Often, people who are charged with OVI on big party nights like St. Patrick’s Day are good people with little prior criminal or traffic history who feel terrible the morning after about what happened. They are often so bummed out and embarrassed that they just want to plead guilty or no contest, take the punishment and get on with their lives. This is a mistake.
OVI is a serious CRIMINAL charge. OVI is NOT just a severe traffic ticket. It is a first-degree misdemeanor offense, which is the most serious level of criminal offense beneath the felony level. OVI carries up to 180 days in jail (6 months) and a fine of up to $1,075 plus court costs, a driver’s license suspension of up to 3 years and yellow plates or ignition interlock or both as a condition for exercising any limited driving privileges the court may grant during the period of your license suspension. The Court can also require you refrain from otherwise legal conduct such as drinking alcohol during a term of probation. Additionally, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will assess 6 points against your license (12 points in a 2-year period is the limit for a separate suspension).
Perhaps most importantly, you will have an OVI on your prior criminal conviction history.
Under the new amendments to the OVI law (effect next month but reportedly applicable retroactively), the Court will look at your criminal conviction history over the last 10 years. If you have any prior OVIs in the last 10 years, the mandatory minimum penalties for OVI will be enhanced at sentencing. So, instead of a minimum 3 days in jail that can be done at a hotel program (72-hour driver’s intervention program) you will also have to do 3 days in ACTUAL JAIL if you are convicted of a second offense in a 10-year period -- minimum. The Court may even sentence you to up to 180 days in jail. This mandatory-minimum enhancement look-back period has earlier been 6 years; on April 6, 2017, it is extended to 10-years.
Criminal defense attorney Mark S. Ondrejech stands ready to defend you against OVI charges and to help you navigate the pre-trial proceedings to fight the substance of the charges against you and to mitigate the effect of the administrative license suspension imposed upon you at the police station when you failed the chemical test or refused to submit to the chemical test (breathalyzer, blood or urine sample) after the police officer (or state trooper) read to you the warning on the back of the BMV 2255 (carbon copy form given to you by police at the station).
Although your case may seem hopeless, understand that Attorney Mark S. Ondrejech has a great deal of experience in this area and is often able to obtain a reduction of charges out of the OVI category based on legal issues that you do not understand.
Specifically, Ondrejech will look to assert your 4th Amendment rights to be free of unreasonable search and seizure and challenge the police officer’s reason for pulling you over on the road. He will challenge the justification for the officer to extend the duration of the traffic stop from writing a traffic ticket to requesting that you submit to field sobriety test. Cuyahoga County criminal defense lawyer Ondrejech will then challenge the officer’s administration of the field sobriety tests using the rules from the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration manual. Finally, Ondrejech will inspect the records of the chemical test device used to measure blood alcohol in your case to determine whether there was a flaw in the results.
Based on the facts of your specific case, this may result in a dismissal of the charges or reduction of the charges out of the OVI category or a reduction of the penalties the Court would impose without the work of an experienced attorney like Mark S. Ondrejech.
Of course, many people delay retaining an attorney because they think that the judge will look upon them less favorably if they retain an attorney to fight the case; those thinkers posit that the judge will see them as more deserving of leniency if they go take their lumps and just plead guilty. This is not true. More importantly, judges are often annoyed by defendants who show up in Court attempting to do things like this. That is because it creates a danger of the conviction later being overturned on appeal because later the Court of Appeals could theoretically decide that the defendant did not knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily understand what they were doing when they plead guilty to OVI and took the punishment. Judges do not like to be reversed on appeal.
Often, the judge or magistrate will refuse to accept the plea and instruct the defendant to come back later after retaining counsel. In other words, judges and even the police officer who arrested you, expect that OVI defendants will hire an attorney to represent them. In fact, judges are lawyers who attained respect in the community after practicing law for many years and were voted to be the judge. Judges appreciate lawyers who understand the legal procedures involved in a case and who prudently navigate those procedures on behalf of clients. They expect that lawyers will fight for the rights of defendants as well.
If you are facing an OVI, call Attorney Mark S. Ondrejech at 330.441.2027 or set up an appointment by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark wants to stand up for you.