DUI / OVI With a Minor in the Vehicle
According to Ohio law, if you are driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more you can be charged with the crime of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). The state has enacted additional penalties for situations that are deemed aggravated penalties, such as driving under the influence (DUI) with a minor in the vehicle. The theory behind this aggravated penalty is that DUI / OVI with a minor in the vehicle puts the child at risk of injury. This is why it is sometimes referred to as DUI / OVI child endangerment. Although you may think that this charge is similar to a regular DUI / OVI charge, there are additional considerations and potential defenses that you should explore before accepting a plea bargain or other resolution of your case. A Cleveland DUI lawyer at our firm is available to represent clients throughout Akron and other areas of Cuyahoga County, and is standing by to assist you with understanding your rights when facing a DUI / OVI charge.DUI / OVI Child Endangerment Laws in Ohio
Under Ohio law, it is a crime to facilitate a “substantial risk to the health or safety of [a] child by violating a duty of care, protection or support.” A child is defined as an individual who is under the age of 18, or under the age of 21 if the individual is physically handicapped or mentally disabled. This is the basis for imposing heightened penalties when a driver is convicted of DUI / OVI with a minor in the vehicle.
It is important to be aware that DUI / OVI charges are not limited to situations involving intoxication resulting from your blood alcohol content (BAC) being above the legal limit of .08%. They can also apply to situations where the driver is impaired as a result of drinking or taking illegal drugs or prescription drugs (or a combination of both), such that his or her ability to drive safely is impaired.Penalties
If you are found guilty of the offense of DUI / OVI child endangerment, you face additional penalties above and beyond the penalties that are assessed for a regular DUI / OVI charge. These charges can impact your future by making it more difficult to find a job or place to live, as well as causing some to place blame or judgment on you. The charge can also be damaging if you are involved in a child custody proceeding or plan to seek custody of your children at a later time.
Standard penalties for a first-time DUI / OVI charge are between three days to six months in jail with fines ranging from $375 to $1,075. You may also have your license suspended as a result of the conviction and/or you may be required to install restricted license plates or a car immobilizing device. The penalties increase for additional offenses within a 10-year period and where a minor was present.Defenses to DUI / OVI With a Minor in the Vehicle
There are some defenses and strategies that you may be able to use to mitigate the charges against you or to have them dropped, and a skilled DUI / OVI attorney can help you assert them. For a first offense of DUI / OVI child endangerment, the court will try it as a misdemeanor. If you have a previous conviction, however, or if the child suffered an injury as a result of your intoxicated driving, you could face a felony charge. Some of the defenses that may apply to your situation include showing that the police officers involved did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, that they did not use the correct field sobriety test procedures, or that you had a lawful prescription for any medications that you were taking.Seek Guidance from a DUI / OVI Defense Lawyer in Cleveland
Whether this is your first offense or a subsequent offense, you deserve compassionate and responsive legal counsel to help you make sure that you are being treated fairly. Attorney A. Dale Naticchia has worked with a variety of clients throughout Ohio, and serves communities including Parma, Berea, Rocky River, Bedford, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton. We will assist you in all aspects of your defense including gathering evidence, negotiating plea bargains, and asserting any viable defenses to the charges against you. To set up a free and confidential consultation call us at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to get started.