Hiring an attorney to represent you against drunk driving charges in Ohio is no small financial undertaking. To make the decision on whether to face these charges alone or to incur the financial burden of paying for representation, you need information about what you get for your money.
Whenever I take on a drunk driving case, I am looking for issues that are going to make the prosecutor uneasy about your case. Each prosecutor is going to have a great many cases every single morning of his working life, and most of them are going to be slam dunks. But those that have issues are where the deals are struck. Therefore, the first thing I look at is whether the police officer who pulled you over was within his jurisdiction when he did so.
Second, I am going to demand to see (through a Crim. R. 16 discovery request) all evidence the state has with regard to your case, good and bad. I am also going to file a Motion to Preserve Evidence so that if there is evidence helpful to you it does not get thrown out. This will enable me to see the police report of what happened, as well as the video and audio recordings of the stop. I will share these with my clients.
Third, I am going to analyze what I see in the video and the police reports for consistency, and for indications that your constitutional rights were violated in the gathering of the evidence. If there was no reasonable suspicion to pull you over, or probable cause to arrest you, then this is going to be a big problem for the prosecutor because I will make a motion to suppress the evidence.
Fourth, if you took roadside tests, I am going to use my knowledge of the National Highway and Safety Administrations Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Manual to make sure that these tests were administered in substantial compliance with the rules. If not, I will move to exclude the test results.
Fifth, I will use my knowledge of the Ohio Administrative Code’s regulations requiring calibration of alcohol testing devices to make sure that these machines were in proper working order when you were tested. If you gave a blood or urine specimen, I will move to exclude these results of the rules for the taking, storage, transport, and evaluation of such samples was not done in accordance with the rules.
Sixth, I will also make sure that all of the persons conducting the calibration tests and your particular test were certified properly to do so. If not, then I will move to exclude the results of the test.
Seventh, I will move to get you Limited Driving Privileges during the pendency of your case so that you can still drive to and from work.
Eighth, I will work hard to get the charges lowered down to something you can live with or dismissed so that you will not have the stigma of having a drunk driving conviction on your record. This could save your career and your home.
Ninth, even if you are convicted, I will have recommended certain courses of action with regard to evaluation and treatment during the case for you to undertake which will show the judge at sentencing that you are proactive with regard to this issue and not the typical drunk driver. I will tell the judge all about you and who you are so that you are a real person to the judge, not just a statistic on an entry filed with the Court. This way I can argue that you should get the minimum sentencing and fines and costs allowed by law.
Not every drunk driving case is winnable, but that is true of both the defense and the prosecution. If I can spot enough gray areas and point these out to the prosecutor, he or she may offer a deal we can all live with. But you will never know if there is a problem with your case unless you can see the evidence against you and analyze it in an organized and professional way. The key then is arguing it to the prosecutor so that he or she will understand, not only the legal problems, but also that you are a good person whose life will be terribly affected by the failure to work something out with regard to the charges.