DUI / OVI Penalties
One of the first things that people think about when they are charged with a drunk driving offense is the penalties that they will face. Whether it is your first charge or a consecutive charge, Ohio law imposes penalties on drunk drivers including license suspensions, fines, and jail time. Even if a license suspension is temporary, it can have a disastrous impact on your personal and professional life. Most individuals rely on a vehicle to get to and from work or to handle childcare responsibilities. The Cleveland DUI attorneys at the Law Firm of A. Dale Naticchia have handled countless drunk driving cases and understand exactly how serious this situation is for you and your family. We serve clients throughout Akron as well as other parts of Cuyahoga County, helping them protect their legal rights and working to put together a strong defense on their behalf. We are standing by to help you.Ohio DUI / OVI Penalties and Laws
Under Ohio law, the offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI, is treated very seriously even if it is an individual’s first offense. If your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher, you are considered intoxicated for purposes of the law. There are many ways that law enforcement can go about determining your intoxication level, including a breathalyzer test. Field sobriety tests, in which the police examine your motor skills and response time, are also routine. If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test, you face a one-year suspension of your license. If this is your second drunk driving incident within 10 years and you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test during the first incident, the suspension is increased to two years.First Offenses
When it comes to DUI / OVI penalties for a conviction, the severity and extent will depend on whether this is your first or a consecutive charge within a ten-year period. For your first offense, you can be sentenced to a maximum of six months in jail and up to five years of probation. Your license will also be suspended for at least one year and you will be charged with a license reinstatement fee of $475. There is also a mandatory three-day jail sentence. In some instances, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Agreeing to have one of these devices installed in your vehicle can result in having some of the other penalties reduced. Ohio has enacted harsher penalties for high level offenses involving individuals with blood alcohol content levels of .17% or higher. The penalties for these high-level offenses increase, and include a minimum six-day jail sentence and a license suspension of one year to three years.Repeat Offenses
If you receive a second conviction within ten years, the DUI / OVI penalties increase substantially in some instances, and can include a minimum jail sentence of 10 days, increased fines, and a license suspension of 1 to 7 years. Your vehicle will also be immobilized for 90 days. If your second OVI offense is a high level offense, then the penalties increase even further to a minimum jail sentence of 20 days.Administrative Penalties
In addition to these criminal penalties, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will assess administrative penalties against you including an immediate confiscation of your license and a suspension of one to three years. There are some instances in which you may be eligible for a restricted license, which allows you to drive for things like work. If you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test, you will face an automatic one-year suspension and a 30-day waiting period before you can apply for a restricted license.Defenses
These significant penalties may sound intimidating, but there are ways to fight an OVI charge. Ohio recognizes several affirmative defenses that can be used to reduce your charges or to have them thrown out completely. For example, if the breathalyzer machine was not calibrated appropriately or if the police failed to use the appropriate protocols when administering a field sobriety test, then the charge may not stand. An experienced drunk driving defense lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.Knowledgeable DUI / OVI Defense Attorneys in Cleveland
At the Law Firm of A. Dale Naticchia, we have seen just how devastating a drunk driving conviction can be for the defendant and his or her family. We will work diligently to explore all avenues of defense, while making sure that you understand each aspect of the legal process. Our knowledgeable team of Cleveland lawyers has served clients throughout communities including Parma, Bedford, Rocky River, Berea, Stow, Garfield Heights, and Barberton. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 216-520-5297 or contact us online.