Drunk Driving / Operating Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI)
A conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol can lead to serious repercussions and affect your life for a very long time. An OVI can result in fines, community service, probation, license suspension and even jail time. Subsequent OVIs can lead to more severe penalties and can lead to loss of employment and educational opportunities. Therefore, it is extremely important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you understand the process and give you the opportunity to have your case professionally assessed.
Common OVI offenses and issues associated with charges for operating a vehicle under the influence in Ohio can include:
- Administrative License Suspension
- Felony OVI
- First OVI
- Second OVI
- Third OVI
- Underage OVI / OVUAC
- Drugged Driving / OVID
- OVI Breath Test
- OVI Blood and Urine Tests
- Refusal to Submit to OVI Testing
- OVI and Prescription Drugs
Akron/Summit County OVI Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with any OVI offense in Akron, Barberton, Stow or any other jurisdiction in Summit County, or any of the surrounding counties in Ohio, including Portage County, Stark County, Medina County, and Wayne County, contact the Law Office of Walter J. Benson for a free consultation at (330) 258-1384. Walter J. Benson is an experienced criminal defense attorney and is knowledgeable about Ohio’s OVI laws.
Ohio DUI / OVI Information Center
- Ohio’s Legal Limit
- Common OVI Charges
- Penalties for OVI Offenses
- What to do if Arrested for OVI in Ohio
- Defenses to Ohio OVI charges
Ohio’s Legal Limit
The legal limit in Ohio is the maximum amount of alcohol or controlled substance detectable in the blood, breath or urine before a person is charged with an offense for being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Ohio’s limit is .08% per unit volume of alcohol in the offender’s whole blood. This limit can also be measured as .08 of one gram (or 80 milligrams) of alcohol per 210 liters of the person’s breath, or .11 of one gram (or 110 milligrams) of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the driver’s urine. If you are operating a vehicle and your BAC is .08% or higher, you can be charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Ohio.
Further, if a driver has been pulled over for operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, including amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, L.S.D., marijuana, in an amount in excess of the legal limit, as measured by breath or urine, they can be charged with an OVI in Ohio.
If you have a high blood alcohol level of more than or equal to .17%, .17 of breath alcohol level, or .238 of urine alcohol level in Ohio, you can incur greater punishments, including higher fines and longer jail sentences.
Akron/Summit County, Ohio Common OVI Charges
Common OVI offenses, as defined in chapter 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code, can include:
- 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%.
- 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 6 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 mandatory minimum sentences are significantly higher than a first OVI.
- 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 6 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 mandatory minimum sentences are significantly higher than a second OVI.
- Felony OVI occurs if someone has been convicted of three or four previous OVI violations within six years of the current OVI charge or five OVI convictions within 20 years of the current OVI charge. These offenses are felonies of the fourth degree.
- 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%.
- 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.
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:
- Fines ranging from $375 to $20,000
- Jail or prison time from 3 days to 15 years
- 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 fees.
Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
If you have refused any chemical testing for an OVI in Ohio, 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 Akron
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.
Law Office of Walter Benson | Akron OVI FAQ Attorney
Contact the Law Office of Walter Benson today for a free consultation about your OVI charges in Akron, 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.