Driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) in Ohio is a serious offense with far-reaching consequences.
It can lead to severe legal punishment, including imprisonment, suspension or revocation of driving privileges, fines, and community service. It is essential to understand Ohio DUI and OVI laws, penalties, administrative consequences, and possible defenses if you or someone you know is facing these charges.
In this blog, AJLJ Law attorneys talk about DUI/OVI penalties and how our Cleveland DUI/OVI lawyers help you navigate the justice system and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
Ohio and Cleveland DUI/OVI Penalties and Laws
In Ohio, DUI and OVI are terms used interchangeably to refer to impaired driving. Ohio laws set strict rules and harsh penalties for OVI offenses. The Ohio Revised Code 4511.19 defines OVI as operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs (legal or illegal), alcohol, or both. If your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher, you are considered impaired for purposes of the law.
Your conviction’s severity and extent will depend on the number of offenses, BAC level, and other circumstances. The court also decides whether this is your first charge within ten years and also whether you failed or refused the chemical test.
Even a first-time DUI/OVI offense in Ohio can result in significant mandatory penalties. If convicted, you face a minimum of three days in jail up to a maximum jail term of six months up to five years of probation. Additionally, your license will be suspended for at least one year, and you will be required to pay a license reinstatement fee of $475.
In some cases, installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle may be necessary or being required to have a special license plate on your car.
High-level offenses involving a blood alcohol content of .17% or higher in Ohio warrant more severe consequences. These include a minimum jail sentence of six days and a license suspension of one to three years, in addition to the ignition interlock and special license plates being mandatory.
In the event of a second conviction within ten years, the penalties for DUI/ OVI offenses significantly escalate. Such penalties may encompass a minimum jail sentence of 10 days, hefty fines, a license suspension ranging from 1 to 7 years, and a 90-day immobilization of your vehicle.
Moreover, when the second OVI offense is categorized as a high-level offense, the penalties become even more onerous, resulting in a minimum jail sentence of 20 days.
Ohio has an administrative license suspension system that imposes additional penalties for OVI suspects before a conviction or plea bargain. Suppose an officer arrests a suspect with a BAC level of 0.08% or more. In that case, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will impose an administrative license suspension (ALS) of ninety days to three years, depending on the case.
Those who refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test will face an automatic one-year suspension and a 30-day waiting period before applying for driving privileges. Obtaining counsel who will aggressively and quickly fight the administrative license suspension is key.
Facing DUI/OVI charges can be daunting, but there are defenses that experienced Cleveland DUI attorneys can use to protect your rights. For example, if the police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop you or investigate you for OVI, or when there are grounds to challenge the accuracy of field sobriety tests. Breathalyzer results can also be disputed if there were calibration or maintenance issues. Our attorneys have won these challenges across northeast Ohio.
Get Aggressive Representation in Cleveland
Don’t let a DUI or OVI charge alter the course of your life forever. AJLJ Attorneys can help you understand your rights, build a strong defense, and potentially reduce or dismiss your charges. Remember, knowledge and the right legal representation can make all the difference in the outcome of your DUI/OVI case.
Contact us today, and we will make every effort to fight for you every step of the way.