The State of Ohio takes drunk driving very seriously. The charge is legally known as Operating Vehicle Under the Influence, or OVI. It is also frequently referred to as Driving Under the Influence, or DUI. An OVI will stay on your record for many years unless it is expunged.

The Blood Alcohol Content(BAC) Limits in the state of Ohio

Adults over 21 0.08% BAC
Commercial driver 0.04% BAC
Underage driver 0.02% BAC
Additional penalties 0.17% BAC

According to 2019 Ohio DUI Laws, if your blood or urine test returns with proof that you were under the influence of marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, heroin, PCP or methamphetamine, you will be charged with OVI. Penalties might increase if you are convicted with both alcohol and illegal drugs in your system. When it comes to driving under the influence of drugs, the State of Ohio shows little leniency.

Ohio is an implied consent state which means that just being behind the wheel implies that you will consent to BAC testing if you are pulled over. If you refuse chemical testing, either blood, urine, or breathalyzer, your penalties will increase. Your driver’s license will be suspended for a full year for first refusal, in addition to the court-ordered and administrative suspensions.

The State of Ohio has a ten-year “washout period”. This means that beginning from the day of your arrest on your first offense if you are arrested for OVI again within that ten-year period, your penalties will be substantially increased. Even charges from another state will fall into this period.

OVI Legal Representation

You may be wondering how to get out of an OVI in Ohio. While we can’t guarantee we can get you out of it, we can help guide you through the process of OVI/DUI protecting your rights throughout.

Navigating the legal system with an OVI/ DUI case can be daunting at best. While you will need to retain an attorney as quickly as possible, you will also need to make sure that you have retained the attorney who will be the best fit for your needs.

The charge of OVI/ DUI is a criminal charge. It is a costly charge. There will be fines, suspensions, and a lot of costs that you won’t be expecting. These costs will continue beyond the case as your insurance rates will go up.

It is important that you retain a lawyer with extensive OVI experience to protect both your rights and your driving privileges. An experienced lawyer will offer full-service care. Your case will be thoroughly investigated. We safeguard your interests and protect your rights by including the following services:

  • Determine if there was probable cause that led to your arrest.
  • Check the field sobriety and BAC test to make sure that they were carried out within the limits of the law.
  • Help with Administrative License Suspension
  • Pursuing Enrollment in Driver Intervention program
  • Negotiating alternative sentencing and community service
  • Pursue lighter sentencing

If your charges are in the Northeast Ohio cities of Ravenna or Kent, an experienced OVI attorney is ready to advise you.

First Offense OVI

An Ohio OVI first offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. Mandatory penalties include a minimum of three days in jail, a driver intervention program, extensive fines that range from $375 to $1,075, and your license will be suspended for up to three years.

An OVI/ DUI first offense carries heavy penalties. The court process can be confusing to those not familiar with it. You have a constitutional right to have legal representation at every step of the legal process, and you should take advantage of that. Retain a lawyer at your earliest convenience to ensure that you are treated fairly. Your lawyer will accompany you through every step of the process, beginning with your arraignment.

Multiple Offenses

With multiple OVI Ohio offenses, you are looking at stricter penalties which can have a greater impact on your life. Multiple offenses bring a higher risk so it is important that you have an experienced OVI attorney by your side.

Each OVI you face is accompanied by increasing degrees of offense, increased fines, and even increased jail time. By your 4th or 5th offense in 10 years or 6th in 20 years, you are even looking at felony convictions and prison time. An experienced OVI attorney will be aware of these consequences and be able to guide you through the process with your best interests in mind.

Arraignment

civil-litigationWhen you were arrested, you received a ticket. That ticket will show all charges against you. It will also give you your date of arraignment, which is usually 5 business days from the date of your arrest. You cannot miss any of your court dates.

Independent of the court process, you will also be required to serve Administrative License Suspension (ALS). This means that your license will be suspended for a specific amount of time no matter what. When you attend your first court date as listed on your ticket, you will receive an ALS report.

Your license was officially confiscated when you were arrested. You will need to serve your ALS, but this is the time where a lawyer can guide you and help you fight for your license. It is during your arraignment that you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

If you do choose to plead not guilty, your plea can be changed later if circumstances or your attorney advises you to. Your experienced OVI attorney can provide you with the best guidance according to the details of your individual case.

Pre-Trial Hearing

When a not guilty plea is entered, you will then be called back to court for a pre-trial hearing. At this court date, your attorney will be able to obtain all of the evidence from your OVI/DUI arrest. This evidence will include a copy of your police reports, any witness statements, chemical test reports, alcohol influence, and any video recordings that may exist.

Based upon this evidence, your attorney will most likely file motions to suppress some of this evidence. This is where your attorney questions the legalities of your field sobriety testing, chemical testing, and any statements you might have made while you were under arrest.

This will also be when your OVI/ DUI attorney will discuss your case with the prosecuting attorney. The prosecution will most likely offer a plea bargain in order to resolve your case quickly and avoid trial. Your attorney will be there to advocate for you and advise you whether or not to take any offered plea bargains. Your attorney’s effective negotiations might even lead to a lesser sentence or even a dismissal.

Motions Hearing

If you are unable to resolve your case at the Pre-Trial hearing, a Motions hearing will be scheduled. The Motions Hearing is where your attorney will be able to question witnesses, the arresting officer, and anyone else involved in the process.

Your attorney will have the opportunity to prove that the officer lacked probable cause or that he or she failed to administer any field sobriety in the proper fashion. If field sobriety testing is questioned, the arresting officer may not be allowed to testify against you.

The Motions hearing is also when negotiations continue as to the disposition of your case. A different plea deal may be offered during the Motions Hearing. Many cases are resolved during the Motions hearing.

The OVI/DUI Trial

If your case has not yet been resolved, your trial will be scheduled. You have the right to have your case heard at trial. If charged with a crime that would send you to jail, you would have the right to trial by jury.

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. Your innocence will not need to be proven. It is not a good idea to go to trial without an attorney. Your attorney will be accustomed to many courts and will be able to provide you with your best defense.

At the end of the trial, you will be found either guilty, not guilty, or the case could be dismissed by the judge.

Sentencing Hearing

If you are found guilty of either OVI/ DUI or a lesser offense, you will need to appear at a sentencing hearing. During this hearing, the prosecution will present their case, your attorney will respond, and you will be asked to testify as well. It is in your best interest that you have your attorney there to speak on your behalf.

The judge has a great deal of discretion as to the penalties he or she chooses to impose. For a first offense, you will need to serve a mandatory jail sentence. The amount of time on an OVI Ohio first offense ranges from a minimum of three days to a maximum of six months. Your license suspension can range from six months to three years.

Your attorney will present to the judge the reasons why leniency should be granted in your case. You will need to have an experienced OVI attorney presenting your case for sentencing.

Conclusion

Due to the many intricacies in an OVI Ohio first offense case, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney experienced in trying cases in the Ravenna, Kent, and Portage County areas on your side. It is best to not drink and drive in the first place, but if you do and you are caught, it is beneficial to have an attorney guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf throughout. For more detailed information on Ohio OVI & Dui Laws, click here.

If you have been charged with an OVI and want an experienced attorney contact us at our offices or by email.

    The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.