Need legal advice or representation? Erich J. Maier has 16 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney. Protecting your rights is our major concern and it is important to have legal counsel in situations involving criminal law.
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These are serious charges and should be handled by an experienced and aggressive attorney. Call Erich J. Maier, Attorney At Law today to discuss your case.
FAQ Criminal and OVI Law
Why was I stopped by the police?
In Ohio, law enforcement must have a “reasonable articulable suspicion” that you have committed a traffic or criminal offense in order to justify the stop. This means that any traffic infraction is likely enough cause to stop you. However, the power to pull you over is limited. For example, if an anonymous tipster calls in to report certain bad driving, but does not give his name, number or any way to identify him, that tip cannot be used by itself to stop your vehicle. It is important to hire an attorney who can identify potential errors with the stop.
Should I speak to the nice officer?
No. Under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, you have an absolute right to remain silent. You should always exercise this important constitutional right. The only information you are required to give law enforcement is your name and certain identifying information like your date of birth or social security number. As you see on TV, anything you say can and WILL be used against you. Even if you are completely and utterly innocent, you should not speak with the police.
Should I take the breath test for alcohol (BAC)?
It depends. In the past, experienced DUI defense lawyers could safely say that those accused of driving under the influence should always refuse the test. This was because in per se cases (where you are convicted by the machine by testing over the legal limit), by not blowing you took away the most critical piece of evidence available to the prosecutor. Due to changes in Ohio law, the answer must now be that it depends. If you had a prior OVI or DUI in the past 20 years, it is a separate type of OVI to refuse evidential breath, urine or blood testing. Also, there are now two tiers of OVI offenses in Ohio, based on breath alcohol test results greater than or equal to.080% or greater than or equal to .170%.
How much can I drink and still legally drive?
The safest, most absolute answer is to not drive after having consumed any alcoholic beverages. However, a “drink wheel” is a good way to estimate your BAC, based upon your gender, weight, amount of drinks consumed and period of time elapsed: http://www.intox.com/drinkwheel.aspx.
Obviously, this system is not perfect, so use at your own risk in order to get a general idea of the amount of alcoholic beverages required to obtain certain BAC results.
What happens if I refuse to take the BAC test?
In Ohio, if you refuse to perform a test for breath, blood or urine, after having been lawfully arrested on an OVI charge, your license will be suspended administratively. The length of suspension depends on whether you have prior convictions and other factors. The administrative license suspension (ALS) is separate and distinct from the court suspension which could be imposed upon conviction or plea to the charge.
Why should I be represented by a lawyer? Can’t I just represent myself?
Under law, you have a right to defend yourself against charges. However, it is unwise to proceed without the benefit of an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. Hiring a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the constantly changing areas of criminal and traffic laws, as well as the most recent case law developments is critical. An OVI or criminal conviction has consequences far beyond the actual sentence which may be imposed. An OVI conviction can cost thousands in additional insurance premiums. A criminal conviction can seriously damage your employment prospects.
Why wouldn’t they let me into Canada?
Canada has strict laws against the admission of those who have been convicted of serious crimes in his or her own country. Included on that list are OVI or driving under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, if you have ever been convicted of OVI or DUI, the border officials will not permit you to enter Canada. They have access to extensive online databases which allow them to know the criminal histories of those entering Canada. Although this FAQ seems off base, it demonstrates the far-reaching, little known consequences of a conviction. Therefore, competent and aggressive representation is a must.