Defense Checklist for Aggravated Vehicular Homicide or Assault


Defending a person charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (AVH) or Aggravated Vehicular Assault (AVA) is very time consuming and will be expensive. However, relative to what the client is facing in terms of prison and multi-year license suspension, a premium legal fee is most likely going to be the best investment a person can make in their lifetime if charged with this offense.

We are asked to represent many people each year charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide and/or Aggravated Vehicular Assault. We work these cases up extensively prior to each and every court date.

Below is a very brief illustration of what is involved in properly representing and defending a person charged with AVH or AVA.

Bail - review conditions with the client and educate client on how to stay in compliance with bond condition. Bail is always subject to review and revocation

Arraignment - We will always enter a Not Guilty plea. Most courts require the defendant to sign a Waiver of Extradition. The client will need to be photographed and fingerprinted.

Defenses to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide / Assault - there are no defenses. Ohio law does not recognize any affirmative defenses that would fully exonerate an accused.

Court Process: We will familiarize our client with the judge, prosecutor, and learn as much as we can about the victim(s) and the family of the victim(s). Personalizing the key people involved in a client's case helps reduce anxiety.

Elements to AVH / AVA w/DUI Specification

As the "proximate result of committing DUI"

While operating

Motor vehicle


Death / Serious physical harm

To another person

County, Ohio


AVH: 2-10 years prison per count
AVA: 1-5 years prison per count

This offense is not probation eligible - mandatory prison term

License suspension is up to lifetime for AVH and 2-10 years for AVA

Elements to AVH / AVA w/Reckless Specification

As a "proximate result" of committing a reckless operation offense


While operating

Motor vehicle


Death / Serious physical harm to another person


AVH: 1-5 years prison

AVA6-18 months prison

No mandatory prison term


Thorough Interview & Study of the Client

Past record

Work record



General reputation

Mental conditions, if any, past and present

Letter Writing Campaign

Alcohol Assessment and follow up

Review Indictment / Legal Sufficiency of Indictment

Review and Challenge Legality of Arrest / Detention

Identify and Interview any other witnesses from scene

Maintain Conditions of Bail Release

Attempt to Interview Victims

Interview Police Officers

Interview Phlebotomist, Lab Tech, Analyst

Prepare & File:

Defendant's Demand for Discovery

Defendant's Motion for Disclosure of Favorable Evidence

Defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements

Defendant's Motion to Suppress Blood Sample / Breath / Urine

Defendant's Motion for Independent Tests

Motion for Jury Instruction on "Proximate Result"

Motion for Lesser Included Offenses

Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Prior Convictions

Retaining Expert / Toxicologist

Retaining Accident Reconstruction Engineer

Retaining Computer Animation (CAD)

View Scene

Photos of Scene

Develop Alternative Theory / Reasonable Doubt

Post - Trial Work:

Sentencing Mitigation Preparation

Sentencing Mitigation Memorandum

Sentencing Hearing & Presentation

Eligibility for Community Control

Judicial Release eligibility

Motion for J.R.

Hearing on Motion for J.R.

Civil Lawsuit - Koffel Brininger Nesbitt does not provide representation for civil cases. A referral to a civil litigation attorney will be made.