You were pulled over and arrested for a DUI / OVI in Cincinnati or a surrounding county. What happens now?
Whether you arrested in Cincinnati, Warren County, Clermont County or any other area in Greater Cincinnati, the county or mayor’s court is required by law to formally tell you what you have been charged with. This is called your “arraignment.” At the arraignment, the Cincinnati area judge or magistrate will also ask you whether you are pleading “guilty” or “not guilty” to the charges.
Ideally, you will have obtained a Cincinnati DUI attorney prior to your arraignment so that your attorney can get involved in the case at this early stage. There are opportunities at the arraignment stage to set your case up for the best possible outcome that might not be available if you wait to hire a Cincinnati attorney.
Depending on where you were arrested, you or your attorney will enter a plea in front of one of the judge or magistrate. For example, in Hamilton County, you would enter your plea in front of one of the Hamilton County Municipal Court judges. Depending on the court, you may also be able to address your Ohio Administrative License Suspension at your arraignment. This is done through an appeal of the suspension, a stay of the suspension, or relief through driving privileges. A Cincinnati attorney can help facilitate the best outcome for your license and driving privileges if they get involved at this early stage in the criminal process.
Next, your case will now enter the discovery phase. Your attorney will ask the Hamilton County, Warren County, Butler County prosecutor (depending on where you were arrested) for all of the evidence his or her office has against you. The Cincinnati or municipal (if transferred from a Cincinnati area mayor’s court) prosecutor’s office is required to give you or your attorney all of the evidence they have–including any evidence showing that you were not impaired. This would include, for example, the police report, ticket, any witness statements, etc.
(3) EVALUATE THE EVIDENCE
Now is when having a Cincinnati DUI attorney is really important. For our clients, in this phase, we start digging into the evidence the Hamilton County, Warren County, Butler County or other municipal prosecutor has provided in discovery. Additionally, we begin talking to witnesses as part of our investigation in order to uncover any evidence that you were wrongfully stopped or that you were otherwise not impaired. We examine the police report, the cruiser video, witness statements, results from the breathalyzer or urine test and all other evidence that may have possible weaknesses that we could exploit.
The pretrial conference is chance to meet with your assigned county or municipal judge or magistrate and the Cincinnati prosecutor to discuss the status of the case and any pending issues. For example, the pretrial conference often includes discussion regarding whether all of the evidence has been disclosed by the prosecutor’s office, such as cruiser videos, witness statements, test results, etc. At this stage, your Cincinnati attorney might also discuss with the prosecutor and/or the judge any pending motions. At this point, we would continue negotiations with the Cincinnati or municipal prosecutor, and address our Cincinnati DUI client’s eligibility for driving privileges.
Depending on the outcome of our investigation into the facts of your case, we may need to file motions with the court toward excluding certain evidence that was wrongfully obtained or was otherwise improper. For example, a motion to suppress might be filed with the judge or magistrate to argue that your breathalyzer results should be excluded at trial because the machine was broken or was improperly calibrated.
At this stage, your Cincinnati DUI attorney will present arguments to the prosecutor and explain why the Hamilton County Prosecutor or the Butler County Prosecutor (depending on the jurisdiction you were arrested) should dismiss or reduce the charges.
If the case cannot be resolved by negotiation, it will proceed to trial. For example, in the Hamilton County Municipal Court, you can have your case heard to the judge or to a jury of eight. The Cincinnati or other municipal prosecutor must prove you were impaired beyond a reasonable doubt and all eight jurors must agree on your guilt. Attorney Doug Riddell represents clients facing DUI charges in Hamilton County, Ohio.