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 - The Koffel Law Firm does not provide representation for civil cases.  A referral to a civil litigation attorney will be made.