September 8, 2022 | DUI
In the state’s revised code, driving under the influence (DUI) is referred to as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI). According to Ohio Revised Code §4511.19, no one shall operate any vehicle if they are:
- Under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of the two substances; OR,
- Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit.
If you are convicted of DUI in Ohio, you can face severe penalties, even for a first-offense misdemeanor DUI charge.
What Are the Penalties for an Ohio First-Offense Misdemeanor DUI?
Many people assume because the DUI charge is a misdemeanor instead of a felony, they do not need to worry about jail time or other severe penalties. Therefore, they do not need to worry about hiring a Dayton DUI lawyer to defend them against the charges.
Unfortunately, they realize too late that a first offense misdemeanor OVI conviction can have severe penalties.
If you plead guilty or you are convicted of a first-offense misdemeanor OVI in Ohio, you could face DUI penalties that include:
- A minimum of three days in county jail or a three-day driver intervention program
- Up to six months in county mail
- Fines of $375 to $1,075
- Mandatory attendance at a Driver’s Intervention Program
- Administrative License Suspension for 90 days for a prohibited BAC level
- Driver’s license suspension for at least six months to three years
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Up to five years of probation
- Mandatory additional three days in jail and restricted license plates if the BAC level is in the high tier (above .170)
Additionally, suppose you refuse to take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content. In that case, you face an administrative driver’s license suspension by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for one year. This suspension of driving privileges is in addition to any court-ordered suspension.
Aggravating factors and your criminal history could also be factors in sentencing in some cases.
The mandatory penalties for a first offense OVI conviction can cause collateral damage for some individuals. Missing time from work for mandatory jail time could result in loss of income or unemployment. If you are required to attend the driver’s intervention program, you must remain at the location for 72 consecutive hours, which means you sleep and eat at the location.
The best way to avoid a DUI conviction is to develop an aggressive defense against the charges. A Dayton DUI defense lawyer can help you determine the types of DUI defenses that might work in your favor.
Common DUI Defenses for a First Time Misdemeanor DUI in Ohio
The shock of being arrested for drunk driving is starting to wear off. Now you might worry about how you can get yourself out of these Criminal charges. The first step is to contact a Dayton DUI defense attorney for a free consultation.
A lawyer investigates the facts and circumstances of your DUI arrest. Then, the attorney analyzes the evidence to develop a strong defense against the OVI charges. Some common DUI defenses used in OVI cases in Dayton include, but are not limited to:
Challenging the Legality of the Traffic Stop and/or DUI Arrest
Police officers must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed or was committed in order to pull you over. They can also pull you over for violating traffic laws. However, they cannot just randomly pull you over without reason.
Likewise, the arresting officer must have probable cause for an arrest. For the arrest to be lawful, the officer must be able to tell the judge what evidence or basis he used to determine that you were breaking the law.
Your lawyer might file a motion to suppress evidence if the officers lacked probable cause or reasonable suspicion. If the judge agrees, they could order the evidence gathered according to an unlawful traffic stop or DUI arrest is inadmissible in court.
Challenging the Validity and Accuracy of Chemical Tests
There are many ways to challenge the results of BAC tests and blood tests. Common defenses can include:
- Rising alcohol levels
- Defective or malfunctioning machines
- Residual mouth alcohol
- Failure to monitor the individual for the required period before testing
- Mistakes made during the collection, testing, and story of samples
- Medical conditions that cause false high BAC levels, such as diabetes, acid reflux, and GERD
- Environmental factors that could impact the accuracy of the test
Your attorney may also argue that the blood draw violated your Fourth Amendment right. If so, the blood test results could be inadmissible in court.
Challenging the Observations and Conclusions of Police Officers
Unless the police officer has a chemical test to prove that your BAC level was above the legal limit, the prosecution must prove you were “driving under the influence” to obtain a guilty verdict. Therefore, your attorney may challenge several aspects of the DUI investigation and the evidence collected, including, but not limited to:
- The reliability of the results of field sobriety tests
- Whether the police officers performed the field sobriety tests correctly
- The accuracy of the police officer’s observations of your alleged “intoxication or impairment”
- Challenging the statements made by eyewitnesses
- Fighting incriminating statement you made before the officers issued the Miranda warning
The facts and circumstances of your case dictate the type of defense your lawyer prepares. The sooner you contact a Dayton DUI lawyer, the quicker the lawyer can begin the investigation to gather evidence proving you were not driving under the influence.