Felony DUI / OVI
A conviction for driving or operating a vehicle under the influence (DUI / OVI) can have devastating consequences for the recipient. When it comes to felony DUIs / OVIs, however, the State of Ohio imposes serious penalties and repercussions. Our skilled Cleveland DUI lawyers provide compassionate and zealous legal defense to individuals facing drunk driving charges, including felony DUI / OVI. Having handled countless cases involving a variety of different scenarios throughout Ohio, including Cuyahoga, Summit, and Portage Counties, we understand what’s on the line for you and your family in this situation, and we will fight diligently on your behalf.Ohio’s Felony DUI / OVI Laws
Ohio has enacted many different laws governing drunk driving offenses, including felony DUIs / OVIs. One of the most important things to note about Ohio’s DUI / OVI laws is that the severity of the fines and penalties assessed increase with each subsequent conviction. The length of the Administrative License Suspension that the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles imposes also lengthens. In any situation where you have a prior DUI / OVI charge, especially within the last 10 years, it is important to seek counsel from a seasoned drunk driving defense attorney to ensure that you can mitigate the penalties against you as much as possible.
A felony DUI / OVI charge will be assessed on your fourth OVI charge within a ten year period, or your sixth DUI / OVI charge within 20 years. If it is your first felony DUI / OVI, the minimum term of incarceration that the judge must impose is 60 days in jail or prison up to a maximum of 30 months in prison. This is doubled if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test at the time you are arrested, or if your blood alcohol level is particularly high. Your license will be suspended for a minimum period of three years, which can have serious consequences for your ability to maintain a job or to handle your personal responsibilities like childcare. A first-time felony DUI / OVI charge also requires you to undergo mandatory alcohol abuse treatment, to obtain a yellow license plate for your vehicle, and an ignition interlock device (IID). The IID requires you to provide a breath sample before the vehicle engine will start to ensure that you are not intoxicated. These statutory penalties are simply mandatory minimums, which means that the judge has discretion to impose longer sentences and penalties if he or she deems it appropriate.
If you are charged with a second felony DUI / OVI, you face even harsher penalties and fines. This includes a mandatory term of incarceration of 120 days in prison, which is doubled again if you refused to submit to a test or had a high blood alcohol content, with a maximum incarceration of five years in prison. Your license can be suspended for a minimum of three years up to a permanent, lifetime suspension of your ability to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Ohio. A second felony DUI / OVI also carries mandatory substance abuse treatment, obtaining a yellow license plate, and an IID. Further, the state can impose a forfeiture of your vehicle for a first or second felony DUI / OVI charge. Every OVI after the first felony is also a felony.Defenses to Felony DUI / OVI Charges
The penalties and consequences associated with a felony DUI / OVI charge are serious. Despite the stress and anxiety you may feel after being charged, there are defenses that may apply to your situation to mitigate these penalties, and a skilled drunk driving defense lawyer can help you assert them. First, it is important to verify that any equipment used to obtain a blood alcohol reading was calibrated and used appropriately. The machine may have provided incorrect readings if it was not maintained or calibrated routinely. Next, it is important to determine whether the arresting officer had a sufficient basis for stopping your vehicle and detaining you. If the officer did not have probable cause that you were engaging in illegal activity or had recently been engaged in illegal activity, then they are not permitted to stop you and any evidence obtained from the stop must be suppressed as illegally obtained. There are many other defenses and aspects of your case that could provide a route to reducing the charges and penalties against you, and a seasoned defense team can assess whether they may help in your situation.Experienced DUI / OVI Defense Lawyers in Cleveland
Our dedicated DUI / OVI attorneys have worked extensively on drunk driving cases throughout the state, including in Bedford, Berea, Parma, Rocky River, Stow, Garfield Heights, and Barberton. Although you may think that proceeding without legal counsel will streamline the proceedings, a diligent Cleveland legal defense team can make all the difference in helping you put this situation behind you in a timely manner while preserving your legal rights. We provide a free consultation so that you can learn more about us and to discuss your situation. Call us today at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to get started.