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Many people mistakenly believe that any charge for driving or operating a vehicle under the influence (DUI / OVI) is the same regardless of the facts involved in the incident. Under Ohio law, however, there are many different types of DUIs / OVIs that carry a variety of penalties depending on the number of prior drunk driving convictions that the defendant possesses. The reason for these increased penalties is that the state sees repeat offenses as an increased public safety risk. Regardless of whether this is your first or a subsequent offense, having an experienced Cleveland DUI attorney on your side can help you understand your legal options. Our skilled criminal defense team has represented numerous drivers in Akron and Cuyahoga County fight DUI / OVI charges, and can help you determine your next steps.Ohio’s Super DUI / OVI Laws
In Ohio, any individual who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater has committed the offense of DUI / OVI. In instances where your BAC is above 0.17 or above, the penalties that you face are much stricter. For a urine test, 0.238 or above is considered a high test result, while a blood serum or plasma test of 0.204 or greater is also considered a high test result.
If this is your first offense, you will be required to wait two weeks before your driving privileges are reinstated, and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle before you can drive again. You also face a first-degree misdemeanor charge on your record.
For a high-test DUI / OVI, defendants can face six months of jail time according to Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19, including the three-to-six days that you must serve following your initial detention. If the judge grants you unlimited driving privileges provided that you install an ignition interlock device, your jail sentence will be suspended. The fines associated with a high-test DUI / OVI range between $375 to $1,075.
As part of sweeping reforms to Ohio’s drunk driving laws enacted in 2017, courts are now placing more emphasis on ignition interlock devices in order to reduce license suspensions and to expand the type of privileges that someone can be granted while they carry out their suspension sentence.
Once the court enters a conviction, it can also impose long-term penalties on your ability to drive. The court has the choice of suspending your license for one to three years, as well as the option to require installation of an ignition interlock device. Finally, you may also be required to undergo a five-year probation period depending on whether the presiding judge deems it necessary.Defenses to Super DUI / OVI Charges in Ohio
Although it may seem impossible, there are certain ways to mitigate the charges against you or to have the case dropped if you can establish that law enforcement made serious errors in your case, and a seasoned DUI / OVI lawyer can help. There are specific rules that police officers must follow when stopping a vehicle or a person and engaging with them, including the requirement that they have reasonable suspicion that you were involved in or recently involved in criminal activity. This can include simple traffic violations such as expired tags or failing to use a turn signal. During the exchange, the police must follow a set of specific steps when assessing whether you are under the influence of alcohol, including administering a standardized field sobriety test. If the police fail to have reasonable suspicion or make an error during the field sobriety test, the charges against you may be reduced or dropped. Other ways of fighting the charge include determining whether the equipment used to test your breath sample or blood sample was calibrated and maintained appropriately. Demonstrating a record of good behavior and showing that you have dependents or work-related obligations that make you a good candidate for driving privileges can also ease the impact of the conviction.Seek Counsel from a Knowledgeable DUI / OVI Attorney in Cleveland
If you are facing a DUI / OVI charge in or near Cleveland, chances are you are concerned about how the charge may impact several aspects of your life, including your finances and your ability to drive. It can be tempting to speak with the authorities to clear your name, but this can easily backfire and create complications in your case. With several years of experience representing individuals in drunk driving matters including super DUIs / OVIs, our seasoned team of defense lawyers is standing by to help you resolve this matter. With clients throughout Parma, Berea, Rocky River, Bedford, Stow, Garfield Heights, and Barberton, we offer a free consultation to discuss your charges and the defenses that may be available to you. Call us now at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to get started.