Let’s face it. No one wants to be charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OVI). However, OVIs happen, and they happen regularly in Ohio. According to data from Ohio’s State Highway Patrol, thousands of drivers are arrested on suspicion of OVIs every year. 

If you are charged, it is essential that you understand what the penalties for a DUI entail as well as any defenses that might be available. Continue reading this blog post for more information.

Understanding Ohio OVI Laws 

According to the Ohio OVI statute, it is illegal for anybody to drive or try to drive a motor vehicle when intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or any combination of these with a blood alcohol content level of .08% or above. If the police stop you on suspicion of an OVI, they will first inquire whether you have consumed any alcohol before requesting that you complete some field sobriety tests. You are free to decline field sobriety tests; it is not necessary by law that you consent.

However, the implied consent rule in Ohio mandates that you submit to a chemical test. The arresting officer must ask you again if you will submit to a chemical test after informing you of the consequences for refusing the test the first time. If you fail the chemical test, you will be charged with an OVI.

The most serious categorization of offenses in Ohio is a felony, which carries a substantial penalty if you are found guilty. Along with a permanent criminal record, a conviction may negatively impact your social, professional, and financial well-being.

A felony can prevent you from exercising rights that most citizens take for granted, including the right to vote or run for office. It can even prevent you from receiving government assistance. 

What Makes an OVI a Felony in Ohio?

In Ohio, an OVI is considered a felony if you receive four convictions within ten years or six convictions within twenty years. Any subsequent OVI convictions are considered felonies once you have been found guilty of felony OVI. 

The number of past OVI convictions is what qualifies an OVI as a felony, according to Ohio law. OVIs that have occurred recently are counted, and the severity of punishment rises with the number of prior convictions

Understanding the Penalties for a Felony OVI in Ohio

With each subsequent OVI conviction, the severity of punishments increases. A first conviction can lead to a license suspension from one to seven years. If you are found guilty, you could be subject to drug or alcohol counseling and treatment sessions, yellow license plates to indicate your restricted driving status, an ignition interlock device, a 90-day immobilization period, and fines.

For a second offense, you face a minimum of 120 days in jail and could spend up to five years behind bars. Further, your license will be suspended from one to seven years.

If a person is found guilty of an OVI four times within six years and already has three OVIs convictions, he or she faces a fourth-degree felony. The following are possible consequences for this type of conviction:

  • 18 months or more in jail
  • $5,000 maximum fine
  • Court-imposed license suspension that ranges from a three-year administrative hiatus to a lifetime suspension
  • Required sessions for drug or alcohol counseling and treatment. 
  • Vehicle forfeiture 
  • House arrest
  • Required “yellow” DUI plates
  • Mandatory 30-day jail term (on top of another jail sentence, if applicable)
  • Installation of an interlocking ignition device

The penalties for felony OVI will depend in large part on your criminal history, including past OVI convictions. Some of the penalties described above are on the higher end of the spectrum, but the consequences can be significant for even a first-time felony OVI conviction.

What Defenses Are Available Against a DUI Charge?

Defense strategies vary because every case is different. Typical OVI defenses include:

  • Submitting “Stop Motions” to argue that the traffic stop lacked probable cause 
  • Filing requests to nullify Breathalyzer™ and blood test results
  • Claiming that the police violated your Miranda rights
  • Questioning the validity of field sobriety testing

A skilled criminal defense attorney will select the best defense(s) for your situation.

An OVI Defense Attorney Can Help

You must take all steps necessary to avoid being found guilty in a DUI/OVI case because of the debilitating stigma of a criminal conviction, not to mention the penalties and consequences described above. You may want to speak with an OVI lawyer who can communicate the essential details of the case while also creating a defense strategy that puts you in a position to contest the prosecution’s case.

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