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Arrested for OVI while visiting Ohio — should you fight it?

Visitors to Cincinnati for business or vacation may enjoy eating Cincinnati chili, taking in a Reds, Bengals, Bearcats or Musketeers game, or checking out the riverfront. But if you are arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving while visiting from out of state, it can ruin your trip.

Once you are out of jail and back in your home state, you might wonder if it’s with it to confront the drunk driving charge (known as OVI in Ohio), especially if you don’t plan to come back to Ohio anytime soon. Even if you never come back to the Buckeye State again, an OVI conviction can still have a big impact on your life, thanks to the Driver License Compact, or DLC.

Agreement to share information

The DLC is an agreement between the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Essentially, each state agrees to let each other know when a judge suspended someone’s license while the driver was outside of their home state. The home state then treats that suspension as if it had happened within the home state and applies its own laws.

For example, say police pulled over and arrested a Pennsylvania resident on an OVI charge. Eager to make the charge “go away,” the resident pleads guilty, and the judge suspends his driver’s license for 18 months. The court then alerts the authorities in Pennsylvania, who then apply the suspension.

Dealing with an out-of-state charge does not have to be a huge hassle

Therefore, automatically pleading guilty or trying to ignore the out-of-state charge will not solve the problem. The good news is, hiring a defense attorney who is licensed to practice in Ohio can make dealing with the charge much easier and more convenient. Your attorney can go over the evidence and your options with you so you can make an intelligent decision about how to plead and whether to settle out of court. And your lawyer can represent you in court proceedings if your case does not end up going to trial. You might not have to return to Cincinnati to face the charge in person.