For some people, the thought of getting an operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) charge doesn’t seem like that big a deal. Especially if they just had a few drinks and the situation that led to the charges didn’t involve a crash or injuries.
However, Ohio police officers aggressively enforce OVI laws and will arrest those who show signs of impairment during a traffic stop or who fail a breath test after causing a crash. Quite a few drivers accused of OVI offenses in Ohio just plead guilty because they feel like they have no other option.
They might also mistakenly believe that it will cost more to defend themselves than it will to plead guilty, even if they maintain that they didn’t break the law. In reality, there are multiple very compelling reasons to fight back against impaired driving allegations.
A guilty plea doesn’t guarantee leniency
One of the most common misconceptions about criminal prosecution is that a guilty plea automatically results in more lenient sentencing. People often think that if they cooperate with the courts, a judge will choose not to impose a prison sentence or will minimize the fines they must pay.
In reality, a judge still has the final say and how much jail time you do or how long you lose your license. Although they do have to comply with sentencing laws, there is no absolute guarantee of leniency even when you plead guilty. The only way to absolutely avoid specific criminal penalties is to prove your innocence and avoid a sentence altogether.
An OVI conviction is incredibly expensive
You probably know that an Ohio judge can sentence you to large fines after an OVI conviction. You may also recognize that it will be very expensive to obtain alternate transportation services while you don’t have a license. Those costs can quickly add up to quite a lot.
Even after you regain your driving privileges, your OVI will continue to cost you money, as your insurance policy will likely cost hundreds of dollars more per year.
An OVI can affect your career
There are many ways in which a guilty plea for an OVI offense could change your professional life. For example, you are employer could have a zero-tolerance policy for criminal convictions and might fire you. You could also have job challenges because of the loss of your license. In fact, if you have a professional license to do your job, a criminal conviction might put that license at risk as well as your driver’s license.
When you consider how much you could potentially lose with a guilty plea, fighting back starts to look like a much more reasonable choice. Exploring different defense strategies can help you better handle recent OVI charges.