Most people think that charges for driving under the influence (DUI) are only a risk for people who drive after consuming multiple alcoholic beverages. However, the term DUI – or, in Ohio, operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) – applies to anyone operating a vehicle under the influence of, or impaired by, alcohol or drugs. In such cases, DUI charges may be applicable whenever a driver cannot operate a vehicle safely.
A first-time OVI offense, considered a first-degree misdemeanor, can alter the trajectory of your life. If convicted, you face penalties like suspension of your driver’s license, having your vehicle impounded, lengthy community service, fines of over $1,000 and even jail sentences of up to six months.
If you have been arrested or charged with DUI in Ohio, you should seek the legal counsel of a Cincinnati DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Here are eight tips to keep in mind when hiring your DUI lawyer.
1. Do Your Research
Ask family and friends for recommendations for a DUI lawyer with good reviews and a professional reputation. Create a list and do some comprehensive online research. Try to find a lawyer who has a good rapport with prosecutors and experience in local courts. These types of networks can be advantageous in negotiations.
2. Arrange Consultations
Most lawyers offer free consultations. Meet with each lawyer personally and evaluate their professionalism, responsiveness and demeanor. Be open and honest about your situation and note how they respond. Ask about their success rate and how they typically communicate with their clients. Ensure that you are comfortable with your DUI lawyer’s level of communication, rapport and experience.
3. Consider DUI Experience
Lawyers who specialize in DUI cases are equipped with the knowledge and experience to negotiate successfully on your behalf. Police officers who administer sobriety tests are mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Lawyers with NHTSA certification will notice if any irregularities occurred during your arrest that are not in accordance with the NHTSA manual. If it can be established that the officer failed to follow the correct protocols, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress the evidence, thereby strengthening your case.
4. Look for DUI Lawyers in Ohio
DUI laws and enforcement vary and are governed by each state. The passing of new federal rules and guidelines can also affect your case. An experienced DUI lawyer who keeps abreast of federal standards and is familiar with Ohio’s laws can make a big difference to your case.
5. Communicate Honestly
Be open and honest with your lawyer. Every detail is valuable and could strengthen your legal strategy. Even if you feel ashamed about the situation, your DUI lawyer will listen objectively and evaluate the situation.
6. Act Expeditiously
While it’s important not to be hasty in your decision-making, waiting too long can result in missed deadlines. For example, if you want to submit an appeal of administrative license suspension, you must submit a letter of appeal within 30 days of your arrest. Submitting an appeal requires research and paperwork to be completed quickly. Hiring a DUI lawyer as soon as possible helps you avoid missing deadlines that could negatively affect your case.
7. Size Matters
Large firms give the impression of efficiency but may not be able to provide you with the individualized support you need. Meanwhile, firms that are too small may be overwhelmed with cases, resulting in delays and miscommunication. Find out how much time will be devoted to your case and how communications, such as updates, will be handled.
8. Research Legal Fees
Legal fees can be expensive but should not be exorbitant. Look out for lawyers who cost too much or too little. Be forthright about your budget and ask the lawyer about all the associated fees for handling your case. Request a quote and seek clarity if you suspect any ambiguity in the fees.
DUI Lawyer in Cincinnati
Accidents happen. A DUI Lawyer who is fiercely committed to defending and negotiating on your behalf can help you get your life back on track. Mark Wieczorek is a defense attorney and prosecutor with the experience and insight to build the best strategy for your case. Contact The Wieczorek Law Firm 24/7 at 513.317.5987 or book a free consultation online.