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When people are stopped by an officer on suspicion of drunk driving, they usually have countless questions about their rights and what may result. As dedicated Cleveland DUI lawyers, we have assisted countless individuals with the DUI / OVI case process in an efficient and responsive manner. If this is your first DUI / OVI, you may be concerned about whether you will still be able to drive your vehicle to and from work, to doctor’s appointments, or for childcare purposes. You may also have questions about the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ role in the proceedings. With clients throughout Akron and Cuyahoga County, we have substantial experience in drunk driving defense matters and offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and how we may be able to assist you.Why Administrative Suspensions Matter
In addition to the criminal charges you can face as part of the DUI / OVI case process, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has the authority to suspend your license. According to Ohio law, you can face charges for drunk driving, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI), if testing shows your blood alcohol content to be 0.08 percent or above. Even if your criminal court case is resolved, there are still steps you need to take at the BMV in order to have your driving privileges reinstated, such as paying fines. Also, you will have points assessed to your driving record, which may impact your auto insurance rates. If you accumulate a certain number of points, you may face additional penalties and lose your driving privileges for an additional period of time.Differences Between Criminal and Administrative Proceedings
There are a few key differences between the criminal proceeding and the administrative proceeding in an Ohio drunk driving case, which a skilled DUI / OVI attorney can help you navigate. The primary difference involves the penalties that you face in each proceeding. If you are convicted of drunk driving in criminal court, you face a first-degree misdemeanor and up to $1,000 in fines. The judge can also impose a jail sentence of up to 180 days. Other sentencing options include mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, community service, probation, and drug rehabilitation programs. According to the BMV’s rules, your license will be suspended for 90 days following arrest, and this period of time increases with each subsequent DUI / OVI charge within a 10-year period. You will also have to pay a fine before your license is reinstated.DUI / OVI Based on Prescription Medications
In addition to drunk driving, Ohio prohibits motorists from driving under the influence of prescription medications, including opioids as well as cold medications that cause drowsiness. Other common medications that can impair your ability to drive include hydrocodone, sedatives like alprazolam, and prescription stimulants. Similar to drunk driving charges, a charge for driving under the influence of prescription medications can have serious consequences including license suspensions, fines, and jail time. There are some defenses that may apply in your situation such as having a legal prescription for the medications and proof that you were taking the medications in accordance with the dosing instructions.Challenging a License Suspension
Losing your ability to drive even for a short period of time can be devastating for your personal and professional life. Fortunately, there are a few grounds for appealing a license suspension in the criminal court proceeding and with the BMV. In the court proceeding, you can apply for limited driving privileges to enable you to go to work, doctor’s appointments, or to take care of your children. You must make the application for limited driving privileges at the first hearing in your case. If you refused to submit to a sobriety test, however, you must wait 30 days before seeking privileges. At the BMV, you can appeal a license suspension on several grounds including proof that the officer did not have a reasonable basis for believing that you were driving under the influence.Meet with a Compassionate DUI / OVI Lawyer in Cleveland
If you are facing a drunk driving charge, it is essential that you understand your rights and that you protect yourself during the lengthy and complex DUI / OVI case process. Our seasoned team of drunk driving defense attorneys has assisted numerous individuals in Cleveland and beyond with ensuring that they receive the fair outcome that they deserve. We have substantial experience interpreting Ohio’s laws and identifying instances where a defense or other special consideration may help our client cope with this stressful and disruptive situation. We proudly serve clients throughout Parma, Bedford, Berea, Rocky River, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton. To schedule your free consultation call us at 216-520-5297 or contact us online.