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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



“People don’t go to jail for driving under suspension”. There are several different charges that can be filed by the police. Depending on the type of charge that is filed, as much as 180 days in jail is possible. Some charges have mandatory jail penalties. Three days in jail can be mandatory even on a first offense. Frequently people charged with driving under suspension are on probation. In such a case, the person could face jail on the new case as well as imposition of a suspended sentence on an old probation case.


“These cases aren’t brain surgery. I am smart enough to handle this myself”. Even if you are smart, that doesn’t mean that you know all the twists and turns of the law. People who try to defend themselves often end up with some bad surprises even if they manage to stay out of jail,. It is not the prosecutor’s job to tell you everything that can happen to you. Some penalties are imposed by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles after the case is over. For example, noncompliance and/or points suspensions by the BMV. Those suspensions have additional mandatory license suspensions and trigger a mandatory SR22 requirement that normally requires high risk insurance. The extra insurance may cost you more that hiring a lawyer to keep you out of trouble.


“If you didn’t give the BMV your new address, it doesn’t matter whether you received the notice of suspension.” Prosecutors are fond of saying this and many think that this is all that matters. While the above statement might be technically true under certain circumstances, the issue often isn’t as simple as it sounds. The bureau has a duty to mail notices to the person’s last known address. If this isn’t done, the suspension is invalid. Often the bureau has a current address and doesn’t use it. For example, frequently the police will ask for a current address at the time a traffic ticket is issued. The bureau is supposed to use this address. Failure to do so may be a defense to a driving under suspension case.


“I am not guilty if I didn’t know I was under suspension” Driving under suspension and no operator’s license cases are what is known in the law as “strict liability” offenses. That means that you don’t have to know you are under suspension to be convicted. An analogy can be made to speeding cases. The government doesn’t have to prove that a person charged with speeding knew he or she was speeding. Driving under suspension is similar. Knowledge of the suspension is not required.


“Driving under suspension cases can’t be won." For better or for worse, the legislature has made the law in this area unnecessarily complex. As a result, there are often technical defenses that can be used that might not be obvious to the average person. For example, a person may be charged with driving under one type of suspension when they are actually under another type of suspension or they might be charged with driving under suspension when they are actually guilty of no operator’s license. Such a person may very well be not guilty as charged even thought he or she did not have the right to drive.