IMakeMistakes1 iStock000007270589XSmall

CLEVE M. JOHNSON 495 South High Street, Suite 400; Columbus, Ohio  43215-5058 (first building south of courthouse) Map



•Do you need a serious defense?
•Would you rather keep it simple?
•Do you absolutely have to drive?

•Are OVI's impossible to win?
•21 ways to "beat" the test
•Mistakes made in OVI cases.
•Myths about OVI cases.
•After court checklist


•Is your job on the line?
Commercial driver's licenses
Are you a pilot?

Can an OVI be a death sentence?


Qualifications and experience
The real best lawyers

•State Bar Journal Article


•Attorney fee answers & "secrets"
•Is a lawyer worth the money?


OVI penalties
•Drinks & alchool levels


•Myths and misunderstandings
•DUS and no ops penalties


•22 ways to win point cases
•48 ways to lose your license



1. “There is nothing your lawyer can do about your license suspension”. Police frequently say this to people they charge with OVI. It is not true. Depending upon the case, several things can be done. The suspension can be appealed to the court at the first hearing. Suspensions can be stayed. Driving privileges can be obtained. A not guilty finding in a test case terminates the suspension as a matter of law.


2. Any Lawyer Can Handle A Drunk Driving Case. People who believe this probably don't know the answer to myth number six. If "handling" a drunk driving case means taking a client's money, twisting his arm to get him to plead guilty, and not doing anything for him, in that sense, the myth is probably true. Most people usually want more out of a lawyer than this.


3. OVI Cases Can't Be Won. This is simply not true. This myth probably says more about the speaker than anything else. If the speaker has never heard of anyone winning an OVI case you probably ought to talk to someone who knows what they are doing.


4. Breath tests are never wrong. If space shuttles designed by rocket scientists can fail, machines built by the lowest bidden on a government contract can also be flawed. Even if the test result was accurate, there are a number of factors that can keep the result from being admitted into evidence. The test is not invulnerable.

5. Drunk Driving Cases Are Minor Cases. While this may have been true 30 years ago, people who believe this haven't kept up. Drunk driving can be a third degree felony. Five years in prison and a lifetime driver's license suspension are possible. Even on a first offense, the minimum penalty can include mandatory jail (not just a weekend program) and mandatory yellow and red license plates in some types of cases.


6. OVI Cases Are Just Like Any Other Criminal Case. OVI cases have become unnecessarily complex. I served as a member of the Governor's Drunk Driving Task Force. One of the things we found was that drunk driving cases are more complicated than murder cases. For example, for every two words in the murder laws, there are 98 words in the drunk driving laws. People who think OVI cases are no more complicated than other cases don't know much about OVI.


7. Everyone Is Guilty. Some people think that if an officer stops them with alcohol on their breath this makes them guilty. While it may not be a good idea to drink and drive, drinking and driving alone is not illegal. To be illegal, a person must consume enough alcohol to appreciably impair his or her ability to operate a vehicle or to reach a prohibited level. If not, the person is not guilty.


8. After a few years my conviction will drop off my record. In 2004 the legislature required clerks of courts to keep records on OVI convictions for 50 years. Many clerks make this information easily available on the internet to employers and anyone else.