No, there is no difference between a DWI and a DUI in Dayton or anywhere else in Ohio. Conversationally, most people use these two terms interchangeably to refer to the criminal offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Ohio legal community, however, refers to this offense as OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs).

What Are the Penalties for DUI (OVI) in Ohio?

Ohio penalties for first-time DUI include:

  • Up to 6 days in jail;
  • Mandatory completion of a Driver Intervention Program for up to 6 months;
  • A fine of up to $1,075;
  • Up to 3 years’ suspension of your driver’s license; and
  • Restricted (yellow) plates while your driving privileges are restricted.

Further offenses within ten years result in progressively more serious penalties. A 4th DUI within ten years is a felony, and the maximum penalty is 42 months in jail. Your driver’s license could be suspended for the rest of your life. These are all maximum penalties, not average penalties, but even average penalties can be quite serious.

Do I Have To Obey the Officer’s Demand to Take a Field Sobriety Test?

No, you do not. All you must do is exit your vehicle if the officer asks you to and display your ID. An example of a field sobriety test would be walking a straight line or reciting the alphabet while skipping the letters “Q” and “W.” 

The purpose of a field sobriety test is to give the officer probable cause to arrest you and give you a breath, blood, or urine test to detect the presence of intoxicants in your bloodstream. Never agree to perform a field sobriety test. 

Are the Rules Any Different for Underage DUI Offenders?

In the context of a DUI charge, the law is stricter on underage drivers (meaning under 21, the legal drinking age in Ohio). The legal BAC for an underage driver is 0.02%, which means that even a single beer could put you over the limit. 

If I Am Involved in an Accident While Intoxicated, Will Ohio Assume That the Accident Was Automatically My Fault?

Not automatically, but if you were intoxicated and you seek to prove that the accident was not your fault, you face an uphill battle. Even if you were intoxicated, Ohio has to prove that your intoxication caused the accident. 

You might win your case if, for example, CCTV footage shows another (sober) driver engaging in such outrageous driving behavior that it would have caused an accident even if you had been sober. You would still face a DUI charge, however.

What Are Some Common DUI Defenses in Ohio?

Following are a few examples of DUI defenses that Ohio DUI lawyers commonly use to get their clients’ charges dismissed or plea bargained down to a lesser offense:

  • You were stopped at a racially discriminatory DUI checkpoint.
  • The officer had no probable cause to pull you over in the first place (you were not driving erratically, for example).
  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below the legal limit (0.08%) while you were driving but rose above that level after the police pulled you over. 
  • The officer improperly administered the breath, blood, or urine test that was used against you, or the machine was defective.
  • You didn’t have physical control of the vehicle (you were asleep in the back seat when the police approached you, for example).

Ohio DUI cases are highly fact-dependent, which generates dozens of commonly used DUI defenses.

Start Looking for a Lawyer Immediately

The Ohio criminal justice system will “chew you up and spit you out” if you try to face it without the aid of an experienced Ohio DUI lawyer. Find a lawyer with a strong track record at trial and negotiating plea bargains. Your freedom could depend on it.

Contact the Dayton DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today

For more information, contact the DUI attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (937) 531-0435 or visit us at our Dayton law office.

Suhre & Associates, LLC – Dayton
130 West Second Street, #310
Dayton, OH 45402
United States