Appealing a OVI Conviction in Ohio
Any Youngstown OVI lawyer who has been around a while knows that there are times the court concludes wrongly. Just because a person has been accused of OVI doesn’t mean they were. Often, the evidence is not there to prove someone has. OVI convictions in Ohio can be appealed in some cases.
The justice system in Ohio is set up so that if a mistake is made at a trial, there are steps that can be taken to correct that mistake and make things right. One of those steps is the court of appeals.
When you file an appeal, you ask a different judge or group of judges to look over your case. They will analyze the trial and see what mistakes were made, if any. If they find nothing, your conviction will stand. But, if they do find mistakes, there two things that could happen. They can send your case back to the lower court and tell that judge and jury to reconsider their opinion. Or, they can overturn your conviction.
There are certain things that commonly cause mistakes to be made in OVI cases. These things will often lead to an appeal.
- The judge mistakenly found reasonable suspicion present when the cops stopped your car.
- The judge allowed breath or blood test results to be cited as evidence against you that should not have been.
- The judge mistakenly found the cops had probable cause to arrest you.
- The judge allowed the results of field sobriety tests to be cited as evidence against you when they should not have been.
You need to remember that an appeal is based on the concept of legal mistakes being made in the case against you. An appeals court will only look at the evidence presented in your original trial, not any new evidence that might pop up. While an appeal can trigger a new trial, it is not one in and of itself.
Why Consider an Appeal?
A OVI conviction can wreak havoc on your life. If the court makes a mistake and convicts you when it should not have, you end up paying consequences for something you did not do. Life-long consequences, in many cases. Any of the following could result from a OVI conviction:
- Losing your job
- Going to jail
- Having points added to your driver’s license
- Losing your driving privileges
- Paying pricey fines
- Having a permanent criminal record
- Having your vehicle immobilized or taken away from you
- Paying higher auto insurance premiums
A successful appeal removes many of these problems from your life.
How Do Appeals Happen?
Once you have made the decision to appeal a OVI conviction, your attorney will file papers with the appellate court to get the process started. He will have your court transcript sent to the appeals court for them to review.
Your attorney then examines your case for potential mistakes, which he will identify and list. He will then write something called a brief, which is an explanation of the mistakes made and the law that supports the case for finding the conviction to be in error. Your lawyer will file that brief with the appeals court. The prosecutor will file one of its own, which will explain why he thinks the court should not overturn or return the conviction. Sometimes, lawyers will file more written arguments than just these. It depends on the individual cases and their details.
The judges at the appeals court can either set you up with a hearing or make their decision only based on the briefs filed with the court. If you get a hearing, both your lawyer and the prosecutor have the opportunity to state their points of view to the judges in person and answer and questions they may have.
Once they have reviewed all the details, the judges will write up their decision. This sometimes takes a while, especially if your case was complicated.
Why Do I Have to Have a Lawyer Help Me With This?
Appeals are based solely on the law and mistakes of law made in a court. Since most people are unfamiliar with the many OVI laws and their nuances, it’s important to hire an expert in that law to help you. It could mean the difference between your conviction standing or being overturned.
Sometimes the attorney you hired to represent you originally will also help you through the appeals process, but sometimes you might want a different one. Or, if you didn’t have an attorney at all, you will want to hire one for this. It’s important to have an attorney who has successfully appealed other cases before yours.
Remember, too, that you have a limited length of time in which to file an appeal. If you think you want to follow this route, call an attorney as soon as possible.
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