If you plead not guilty, your DUI / OVI first appearance will conclude and you and/or your attorney will be provided with all of the evidence that the state has accumulated against you. To receive this evidence, you or your attorney must file a Demand for Discovery document with the court. This allows you to figure out the best way to defend against the charges, and helps you determine which pieces of counter evidence you need to collect or which affirmative defenses you may be able to assert. Although many people assume that pleading not guilty means that your sentence will be harsher in the event that you are found guilty, this isn’t exactly true. Many defendants want to see the evidence that the state has against them before deciding whether to go to trial or not. And, even if you review the evidence and decide that you want to plead guilty or accept a plea bargain, you can change your plea to guilty at any time.
If you decide to enter a plea of not guilty, your attorney will also likely recommend that you appeal the administrative license suspension that goes along with receiving a DUI / OVI in Ohio. You can express a desire to do this during the arraignment, and it should also be submitted in writing within 30 days. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can assist you with determining the best way to proceed in your specific situation, and the possible outcomes that may result if you plead guilty or not guilty at your DUI / OVI first appearance.Schedule a Free Consultation with a DUI Lawyer in Cleveland
DUIs can be incredibly stressful even if it is not your first time going through the criminal system. In fact, a subsequent charge may mean that the penalties you face are even more severe than the first time. Cleveland Attorney A. Dale Naticchia knows how important it is to you and your family to pursue a swift and fair outcome. He is available to meet with individuals located throughout areas including Parma, Berea, Rocky River, Bedford, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton. To schedule your free consultation call us at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to get started.