An Ordinary OVI Can Become Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter in an Instant
When does “I can make it home” become “I need a Columbus DUI lawyer”?
Ask anyone who smokes or uses tobacco if they are going to get cancer. The answer is usually along the lines of, “No. It won’t happen to me.” But the reality is that people who smoke get lung cancer. It’s true. It’s a fact. And many tobacco users actually have relatives, mothers, fathers and loved ones who actually have cancer now, or had cancer and died as a result.
But no one thinks it will happen to them.
This isn’t an indictment of the tobacco industry. To each his or her own. But it’s an interesting parallel to drinking and driving. No one thinks they are the one who will kill themselves or someone else. How many times have we heard the simple statement: “I can make it home.” And even if they discuss the worst-case scenario, there’s no real consideration of death. The only perceived concern is whether they will get an OVI and have to pay lots of money, endure license suspensions, and the like.
Well, guess what. People driving drunk not only get caught. Every weekend, there’s a drunk driving wreck. Every weekend people die from it.
The difference between a run-of-the-mill OVI and a life-ending situation is razor thin
Our Columbus DUI lawyers recently represented a man with a professional job. He was successful and educated. He had actually lined up his designated driver, but somehow in the mix of the night, he opted to drive himself home. No one really knows which car caused the crash. But he woke up in the middle of an intersection bleeding like a stuck pig. The other driver was also bleeding and hurt.
What would have been an ordinary OVI now has real teeth. We aren’t just talking about a weekend drunk school and a six-month license suspension. Add booze to a car crash, and it turns into a felony really fast. Now we are talking about OVI-plus-prison. If someone is injured as a result of an OVI, it’s a game-changer. And this is true even if it’s your buddy in the passenger seat. Someone dies and it’s considered aggravated vehicular manslaughter. If you’re curious, just peruse the law. Check out Ohio Revised Code 2903.06. Take a look at the mandatory prison. Take a look at the lifetime driver’s license suspensions.
And the defense of these cases isn’t cheap and it’s not easy. This isn’t for the average “Joe Traffic Lawyer” pleading people out at their first opportunity. These cases take real work. They involve toxicology experts. They involve accident reconstruction. They often involve complicated insurance issues and civil liability issues. And the stakes are high. We don’t have the simple option of just pleading someone guilty and getting minimum drunk driving penalties.
So what’s the point? You can’t “just make it home.” No one thinks they will get cancer. And no one thinks they will be the one who goes left of center and kills someone. But just ask anyone who made this mistake. It truly can happen anyone.
Get the right Columbus DUI lawyer
Like anything, prevention is the best medicine. But we get it. Mistakes happen. Just make sure there’s an experienced criminal litigator to help. These are complicated, life-changing messes. Get the right help from the right Columbus DUI lawyer.
Contact Yavitch & Palmer by using our online form to schedule an appointment at our downtown Columbus office, or call us at 614-224-6142.