DUI / OVI Defense Attorney

Drunk Driving/OVI/DUI

  • First OVI is a misdemeanor of the first degree under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, and occurs if someone operates any vehicle, under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination of alcohol and controlled substances, and/or their BAC was over the legal limit of .08%.  The penalties range from 3 days in a State Certified Driver Intervention Program (DIP) to 6 months in Jail; license suspension from 1 to 3 years and fines from $375 to $1075.
  • Second OVI is a misdemeanor of the first degree under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, and occurs if someone has a prior OVI conviction within in the past 10 years and operates any vehicle, under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination of alcohol and controlled substances, and/or their BAC was over the legal limit of .08%. The penalties range from 10 days to 6 months in Jail; license suspension from 1-5 years and fines from $525 to $1,625.
  • Third OVI is a misdemeanor of the first degree under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, and occurs if someone has two prior OVI conviction within in the past 10 years and operates any vehicle, under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination of alcohol and controlled substances, and/or their BAC was over the legal limit of .08%. The penalties range from 30 days to 1 year in Jail; license suspension from 2 to 12 years and fines from $850 to $2,750.
  • Felony OVI occurs if someone has been convicted of three or four previous OVI violations within 10 years of the current OVI charge or five or more OVI convictions within 20 years of the current OVI charge. These offenses are felonies of the fourth degree.  The penalties range from 60 days in Jail to 3 years in Prison; license suspension from 3 years to life and fines from $1,350 to $10,500.
  • Underage OVI is usually a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, and occurs if a person under the age of 21 operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or a combination of both, and has a BAC greater than .02%.  The penalties range from 0 to 30 days in Jail; license suspension from 90 days to 2 years and fines from $0 to $250.
  • Aggravated Vehicular Assault occurs when a person operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC over the legal limit, and causes serious physical harm to another person or unborn baby, and can be a felony of the second or third degree.
  • Aggravated Vehicular Homicide can either be a felony of the first or second degree, and occurs when a person operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC over the legal limit, and causes the death or unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.

Additional Penalties for OVI Convictions in Ohio

Depending on the number of prior OVI convictions an offender has, whether an OVI involved death or serious bodily injury, and the level of the person’s OVI at the time of arrest will determine the potential punishments for an OVI conviction. Penalties for OVI convictions can include:

  • Placement of an interlock device on the offender’s vehicle
  • Drivers’ Intervention Program
  • Yellow OVI Plates
  • Alcohol monitoring system
  • Alcohol and drug treatment programs
  • Vehicle Immobilization or Forfeiture
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation
  • Court costs and program fees.

Administrative License Suspension (ALS)

If you have refused any chemical testing for an OVI in Ohio or have tested above the legal limit, your license will automatically be suspended, also known as an administrative license suspension. An ALS will also occur if a driver tests above the legal limit. This suspension is different from a license suspension after an OVI conviction. An ALS is civil in nature as opposed to a suspension upon an OVI conviction which is considered a criminal penalty.

What to Do if You’re Arrested for OVI in Ohio

If you are pulled over for suspicion of OVI, it is likely you will be arrested. In order to reduce the consequences you may face when arrested for OVI, it is important to:

Ask to have your attorney present before speaking about or disclosing anything (other than you license, registration, and proof of insurance) to the arresting officer. The police will probably not wait for your attorney to arrive before proceeding with their investigation and arrest. You have a Constitutional Right not to answer any of the arresting officers questions regarding where you were coming from or going, whether you were drinking or not, how much you may or may not have had to drink, etc.

Additionally, you are under no obligation to perform field sobriety tests such as checking the eyes, walking a straight line, or standing on one foot. There is no statutory penalty for refusing these subjective and sometimes unreliable tests.

Defenses to an OVI in Ohio

Some defenses to OVI charges in Ohio will come from faulty chemical testing. For example, erroneous results from blood, breath or urine tests can appear if the tests were administered improperly, the tests were inconclusive, the tests were tainted from outside factors, or if the breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated.

Other defenses can include violations of your Constitutional Rights.

It is important to talk to your attorney about the defenses that may be applicable to your particular case because the facts and details of each OVI charge are different in every situation.

Contact the Law Office of Walter Benson today for a free consultation about your OVI charges in Ohio. Walter Benson is an experienced OVI defense attorney and will answer any further you questions you may have that are applicable in your particular case. Call the Law Office of Walter Benson (330) 258-1384 for a consultation about your OVI charges in Summit County and surrounding counties, including Stark County, Portage County, and Medina County.

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