Ohio DUI - What to Expect in a DUI Case
This summary is meant to give you an overview of the types of court proceedings that can occur in a DUI case. By and large this is the type of information we give our clients so that they can understand what to expect and what is expected of them in each step of the proceedings. This is not meant as a guide to defending yourself as it assumes you will have counsel. In fact, it assumes you will have very competent counsel. As every case is different, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice.
· Initial Appearance & ALS Appeal - Purpose: to ensure you know the charges, have an opportunity to object to defects in tickets and other papers filed by officer, enter plea of Guilty or Not Guilty (hearing can be continued for a reasonable period of time).
· We use this event to begin to learn what the state's case looks like by reviewing reports and documents available at that time; to object to any defects in tickets or BMV 2255 (suspension form) appeal the license suspension; to attempt to obtain stay of suspension (get license back) or get work related driving privileges; to request (demand) preservation of videotape and other evidence; to file initial pleadings that will require the state to produce Discovery Materials including all reports, video tapes, audio tapes and other evidence including chemical test results; to demand access to records re breath, blood or urine testing procedures, maintenance, repair and performance history and operators training and certification records. In short we start putting the pressure on the state to provide a wide range of materials that we want to review to see where the strengths and weaknesses in the state's case may lie.
What you will need to do. You will need to show up at the time we instruct you to appear (dressed appropriately) and check in. (We will probably have you text us when you have checked in as we may be in another part of the building.) Normally you will not have to do or say anything after checking in. We will have a plenty of time to discus what we learn about the case from the materials available and discuss other matters.
· Pre-Trial (PT) Discovery Conferences – This is the first opportunity for the attorney to really discuss the case with the Prosecutor who will be assigned to the case and try to obtain a resolution to the case.
· While we will start demanding discovery materials at the Initial Appearance it is not uncommon for the process to be completed at the Pre-Trial. Often we will schedule a second or even third PT if: 1) state has not provided all discovery material, 2) we feel further another PT may help resolve the case, 3) we see a tactical advantage in doing so.
What you will need to do. You will need to show up at the time we instruct you to appear (dressed appropriately) and check in. (We will probably have you text us when you have checked in.) Normally you will not have to do or say anything after checking in. We will have a plenty of time to discus what we have learned about the case from the materials reviewed before and at the PT and to discuss any offers the state may make and to discuss other matters.
· Hearings on Pre-Trial Motions - Within 35 days of the Initial Appearance we will file numerous motions. In general these motions will challenge the processes and procedures the officers used in conducting the initial stop, the roadside investigation, Field Sobriety Tests, questioning, the arrest and any chemical testing done. At the hearing the state will be required to call the officer(s) as witnesses and introduce evidence to attempt to show that the officers did not violate the US and Ohio Constitutions, any laws or the required procedures (such as the NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Rules regarding breath or chemical testing.) We use these hearings to: 1) to obtain exclusion of evidence such as the Sobriety Tests, statements made by you, and chemical tests, 2) obtain a dismissal of the charges when enough evidence is excluded or certain important procedures were not followed , 3) to fully cross-examine the officers to; nail down their story; get them to agree with facts helpful to us;4) to show prosecutor and judge that the state's case is weak and/or that the officers don't stand up to our cross-examination, specifically re the roadside procedures, field sobriety tests and chemical tests. Before, during and after these hearings are probably the best times to try and obtain the best negotiated resolution to the case.
What you will need to do. You will need to show up at the time we instruct you to appear (dressed appropriately) and check in. You will sit at counsel table, listen to witness, take notes and consult with us during the hearing. Normally you will not have to do or say anything in court, other than take notes, during the hearing. We will have time before, during and after the hearing to discuss the case.
Jury Trial or Bench Trial - the process and our preparations are too complex to summarize here.