IMakeMistakes1 Surrender

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. The obvious but most serious mistake.

Drinking and driving. Taxies are cheaper than lawyers..

2. Wrongly assuming that you will get the “minimum” sentence.

Just because you are eligible for a “minimum” sentence doesn’t mean the judge has to give you the minimum. While the minimum driver’s license suspension on a first offense is 180 days, people can and do receive a three year driver’s license suspension. This can happen even on a first offense and often without driving privileges at least initially. Many times, a lawyer can keep this from happening.

3. Needlessly getting the case heard by a tough judge.

Many people think that if they just plead “not guilty” or ask for a continuance at their first court date that there can be no harm in this. In Franklin County and other counties as well, not doing the right thing at your first hearing can cause you to end up on front of a tough judge. This could, for example, make the difference between five years of probation and no probation at all even on a first offense. The safe thing to do is to see a lawyer before the first court date. Many lawyers will not charge you for the initial consultation.

4. Wrongly assuming that you will receive the same sentence as everyone else with the same number of priors.

Take this example. Two people have a first OMVI within six years. The first pleads guilty and gets a three day sentence. The second person pleads guilty thinking the same sentence will be imposed and receives a 60 day jail sentence. After it is too late, the second person learns that because of differences in local codes, he faced a mandatory minimum 60 day sentence while the first person faced a mandatory minimum three day sentence.

5. Thinking that if I'm guilty, fighting the case would be a waste of money and I don't need a lawyer to tell me how to enter a guilty plea.

Any fool can plead guilty. There is more to pleading guilty than just saying the words. For example, when you plead guilty can make the difference between getting an unnecessary points suspension or having your probation revoked and avoiding these things. The judge you plead guilty in front of can make the difference between a minimum license suspension and a maximum license suspension. What code section you plead guilty to can make the difference between getting work release and not getting work release. A lawyer can frequently change all of these things. What you don't know can hurt you. If you save money on a lawyer but lose your job because of the sentence, you didn't really save money.

6. Not understanding that a lawyer may be able to save you more money than you pay in attorney's fees.

If doing the wrong thing in your OMVI case causes you to end up with high risk insurance, you may pay more money to the insurance company over the next few years than you would have paid the lawyer to prevent the problem. If you loose your job because of license suspension or days in jail, or an employer concerned about your record, this can easily cost you more than the lawyer. There is an old saying that you pay for a good lawyer whether you hire one or not.

7. Thinking that drunk driving cases can't be won.

Lawyers can and do win OMVI cases, even where the client failed the test. The difference between a good case and a bad case is not always obvious to the average person. For example, under some circumstances, a case with a very high test result can actually be easier to defend than one with a mid level test.

8. Getting bad or outdated legal advice from friends and relatives.

Drunk driving law changes frequently and those changes involve serious consequences. What happened to your friend or relative in his or her case may be very different than what will happen to you. The people you are talking to should know such things as the differences between a city and state code charge. They should be able to name all of the judges from memory and tell you their sentencing characteristics. If your friend or relative can't tell you how automotive air bags can affect a breath test result, he or she probably doesn't have the depth of knowledge necessary to give you good advice.

9. Naively thinking that because you deserve to be punished, you should accept responsibility by pleading guilty on your own at the first court date.

Accepting responsibility and putting the matter behind you can be the right thing to do. However, naively pleading guilty at the first court date may lead to a sentence that later seems unfair. Just because a person deserves to be punished, doesn't mean that he or she deserves whatever sentence he or she receives, no matter how harsh.

10. Seeing a lawyer for the first time after you receive a sentence you feel is unfair.

Harsh sentences can frequently be prevented. However, just because you received a much stiffer sentence than a friend charged with the same thing doesn't mean that you can contact a lawyer then and get it changed after the case is over.