Bankruptcy and drunk driving or OVI as it is known in Ohio has a connection. If you are OVI and cause bodily injuries, the damages for those injuries are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Sure, the damages for the property damage part of the claim can be discharged. This has been the case for a long time. It was not added by the 2005 law change.
If you are charged with OVI in Ohio and there was any kind of accident you need to fight the charge. Back when I was in a personal injury firm we had a saying, “you never know how badly you are hurt until you talk to a lawyer.” Even if the police report says there are no injuries that could change. If you are uninsured or inadequately insured, you could be forced into a life of debt which bankruptcy will not help if you are convicted of OVI related to that accident.
One day each week in every municipal court in Ohio there is a traffic arraignment docket. In Elyria that day is Tuesday. On traffic day scores of people come to court and plead no contest to OVI for no other reasons than they either don’t want to spend the money for a good attorney, or are resigned to the fact there is nothing that can be done. At a minimum, they should consult with a competent OVI attorney to confirm the truth of those assumptions.
Before practicing to bankruptcy law I was a criminal defense attorney with an emphasis on drunk driving defense. I can tell you this, no matter how bad you think the case is, there are always problems which the prosecutor hopes your attorney is not good enough to spot. Every prosecutor has a legal obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence. This is evidence, which would be favorable to the defense. In practice it rarely happens, and it will never happen if you just go to court and plead out to “get it over with”. I know because at one time I was that prosecutor.
In the next article I am going to relate the facts of a case I very recently concluded defending a young woman for what appeared to be an open and shut OVI case for the State of Ohio. The city prosecutor turned over a video of the arrest that turned out to make all the difference for this woman.
It is a prime example that if you fight your OVI you can win. When you fight and win then if the OVI involved injuries discharge in bankruptcy becomes an option for your financial future.