Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI Attorney

This page is designed to give an overview of how the court process for Ohio DUI / OVI cases works. The process begins with the issuance of a ticket and administrative license suspension (ALS) report if the person either submits to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine and fails, or the person refuses to submit to a chemical test. Then an arraignment, pretrial and motion hearing are held. If the case is not resolved at this point, a trial will be held, followed by a sentencing hearing if convicted.

Administrative License Suspension in Ohio

In order to charge you with DUI (called “OVI” in Ohio), a police officer must issue a traffic ticket to you. This ticket will give you notice of the offense you have been charged with. The ticket will also contain a summons to appear in court at a specific time and on a specific date. Failure to appear at this court date will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. Along with this ticket, if during the DUI / OVI investigation you refused to submit to chemical testing (blood, breath or urine) the officer will give you an administrative license suspension report.


The first stage of the DUI / OVI court process is the arraignment. This should be held within 5 business days after issuance of the ticket. There is very little chance of a plea agreement being reached at this hearing. Instead, you will be given the option of pleading guilty, not guilty or no contest.

Pleading guilty or no contest results in you being sentenced and a DUI / OVI conviction appearing on your permanent criminal record. Pleading not guilty will give you an opportunity to hire an attorney (if you have not done so before arraignment) and review the prosecution’s evidence.

If you decide to plead not guilty, you should also challenge the administrative license suspension. This can be done at the arraignment orally or writing within 30 days. Hiring an attorney prior to your arraignment is advisable since your attorney will assist you in developing a defense, appealing the administrative license suspension, and filing a demand for discovery to obtain the prosecution’s evidence.


If you pled not guilty, the next stage of the DUI / OVI court process is a pretrial. Prior to this hearing, your attorney will be able to obtain discovery from the prosecution. For DUI / OVI, this will include witness statements, police reports, alcohol and chemical reports, field sobriety test reports, and video recordings from the police cruiser. At this time your attorney will also file motions to suppress evidence, such as field sobriety tests (i.e., horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one leg stand), statements made by you while in custody, and any chemical tests performed.

During this pretrial phase, your attorney and the prosecutor will talk about the case and attempt to resolve it. This could be done through a plea bargain or dismissal of the case. If a plea bargain is reached, this can result in amending the charge to a lesser charge or the prosecution’s recommendation for a certain sentence. If you accept a plea agreement, the judge will impose a sentence. If you decide not to plea guilty, a motion hearing will be held.

Motion Hearing

At this stage of the DUI / OVI court process, a hearing will be held based on motions filed by your attorney to suppress certain kinds of evidence. These motions could include failure of the officer to have probable cause to arrest you, administering the field sobriety tests incorrectly, or chemical tests not being performed according to the proper procedures. Strict procedures must be followed during the DUI / OVI investigation and failure to do so can result in that evidence be excluded from court.

In addition to the court ruling on motions, there are continued negotiations between your attorney and the prosecutor. This can result in a plea agreement being reached or the case being dismissed.


If the case has not been resolved yet, a trial will be scheduled. If your case is scheduled for trial, and you have not yet hired an attorney, it is advisable to do so now. Representing your self “pro se” is not a good idea. As the old adage goes: “He who represent himself has a fool for a client.” Trial preparation, rules of evidence, cross-examinations and trial procedure are complex. Hiring an attorney will result in you putting forth a much stronger defense.

Sentencing Hearing

If you decide to plead guilty, or are found guilty at trial, the next stage of the DUI / OVI court process is a sentencing hearing. The judge will hear from both sides and then decide the sentence to be imposed. Judges are granted broad latitude in fashioning a sentence, and there are a wide range of penalties for DUI / OVI in Ohio. The jail sentence for a first DUI can be anywhere from 3 days to 6 months, a fine of $375-$1075, and a mandatory minimum license suspension of 1 year.

DUI / OVI Attorney – Columbus and Delaware, Ohio

If you have been charged with DUI / OVI in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC. Attorney David Johnson will discuss the details of your case, how to protect your ability to drive and fight the charges against you. Contact Johnson Legal, LLC by calling (614) 987-0192 or sending an email to schedule a consultation.

Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for DUI / OVI Defense:

Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, GahannaSunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, Mt. GileadPataskala, Granville, WhitehallFranklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Union County, Madison County and Delaware County