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If you are facing a charge for driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI), you may be unfamiliar with how the court process works. There are a lot of depictions of trials and court in TV shows and the movies, but few of them are realistic. At the Law Office of A. Dale Naticchia, a seasoned Cleveland DUI lawyer provides clients with dedicated legal counsel throughout Akron and other areas of Cuyahoga County to ensure that they are prepared for every step of defending against a DUI / OVI charge. This means not only gathering available evidence and identifying any affirmative defenses, but standing with them through hearings and trial in DUI / OVI cases. If you were charged with driving under the influence, contact us today to learn more about how you can fight the charge.DUI Charges in Ohio
A DUI charge in Ohio is defined as operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI. This charge applies when someone is driving with a blood alcohol content level over .08%, or driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. A DUI / OVI usually begins with a traffic stop and an officer developing a reasonable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated. This involves a field sobriety test as well as a breathalyzer to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content. If it is determined that the driver is above the legal limit or otherwise impaired, the driver will be arrested and taken to jail. The vehicle will usually be impounded but in some instances another party who is present and sober may be permitted to take the vehicle from the scene.
After a driver is arrested, their first court appearance is called an arraignment. It must take place within five days after the arrest. The person facing the charge has the right to have an attorney present for the arraignment and at each stage of the case, including any interrogations or plea deal negotiations. The arraignment will involve entering a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, the matter will move to sentencing. If you plead not guilty, it will proceed to a trial where a jury or judge will determine after hearing evidence from both sides whether you are guilty of driving under the influence.Pre-Trial Process
Before trial in a DUI / OVI case, you will have an opportunity to review the evidence that the prosecution has collected against you with your attorney. This is a good point at which to identify any possible defenses, such as an improperly rendered field sobriety test, a lack of reasonable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop in the first place, or that the breathalyzer was not calibrated properly. There will be a pretrial hearing before the official hearing during which the evidence will be obtained. Your attorney can also speak with the prosecutor about the case and whether a plea bargain is on the table.Trials in DUI / OVI Cases
The matter then proceeds to the motion hearing stage, which allows the prosecution and your attorney to make arguments about which pieces of evidence should be presented to the jury. A plea deal is still possible at this stage of the proceeding. If no settlement is reached, however, the matter proceeds to the official trial. The prosecution has the duty of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving while intoxicated. Although you are legally permitted to represent yourself during the trial, this is usually not in a party’s best interest. Attorneys are trained and seasoned when it comes to knowing when to object, which motions to file, how to engage with the judge and jury, and asserting affirmative defenses.
If the jury determines that you are guilty, or if you plead guilty during a prior stage of the proceedings, the matter will then move to the sentencing hearing. During this hearing, the judge will hear evidence from the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and you regarding how you should be sentenced. If this is your first offense, you are facing three days to six months in jail. This time span increases for each subsequent DUI / OVI offense that you incur within a 10-year period. Having a dedicated criminal defense attorney by your side can help you seek a fair sentence.Meet with a Tenacious DUI / OVI Defense Lawyer in Cleveland
The legal process can be incredibly intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you are dealing with the stress and inconvenience of having your license suspended. A DUI / OVI is a common charge in Cleveland, but it can have a disastrous impact on your life when it comes to your ability to drive, seek employment, and more. Attorney Naticchia will work diligently to make sure that your case is handled properly and efficiently from the moment you are arrested through sentencing. Our team of legal professionals is available to handle cases throughout Parma, Stow, Berea, Rocky River, Bedford, Garfield Heights, and Barberton. Contact us today at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.