OVI Plea Bargains in Cincinnati
If you’re like most, you want to resolve your Cincinnati OVI as quickly as possible. That’s understandable, but you don’t want to blindly accept the first offer or agree to anything without talking to a lawyer. By hiring a Cincinnati OVI lawyer, you have someone explain the law, your options, and if an OVI plea bargain is the best possible outcome.
If you don’t have a strong defense or you’re worried about the uncertainty, time, and cost of an OVI, negotiating a plea may be the right move. But it’s essential to get an experienced lawyer’s opinion before accepting. A plea deal will likely still put an OVI conviction on your record, and that has consequences.
Plead Not Guilty at Your Arraignment
Your first court appearance for a DUI is your arraignment. This is where you’re told the charges and asked to enter a plea. Your options are to plead not guilty, guilty, or nolo contendere.
Nolo contendere means “no contest,” and it says you accept responsibility without saying you’re guilty. You accept the facts but disagree you violated the law. Though you’ll be convicted and sentenced, it isn’t the same as pleading guilty. If you plead no contest, the plea can’t be used against you in other legal matters stemming from the DUI. That might be important if you’re facing a civil lawsuit because of a DUI accident.
You should always speak with a Cincinnati DUI lawyer about the difference between pleading guilty and no contest. The best thing to do is plead not guilty at your arraignment. You might not have a lawyer yet. Pleading not guilty gives you time to hire a lawyer and figure out the best way to move forward.
The Consequences of Pleading Guilty To a DUI
If you plead guilty, your case doesn’t go to trial. You don’t have the opportunity to defend yourself before the judge or a jury. After pleading guilty, the next step is for the judge to sentence you. Your possible sentence depends on whether you’ve been convicted of an OVI before and your blood alcohol concentration.
You should talk with a Cincinnati OVI lawyer about the consequences for:
- First OVI (First-Degree Misdemeanor): A minimum of three or six days in jail, fines, and a driver’s license suspension, and more.
- Second OVI (First-Degree Misdemeanor): A minimum of 10 or 20 days in jail, house arrest, electronic monitoring, fines, driver’s license suspension, and more.
- Third OVI (First-Degree Misdemeanor): A minimum of 30 or 60 days in jail, fines, house arrest, electronic monitoring, driver’s license suspension, alcohol treatment program, restricted license plates, ignition interlock device, and more.
- Felony OVI (Fourth- or Third-Degree Felony): A minimum of 60 days in prison, fines, alcohol or drug addiction program, driver’s license suspension, restricted license plates, ignition interlock device, and more.
These are just some of the consequences of an OVI conviction. The maximum penalties can include months or years in jail or prison, loss of your driver’s license for years or life, home arrest and electronic monitoring for months, paying for the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device, and months or years of probation.
If you plead guilty, the judge doesn’t have to go easy on you. They can sentence you to the maximum penalty. Then, you’re either left accepting your fate or appealing the sentence, which means you’ll spend more time and money fighting in court.
Reduce the Consequences With an OVI Plea Bargain
There is a middle ground between defending yourself at trial and pleading guilty: it’s plea negotiations. A plea bargain, or plea deal, is an arrangement you make with the prosecutor. You agree to change your plea to guilty in exchange for a predetermined sentence.
When Is an OVI Plea a Good Idea?
Always hire a defense attorney before accepting an OVI plea. Just because a prosecutor offers you a plea deal doesn’t mean you should take it.
Do you know how strong the prosecutor’s case is or your defense? You might have a good chance of being acquitted at trial or getting the case dismissed. But you won’t know that without talking to an experienced OVI lawyer. Our attorneys thoroughly investigate your case and offer an experienced, candid opinion on the best path forward. That may or may not be OVI plea bargaining.
We’ll recommend you consider an OVI plea deal if the prosecutor has a strong case against you. We may advise you that there’s a great deal of uncertainty if we go to trial, or even a likelihood you’ll be found guilty. In this situation, we can approach the prosecutor about negotiating an OVI plea.
Negotiating an OVI Plea Bargain
The purpose of a plea, from a defendant’s perspective, is to get a lesser sentence. This is one of the reasons an attorney should represent you.
Our Cincinnati DUI attorneys have worked with the local prosecutors before and negotiated many deals. We know what we can push for and what won’t be an option. Without an experienced lawyer, you won’t have the same knowledge to reach a fair deal, and the prosecutor can take advantage of that.
The Benefits of a Plea Bargain
There are consequences and advantages to OVI plea bargains. It is a guilty plea and a conviction, which means it’ll go on your permanent record. It may have consequences for your education, work, and family life.
There are also many potential benefits of an OVI plea deal, including:
- Reduce the charge: You may be able to get your OVI reduced to Physical Control of a Vehicle, which has lesser penalties.
- Reduce the fines: The cost of an OVI in Ohio can be debilitating, but we can fight to minimize the fines.
- Avoid jail time: Ohio OVI penalties come with a minimum number of days in jail. Through a plea bargain, we can fight for you to spend only the minimum amount of time in jail, avoid it by time already served before your plea, or avoid it by going through an Ohio Driver Intervention Program.
- Minimize electronic monitoring: To avoid more jail time for an OVI, you may have to agree to home arrest, electronic monitoring, or probation. We will fight to minimize these consequences so you can get back to work and your everyday life as soon as possible.
- Get your license back sooner: You will lose your driver’s license for a time. But We can fight to minimize the length of your suspension and for you to get back on the road. This may include agreeing to an ignition interlock device.
Is an OVI Plea Right for You? Ask a Cincinnati DUI Lawyer
It’s hard to know what to do when you’re facing DUI charges. Luftman, Heck & Associates is here to help you figure that out. What you shouldn’t do is immediately accept your fate and plead guilty. There are many other options to consider first.