I know I have written about DUI law and DUIs in Cincinnati before, but the topic is important. It is important because the DUI laws in Ohio are constantly changing as new cases are decided, and the legislature updates the statutes to appease lobbyist and constituents. While these laws are often made with the public’s safety in mind, the real consequences of these modifications are not fully investigated. What about the mother or father who made a mistake and drove after drinking too much (an isolated incident), or had a glass of wine or two and thought they were fine but tested over the legal limit of .08 BAC (if over 21). What happens is they lose their license for a minimum of six months (they often will be provided with driving privileges), face incarceration, and hefty fines. In this economy, the fines alone could devastate a family trying to survive.
The worst consequence is the loss of a job or a job prospect. Employers these days are using background investigations, including criminal history checks, with more frequency. Even though you may not utilize your license for your job, a DUI / OVI conviction on your record could mean the difference between keeping your job and house, or losing everything. At the rate we are going, it may be tough for employers in some industries to fill open positions with qualified individuals. DUIs are not uncommon, as any observer in a municipal court will see on a daily basis.
As stated previously, the first attack is against the probable cause for the stop and the tests that were performed (assuming the individual performed the requested tests). If the state properly conducted these tests, and probable cause was found, the next is to negotiate with the State for a reduction, or to take the case to trial. A lot of people ask if they will be able to get a reckless operation plea bargain. Reckless operation is just that, recklessly operating a motor vehicle (see below for the statutory elements). However, many times Judges will treat a reckless operation plea as an OVI / DUI plea for purposes of sentencing, and will impose the 3 day jail/RDIP course, fines consistent with OVI / DUI, and driving suspension. The positive to this type of plea is that it is not a DUI, which has elevated penalties for subsequent convictions.
So, what is the best advice….hire an attorney that handles DUI / OVI cases frequently in the county where you are charged. These attorneys will be able to answer a lot more questions than someone who doesn’t consistently practice in that county. If you are in need of legal advice concerning an OVI / DUI or other criminal offense, contact me today for a free initial cosultation.
4511.20 Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.
(A) No person shall operate a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.
(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.
There is no attorney-client relationship formed or intended with this post. This is strictly for information purposes. Contact an attorney licensed in your state for legal advice. Robert A. Herking is licensed in Ohio, Kentucky and United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. The above is based on Ohio law only.