If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) in Montgomery County, you may face very serious punishments. Common penalties for DUI offenses include fines, jail time, prison time, the loss of your driver’s license, and a permanent criminal record.
From the moment you are pulled over, law enforcement officers will work hard to ensure your charge turns into a conviction. A conviction guarantees you will face one of the punishments listed above. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney is the best thing you can do to fight back, protect your rights, and potentially have your case dismissed.
The knowledgeable DUI lawyers here at Suhre & Associates have a strong track record of achieving positive outcomes for our clients who have been charged with DUI. We would love to use our years of experience to help you with your case as well. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, give our law office a call at (937) 617-0526.
Defining Driving Under the Influence in Dayton, Ohio
The state of Ohio broadly defines the crimes of driving under the influence (DUI) and operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) as having actual physical control of a motor vehicle while above the legal alcohol limit.
Actual Physical Control
Before you can be charged with a DUI or OVI, the state must first determine if you were in actual physical control of the vehicle. To make this call, law enforcement officers consider a wide variety of factors, such as whether:
- The vehicle’s engine is currently running
- The vehicle’s hood is warm – indicating that the engine was recently running
- The keys are currently in the ignition
- The keys could easily be put into the ignition
- The car was in a drivable condition
- You are currently sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle
If any individual factor goes against you, it is likely that the police will conclude that you were in control of the car.
Legal Alcohol Limits
The legal alcohol limit in the state of Ohio varies based on age and whether or not the arrestee is a commercial driver. For individuals under the age of 21, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% is enough to be charged with a DUI or OVI. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%, while regular adult drivers have a 0.08% BAC limit.
The 0.08% BAC limit is typically regarded as being the equivalent of having about one or two drinks over the course of an evening. However, you should be aware that other factors will impact the total number of drinks that you can have before going over the legal limit. These factors include your size, how much food you have eaten, and how long it has been since you drank any alcohol.
It is generally a good idea to let someone else drive if you have had anything to drink within the last several hours – to be on the safe side.
Alcohol is not the only substance that can land you with a DUI or OVI. The state of Ohio also allows law enforcement officials to charge you with these crimes if you have been found to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance such as:
- Cocaine, or
It’s also possible to face DUI charges if you drive after taking prescription medication. If your medicine affects your ability to drive, don’t get behind the wheel.
Understanding the Ohio DUI Testing Process
When you drive a vehicle on Ohio roadways, you provide the state with implied consent to be tested for driving under the influence. This means that if you are pulled over on suspicion of committing a DUI/OVI offense, you must submit to a breath, blood, or urine test. Refusal to submit to these tests can result in the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.
Depending on the preferences of the police officer who pulled you over, you may also be asked to submit to field sobriety testing. If so, you are free to refuse this test without fear of having your license suspended.
What to Do if You Are Pulled Over on Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence
Avoiding a DUI/OVI charge starts with being smart when you are pulled over. Remaining silent under questioning and immediately requesting a criminal defense attorney is usually your best option. A DUI/OVI charge is not one that you are going to be able to talk your way out of.
There is also a chance that the police will ask you to provide a written statement of the events which led to your traffic stop. Again, it is vital that you do not write or sign this document until after you have spoken with an experienced Dayton DUI defense attorney. They will be able to provide you with the advice and guidance you need to prepare a statement that will not later interfere with your DUI defense.
Common DUI/OVI Charges in Ohio
A listing of the most common DUI/OVI offenses in the state of Ohio includes:
First, Second, and Third DUI/OVI
Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code states that any person who operates or drives a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can be charged with DUI/OVI. If further offenses occur within ten years of the original charge, a second OVI and third OVI conviction can be handed down. First and second OVIs are generally punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor. A third OVI offense is an unclassified misdemeanor.
Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code further explains that an individual who is charged with a fourth OVI within six years or a fifth DUI within 20 years will face a felony OVI conviction. As a general rule, this offense is usually classified as a fourth-degree felony.
Aggravated Vehicular Assault
According to section 2903.08 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person who causes serious physical harm to another individual while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be charged with aggravated vehicular assault. This crime usually leads to a second or third-degree felony conviction.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
Per section 2903.06 of the Ohio Revised Code, any person who causes the death of another individual while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is eligible to be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. First or second-degree felony convictions are usually handed down for this offense.
Potential Defenses to Your DUI/OVI Charge
No matter which specific DUI/OVI charge you are facing, you will no doubt be eager to launch a strong defense, with the goal of reducing or dismissing your charges.
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys often use the following defenses in their DUI cases:
As part of your DUI defense, our attorneys may argue that your blood, breath, or urine test was not correctly administered or was not properly calibrated. They may also claim that the test was tainted or the results were inconclusive. If we can successfully have your chemical test thrown out, the prosecution’s case can quickly fall apart. As a result, your case might be dismissed in short order.
Depending on the specifics of your case, our DUI defense lawyers will argue that law enforcement did not have probable cause to pull you over. If we can show that the stop was illegal, then the evidence which was gathered after you were pulled over will be inadmissible in court – effectively dismissing your charges entirely.
Failure to Read Miranda Warning
When you are arrested, law enforcement officers are obligated to read you the Miranda Warning. If they fail to do so, our attorneys may be able to argue that your charges should be dismissed because your constitutional rights were violated.
When conducting a traffic stop, police officers must follow a precise list of rules and procedures. If your arresting officer does not correctly follow the procedures as they are laid out, we can argue that your arrest was unlawful. If their argument is successful, your charges are likely to be dismissed.
If you have diabetes, you may also suffer from a side-effect known as ketosis – which involves the fermentation of glucose in the liver. This fermentation process can cause your breath to smell like alcohol. It may even cause you to register as being over the legal limit on a standard breathalyzer test. Your criminal defense lawyer will be able to bring your medical condition to the prosecution’s attention and may be able to have your charges summarily dismissed.
Contact Suhre & Associates for Help with Your DUI Case
The attorneys at Suhre & Associates are familiar with the variety of defenses and strategies which are useful in DUI cases. In addition to helping you coordinate an alcohol and drug assessment, we can advise you of other options that may help reduce or eliminate your charges.
If you are being charged with a DUI in Dayton, call Suhre & Associates to discuss the best defense strategy.