Ohio residents facing serious charges for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol have the right to a strong defense that asserts their innocence. Understanding the different pleas available and how it may work to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest to an OVI or a DUI felony offense may affect the outcome. In one recent case reported by the Bellefontaine Examiner, a 40-year-old Logan County resident chose to plead no contest after being charged with first-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide and a fatal OVI. Test results showed the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration level was 0.173 after he crashed his southbound SUV into a northbound vehicle. The head-on collision took the life of a 32-year-old woman.
While there are pros and cons to consider before pleading, a defendant may find it in his or her best interests to choose a certain plea over another. This may be especially relevant when there is enough compelling evidence for an immediate conviction. If an undisputable test result is presented, it might be difficult to argue that the defendant did not commit a crime. Instead of admitting guilt, however, pleading no contest allows a defendant to maintain their innocence while also receiving a conviction from the judge. By choosing no contest, the defendant’s admission of committing a crime during a trial might not be necessary in some cases. The prosecutor may also not be required to present the details of the actual crime committed. Generally, a conviction resulting from a no contest plea may not be used against the defendant in a subsequent case, such as when a victim or their family proceeds with a civil action for damages or for another remedy.