If you’re facing alcohol or drug-related traffic charges in Ohio, such as operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI), you could be dealing with serious, long-term consequences. That’s why choosing an OVI defense attorney in Ohio is critical for your future. Consulting with an experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer will help you understand your legal options and protect your legal rights.
Understanding Ohio DUI/OVI Laws
Before you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney, it’s helpful to understand Ohio law pertaining to DUI/OVI crimes. Ohio uses slightly different terminology from other states regarding traffic violations caused by alcohol and substance abuse. In Ohio, an OVI stands for operating a vehicle under the influence. Ohio defines OVIs as:
- Driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or beyond or a urine alcohol concentration of 0.1% or higher.
- Driving with a particular specification of certain kinds of controlled substances in the body.
- Driving while under the influence of any two or more controlled substances or alcohol items.
A violation centered on a controlled substance limit or blood alcohol content (BAC) is referred to in Ohio as a per se OVI. Ohio law bases it on how many nanograms per milliliter of blood contain the item, for example, heroin, cocaine, or amphetamines. The penalties for Ohio OVI depend on whether or not this is the first, second, or third offense within ten years.
- For a first offense, jail time is from three days up to a max of six months, fines of between $375 and $1075, plus a driver’s license suspension of between one and three years.
- For a second offense, jail time between ten days and six months, fines between $525 and $1625, and license suspension between one and seven years.
- For a third offense, jail time between 30 days and one year, fines between $850 and $2750, and license suspension for between two and 12 years.
Furthermore, aggravated OVI laws can enhance the penalties associated with having a blood alcohol content of at least 0.17%.
For the first offense of this type, the driver must serve a minimum of three days of jail time and complete three days of a driver’s intervention program. A second aggravated offense carries a minimum of 20 days of jail time or ten days of jail and at least 36 days spent in house arrest. A third aggravated offense comes with an automatic 60 days of jail time or 30 days of jail time and 110 days of required house arrest.
A judge can also require substance abuse treatment as part of the sentencing for an OVI. Additionally, the court can suspend a driver administratively when arrested for an OVI. It is essential to understand your rights and retain a criminal lawyer who has experience with OVI charges.
If The Police Stop Me for an OVI/DUI in Ohio, What Can I Expect?
If the police pull you over, you could expect them to ask you questions about your recent whereabouts and propose that you take a test to determine whether or not you are indeed under the influence. There are three standardized OVI tests in Ohio: The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn, and The One-Legged Stand. In the first test, the police check for involuntary jerking movements of the eye that can occur when someone is intoxicated. The problem? Multiple factors can cause these jerking movements, and most of them are unrelated to alcohol.
Furthermore, an officer rarely administers this test correctly. Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter is certified in this area, having completed the same three-day course the police enroll in to learn how to do it right. Yet, in many instances, the officers do not perform the test as intended.
In a walk-and-turn, the police will ask you to walk a line, and in the one-legged stand, they will tell you to stand on one leg for thirty seconds. These techniques involve many more technical elements, requiring the officers to learn how to do them over an entire weekend or three days of training, and practice them afterward.
During these circumstances, it is crucial to remain calm and exercise your rights. Be sure to obtain legal representation immediately.
The Police Arrested Me for an OVI/DUI. Now What?
Exercise your right to remain silent and contact an attorney right away. The officers might try to convince you that it’s in your best interest to communicate with them about what happened, but remember that this information can only be used against you. For that reason, you need a lawyer at your side as quickly as possible to avoid making unnecessary mistakes.
If they try to press you to make a statement or admit guilt, remain strong and ask for your lawyer without addressing any of their other questions.
While the facts of the situation are fresh in your mind, contact an experienced Ohio criminal lawyer who can guide you through what to expect as you fight back against these OVI consequences. The support of an attorney can be instrumental in helping you navigate through your case and understand the implications for your future.
What Qualities Should I Look for In an Ohio OVI/DUI Attorney?
Your attorney should have extensive experience handling these types of cases and be willing to step up to bat to fight for your freedom. Given the significant consequences of an OVI conviction, find someone who has years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer. Ideally, your criminal lawyer will also have experience as a prosecutor and be familiar with the implications of the prosecution’s strategy. If you must go to trial because you cannot resolve things with the prosecution, you’ll want a proficient Ohio OVI lawyer representing you.
Contact The Bangerter Law Office in Willoughby, Ohio
As a former prosecutor, your Ohio criminal defense attorney, Matthew C. Bangerter, at The Bangerter Law Office brings extensive experience in OVI defense and knowledge of the strategies employed by the prosecution team. What does this mean for you and your OVI case? You can work directly with your lawyer to develop a comprehensive criminal defense strategy with your best interests in mind. If you’re dealing with an OVI, don’t wait to get help. Contact The Bangerter Law Office here or call (440) 409-7898 to schedule a consultation.
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.