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When you are charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) in Ohio, there are countless aspects of the process that can seem incredibly overwhelming and stressful. In addition to having your license suspended and being unable to drive, you must now also go through the legal process, and can end up facing hefty fines and possible jail time. Most people don’t have much experience when it comes to understanding procedural aspects of a DUI / OVI case, including evaluating plea bargains to determine whether they are a good deal, and assessing whether it is worth the risk to go to trial. Representing clients throughout Akron and other areas of Cuyhoga County, Cleveland DUI attorney A. Dale Naticchia is prepared to represent you during this difficult time, and help you assert your legal rights if you are dealing with the potential for incarceration or fines in a DUI / OVI case.DUI / OVI Charges in Ohio
A DUI charge, or OVI in Ohio, is a criminal charge that carries a number of potential penalties. Before you can have penalties assessed against you, however, the law requires that you have a fair chance to represent yourself and to fight against those charges. The crime of driving while intoxicated in Ohio is defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more, or driving while impaired by either drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.
After being arrested, you must be arraigned within five days. An arraignment is a fairly straightforward step in the process where the defendant and the prosecution appear before the judge. You are permitted to have your attorney with you at this phase and during all phases of the matter. During the arraignment, you have the choice to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, the case moves straight to sentencing. But if you plead not guilty or do not accept a plea bargain from the prosecution, the matter moves forward in preparation of trial. If you are convicted, you face the possibility of jail time as well as steep fines.Penalties and Fines in DUI / OVI Cases
The severity of the penalty entered against you depends on whether this is your first DUI / OVI offense or whether you have been convicted for a DUI / OVI before during the prior 10-year period. If it is your first offense, the penalties are less severe and they increase with severity as you incur repeat offenses during the same decade.
Penalties for a first-time DUI / OVI conviction in Ohio can be significant. You can be sentenced to up to six months in jail, and a maximum of five years of probation. Additionally, the court will mandate a fine ranging from $375 to $1,075. You will also be subject to a license reinstatement fee of $475. You will have your license suspended for at least 15 days and you will generally have to spend at least three days in jail. You may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which can result in having some of the other penalties reduced.
Second and subsequent convictions within a 10-year period are treated more harshly. Aggravating factors such as a high BAC can also increase the severity of the penalties you are subject to. A skilled drunk driving defense attorney can help you navigate these challenges, and potentially seek to replace jail time with house arrest. A second conviction within 10 years of your first can carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days, or 20 days for a BAC of .17 or more. Fines increase to a range of $525 to $1,625. For a third conviction within six years, you can face a minimum jail term of 30 days up to a maximum of 12 months. Fines also increase, and can range from $850 to $2,750.Schedule a Consultation with a DUI / OVI Defense Lawyer in Cleveland
If you are facing a DUI / OVI charge in Cleveland, Attorney Naticchia is ready to help you prepare a strong defense and to ensure that you are treated fairly. With clients throughout Parma, Bedford, Berea, Rocky River, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton, our legal team has seen firsthand how stressful a DUI charge can be regardless of whether it is your first or a subsequent charge. We offer a free consultation, so call us at 216-520-5297 or contact us online.