The state of Ohio refers to the drunk driving charge commonly known as DUI or DWI in other states, as OVI or OVWI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated). If you are facing a charge of OVI, this is probably your first time and you have no idea what to do or expect next. The Ohio legislature continues to pass new OVI laws while strengthening the existing ones . This has made for a complicated web of legalese that almost no lay person can understand without the help of a qualified local OVI / DUI attorney. In Ohio, there are two laws that address OVI / DUI. The first law states that you can be arrested if the officer determines that you are not able to safely operate your vehicle. This law has nothing to do with the alcohol content of your blood. Det.ermination will be made from alcohol on breath, field sobriety tests or erratic driving. No chemical tests need be involved for this type of arrest. The other law is a “per se” law which states that you may not operate a vehicle while you have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or more. This law has nothing to do with any observations of your driving. It is dependent upon a breath or chemical test only.
Once you are arrested, you will be presented with two different legal cases which will be handled simultaneously. One is a criminal court case which will deal with jail time, punitive fines and court fees, and any remedial alcohol education programs. The second case is an administrative fee managed by the BMV. They will address the suspension of your license, any limited driving license applications, reinstatement of your license, and points applied to your license. The two cases are not directly related and they both have penalties that may overlap, for instance, the court case may suspend your license for 6 months, but the BMV may suspend it for a full year because of a refusal to take a breath test. Both apply, and will run concurrently, but obviously the BMV case will keep you out of the driver’s seat longer, as described here.
Because the laws are so complex, the legal defense of DUI has evolved into a specified area of practice, with a special Board Certification afforded by the American Bar Association. An experienced local OVI / DUI attorney can navigate the laws for you because they stay aware of the changes in laws, as well as the best legal and scientific ways to defend against them. It is strongly recommended that you do not attempt to go to court without proper legal representation from a DUI attorney. Don’t take a chance on losing your freedom or your right to drive. Contact a qualified local Ohio OVI attorney today for a free consultation.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be removed or reduced significantly with the assistance of a local Ohio DUI / OVI attorney.
• Incarceration – 3 days up to 6 months; driver intervention program possible instead of 3 days jail
• Fines – $375 to $1,075
• License Suspension – 6 months to 3 years, with limited driving rights after 15 days possible; $475 reinstatement fee
• Ignition Interlock Device and/or Restricted plates – at option of the court
• Insurance – SR22 policy required for 3 years
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
• Bail – set by the court, required before being released after being arrested
• Towing and Impound – may be impounded . Towing fee approximately $100 plus daily storage fees and impound fee also apply
• Insurance –As a designated “high risk” driver, your insurance company will raise your rates significantly. Expect your insurance rates to double or more for several years.
• Record – DUI conviction will remain on driving record permanently
• Employment – offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
• Immigration and travel – restrictions can apply with certain convictions
• Vehicle – possible vehicle seizure and forfeiture
Additional offenses will bring significantly higher penalties, up to 5 years in prison and 10,500 in fines. Don’t take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified local DUI attorney right away for a FREE CONSULTATION on your case. Your case CAN be won with the right representation.