If you are convicted of a DUI / OVI offense in Ohio, the court will impose penalties on you, which can include a variety of things like jail time and monetary fines. In some instances, the penalties will also include immobilization of the vehicle that you were driving at the time of the offense if it is your registered vehicle. The court must also usually impound the license plate in this situation. If you are facing a DUI / OVI charge, you are probably wondering what you should expect in terms of punishments and whether you have any chance of having the charges reduced or dropped. Cleveland DUI attorney A. Dale Naticchia is prepared to assist you with understanding your rights during a criminal case involving a drunk driving charge. He is available to serve clients in Akron and other areas of Cuyahoga County.Vehicle Immobilization in Ohio
In Ohio, the offense of driving while intoxicated is legally defined as operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI. Having your vehicle impounded can create serious hardships for you, especially if you were not sentenced to any jail time and need to immediately return to your occupation or other responsibilities. Remember that the immobilization only takes place after a conviction for a DUI / OVI offense, which is why retaining a seasoned attorney to review your case and identify any areas where charges may be dropped or reduced is advisable.
For a first offense, Ohio law does not require that a vehicle be immobilized. If you are able to pay the fees associated with towing and storing the vehicle and provide proof of ownership, the car will be released unless there is some other basis for withholding the vehicle. If your license was suspended through the Administrative License Suspension, then you will not be able to pick up the vehicle. It is important to bring a licensed driver with you to drive the vehicle away from the impound premises.Second and Subsequent Offenses
Vehicle immobilization is a penalty that you may face if you are being charged with a second DUI within the last 10 years. The mandatory sentencing provisions for a second charge within 10 years require the immobilization of your vehicle for 90 days as well as impoundment of your license plate. The vehicle cannot be sold or driven during this timeframe.
If your vehicle is a shared family vehicle, then a family member may be able to apply for a waiver of this penalty under O.R.C. section 4503.235(A). Before any order is issued requiring vehicle immobilization, the family member or household member who relies on the vehicle can file a motion with the court requesting that an immobilization order not be issued. The family or household member must show that he or she is completely dependent on the vehicle to complete necessary aspects of his or her life, and that immobilizing the vehicle would create an undue hardship.
If you are facing your third DUI / OVI charge within 10 years, or five or more DUI / OVI convictions within five years, then your vehicle will be forfeited as part of the mandatory sentencing provisions for this offense. Your family or household members will not be able to seek an immobilization waiver. You will be required to pay a fee associated with transferring title of the vehicle to the government.
One of the best ways to avoid dealing with the immobilization of your vehicle or having to file a waiver is to fight the charges against you and to assert any constitutional or other defenses that may result in the charges being reduced or dropped. One example is proving that the police did not use appropriate procedures when stopping you or conducting a field sobriety test.Speak With a Skilled DUI / OVI Attorney in Cleveland
Lawyer A. Dale Naticchia understands just how stressful facing criminal charges can be, especially if you are facing heightened penalties for multiple DUI / OVI offenses. Attorney Naticchia and his seasoned legal team will ensure that you receive the compassionate legal counsel that you deserve. He represents clients throughout Cleveland, Parma, Bedford, Berea, Rocky River, Stow, Garfield Heights, and Barberton. Call us today at 216-520-5297 or fill out the online contact form to get started.