There are various moving parts to prosecuting an OVI in Hamilton County, Ohio. If you don’t know what’s going on or what to expect, you may be pretty anxious. The first significant step in an OVI case is the arraignment. This is a preliminary step in the trial process, but trying to go through it “blind” without an attorney is a grave mistake that can impact your finances, freedom, and future.
Luftman, Heck & Associates is the law firm you can trust to represent you. We will listen to you and treat you with respect. Let us answer your questions and defend your freedom, license, and record. Unrepresented defendants can fall into many traps. LHA can help you steer clear of them, so you’ll get the best outcome possible.
OVI Arraignment: The First Step in the Process
The arraignment is a vital first step in the trial process. It should be held within five business days of your OVI arrest.
Your formal arraignment is where you’ll be advised of the OVI charges, their potential penalties, told of your rights, and asked to enter a plea.
Where To Go for Your Arraignment
Arraignments are typically in Courthouse Room 121 of the Hamilton County Courthouse on 1000 Main St. in Cincinnati. If you’re in custody, the arraignment will be in Courtroom A in the Hamilton County Justice Center on 1000 Sycamore St. in Cincinnati.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have the option to appear virtually, but you should confirm this with your attorney or court officials well in advance.
What To Know About OVI Arraignments
Whenever possible, you should meet with your attorney before the day of the arraignment and before when it takes place at the courthouse. Ask any questions you may have about the proceeding and how it fits in the overall process.
On the day of your arraignment, come early, so you’re not late for the arraignment. You should dress, talk and act professionally. Show respect to the judge and all the courthouse employees. There’s nothing to get nervous or concerned about. Remember, this is meant to be a brief, administrative hearing.
How Should You Plead?
You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest – you don’t admit guilt, but you do admit the facts the prosecution alleges are true – according to Ohio’s rules of criminal court procedure. You’ll receive a copy of the indictment, information, or complaint, or an acknowledgment that you received them. You can also ask to continue the arraignment.
Under Ohio law, you’ll be warned that by pleading guilty:
- If you’re not a citizen, you may jeopardize your immigration status
- If the charge is a felony, and you violate the conditions of a post-release control by the parole board after your prison term, the board may impose a new prison term of up to nine months
What Happens After an OVI Arraignment
If you plead guilty, a date will be set for your sentencing. If you plead not guilty, the date for a pretrial hearing will be set. There’s no penalty for pleading not guilty then later changing your plea. Before or at the pretrial hearing, the prosecutor will probably offer to resolve the case through a plea agreement. You should discuss all your options and what they mean for you in the long term with your attorney.
If you decide to fight the OVI charges, your lawyer will likely file a discovery motion to start building your defense. This compels the prosecution to hand over all the materials under their control about your case. It may include items such as the police report, test results, and any witness statements. You should also get a copy of everything from your attorney so you can review it and work together to build your defense plan.
Your attorney can also challenge your administrative license suspension in the interim between court dates if it’s improperly or ineffectively imposed. You can ask for it to be delayed or limited in many cases so you can drive when necessary.
Charged with OVI? LHA Can Help
If you’ve been charged with OVI in or around Cincinnati, don’t give up hope. Luftman, Heck & Associates attorneys will work to give you a chance at a fair outcome. Don’t wait too long or assume this will work itself out. You need to take action to defend yourself. Contact us today and let attorney Brad Groene handle your OVI arraignment and everything that comes next.