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How to Hire a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust: Lebanon Attorney Explains


If convicted of DUI, will I go to jail? 

How much does a DUI lawyer cost? 

Will my license be suspended? 

How do I find a lawyer with experience defending DUI?  

Jim Dearie answers these and many other questions you may have.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Lebanon or Mason, Ohio, or in any of the surrounding counties, I understand what you are going through right now. So much is at stake – and it can be scary and confusing trying to get through the mire of information available about what to do next.

Most people who are charged with a DUI have many questions. They often have an understanding that they should hire an attorney but don’t really know how to go about it.


1. The first thing you can do is to write down your most pressing questions. This will not only help you organize your thoughts, but it will help you focus on your issue. You will find that just doing that alone will bring you a greater sense of peace, and help you feel more control over your situation.

2. Then start calling lawyers who indicate a DUI specialty on their websites, and ask them your questions.

Our lawyers at Dearie, Fischer & Mathews are happy to offer a free 15-20 minute phone consultation. In that conversation, our lawyer can learn more about the details of your case, give you an idea of how he or she can help you, and discuss the fees for our services.

If you are calling around to several different attorneys, you will want to have your questions and a few other things handy to make the most of your time and effort in learning about each one.

3. If you’ve decided to call Dearie, Fischer & Mathews, contact us through our web page or give our offices a call.

In Lebanon, Warren County or Butler County, call our office.


When you call us for an initial consultation, we understand that you will have many questions for our attorneys. We will also have questions for you so we can evaluate and better understand your case.  It will be helpful if you have the following information readily available in order to make the best use of your time.

1. Have your ticket or citation handy.

2. Be prepared to let the lawyer know which municipality or county you were in when the arrest occurred.

3. If you have been scheduled for a court appearance, be ready with the date, time, and court where you have been ordered to appear.

4. Be prepared to discuss the details of the arrest: why were you pulled over, what questions were you asked, how did you respond, what tests were administered, and any other details of the arrest. You can be assured complete confidentiality and speak candidly with the attorney about these details. 

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I understand that you will have many questions when you are charged with a DUI. Below are some of the common questions DUI clients ask, and my answers. I hope these answers will be helpful to you.

1. Will I go to jail?

The first thing we do in every case is to evaluate the evidence and come up with a strategy to beat the charges. That is always the main goal, and we fight very hard to get to that point. Our best strategy is to first obtain all the evidence in the case, including any audio and video recordings of the stop. We then evaluate the state’s evidence, and make sure your rights were protected during the traffic stop.  If we can demonstrate a problem with the state’s evidence, we will make motions to get some or all of the evidence thrown out.

We will also develop our own evidence to offer a defense to the charge.

We often see success at this stage, and many times we feel we can beat the charges.  This stage requires our lawyer to work closely with the client in developing a successful defense strategy.

Sometimes, in spite of all our efforts, we are not able to get the charges thrown out. For a first time DUI/OVI, if you hire me, you will likely not have to do jail time. Although the OVI statute carries a mandatory minimum 3-day jail sentence, I can usually negotiate an alternative to that jail time with the prosecutor. If you’ve been charged with OVI multiple times, your chances of having to serve jail time increase. However, many times, even in the most difficult cases, we can negotiate a result that does not include jail time.

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2. How much experience do you have defending DUI charges?

I have been practicing criminal defense, including DUI/OVI charges for over 25 years. I am very familiar with the court system in Lebanon, Warren County, Butler County, and all of southwest Ohio.

3. Will my license be suspended?

If you have been charged with DUI, there is good chance your license is already under suspension. That’s because in most cases, you either blew over the limit or you refused to take the breathalyzer test. In both of those cases, an immediate license suspension will be imposed (although we can usually obtain limited driving privileges for you).

However, it is possible that your license will not be suspended immediately. In some cases, the officer may ask you to submit a blood or urine sample. The samples will be sent off to a lab for testing. If, when the test comes back, it is determined that you were over the legal limit, your license may then be suspended.

In some unusual cases, a defendant may be charged with OVI even though he or she passed the breathalyzer or urine test. 

4. I’ve heard of DUI. But what is OVI?

Under Ohio law, the official name of a drunk driving charge is OVI – Operating Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (Ohio Revised Code 4511.19). The offense is still most commonly referred to as as DUI – “Driving Under the Influence”. The Ohio statute covers more than just driving with too much alcohol in the system. The amount of other drugs is also considered, including marijuana.   (More information on the difference between DUI and OVI here.)

You may also have heard of OVAUC – Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption

5. Do you have experience defending DUI charges for CDL holders?

Yes. Our lawyers recognize the seriousness of a DUI charge for people whose livelihood depends on their Commercial Driver’s License. We definitely go to bat for professional drivers to save their CDL.

6. Will a DUI charge affect my employment?

A DUI conviction can have a negative effect on your employment. Jail time could disrupt your ability to get to work, and sometimes employers will take adverse action against an employee who has DUI or OVI conviction. Also at risk are professional licenses for the practice of law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, or teaching.  Our DUI lawyers fight very hard to keep a conviction off the client’s record completely, or to negotiate a reduced charge.

7. What are penalties for a first-time DUI conviction in Ohio?

DUI law is a very specialized, detailed area of the law. Another blog article will cover some of these complicated details.

A simplified summary of the main penalties for first-time DUI conviction are summarized in the following infographic:

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Please remember, though, that these penalties presume a DUI conviction. Our lawyers will help you develop a defense strategy that will give you the best shot at avoiding a conviction.

Visit our web page for a more detailed explanation of DUI Penalties for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd OVI convictions.

8. Am I able to come in and talk to you for my free consultation?

Absolutely! If you would like to come in and have a face-to-face meeting, you are very welcome to set up an appointment to come in. If a phone consultation is more convenient for you, you can hold your first interview with me or any lawyer in our firm over the phone.

9. What are the fees for a DUI attorney?

A very common question, and one that gives clients concern. DUI defense is a very technical field, and the fees are dependent on the details specific to your case. When you call our offices for an initial consultation, we will be able to get the information we need from you and inform you right away of the defense strategy we would take moving forward. We will determine the fee during that first interview, and let you know during that conversation. So give us a call at our office.


Getting a DUI can be scary. But I like to let my clients know that, while they may be under stress for a period of time, my services will help carry them through the legal process, and we will get through this together.