Sometimes a court gets it wrong, and an individual facing a DUI conviction didn’t actually commit an offense, or there is no evidence to support it. Appealing your conviction under Ohio OVI law may be an option for you. Even judges are human. The Ohio criminal justice system is designed so that when a court at the trial level makes an error, there are additional layers in where a defendant might find justice. One of those layers is the appeals court.
An appeal allows for you to ask another set of judges to review what happened in your case, and asks them to correct errors made by the trial court. If the appeals court finds that mistakes were made in your case, they can:
- Overturn your conviction
- Send the case back to the trial court for reconsideration
They also can affirm the conviction or the decisions made by the trial court if they think that there were no mistakes or that any mistakes didn’t affect the outcome. Some common errors made in OVI / DUI cases that might result in an appeal include:
- The judge erred in allowing breath or blood test results to be admitted as evidence in court
- The judge erred in allowing the results of field sobriety tests to be admitted as evidence in court
- The judge erred in finding there was reasonable suspicion for your traffic stop
- The judge erred in finding there was probable cause for your arrest
These are all legal questions, and it’s important to understand that an appeal can only be based on the idea that legal errors were made in your case, and an appeals court does not consider new evidence. An appeal is not a new trial, although it can lead to one.
Why Should I Appeal a DUI Conviction Under Ohio OVI Law?
When a court makes an error in your Ohio OVI / DUI case, that error can result in a conviction that shouldn’t have happened if the trial process hadn’t been flawed. A conviction can mean:
- Spending time in jail or prison
- Paying expensive fines
- Loss of your driver’s license
- Loss of your job
- Points on your driver’s license
- Immobilization of your vehicle
- A permanent criminal record
- Paying more for car insurance
- Greater chance of being found negligent in a civil lawsuit
A lot can ride on whether or not your conviction stands. If it does, some of the effects on your life can be long lasting. But if you are successful in an appeal, that can wipe out some of the negative impacts on your life from your Ohio OVI / DUI.
How the Appeal Process Works
The first thing your OVI / DUI appeal lawyer will do is file a notice of appeal to start the process in the appellate court and get the trial transcript sent to the appellate court.
Your lawyer will review your case and identify any potential errors that could be grounds for your appeal. Your lawyer will write a brief explaining those errors and detailing the law that supports your arguments in favor of overturning your conviction or sending your case back for a new trial. Your attorney will file the brief, and then the prosecution gets a chance to file its own brief to explain why the state thinks your conviction should be upheld. Depending on the nature of the case, there may be additional written arguments exchanged.
The appellate judges may make a decision based on the documents and written arguments, or they may set your case for a hearing. If there’s a hearing, the lawyers for both sides get a chance to state their arguments and to answer questions from the judges about the case.
After the hearing, the appellate judges will issue a written decision in your case. This can take some time, depending on the complexity of the issues in the case.
Why You Need a Cincinnati DUI Appeals Lawyer
Because an appeal is based entirely on questions of law, it’s not something you want to do alone. The help of a good Cincinnati OVI / DUI defense lawyer can make a world of difference in the success or failure of your appeal. Often, the lawyer who handled your initial OVI / DUI case can help with an appeal, but if you didn’t have a lawyer or you want a different lawyer, you should consider one with experience handling appeals in OVI / DUI cases in the Ohio court where your appeal will need to be filed. Thorough knowledge not only of the law, but also of the judges and the kinds of arguments that might win them over could turn the tide in your favor.
It’s critical to understand that there’s a time limit for filing an appeal after your conviction. If you want to consider an appeal, or talk to an Ohio OVI / DUI defense lawyer about how an appeal might benefit you or your chances at success, you should pick up the phone as soon as possible to make sure your deadline doesn’t expire and you don’t lose your chance at continuing to fight your conviction.