Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is incredibly dangerous. Drunk driving is a leading cause of serious and fatal car accidents in Ohio. As a consequence, law enforcement officers often target drivers who they believe may be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or certain types of drugs.
The initial decision to stop a motorist on suspicion of driving under the influence is entirely subjective. In many cases, the decision to arrest and charge a person with this offense is also subjective.
More often than not, a driver who is stopped by law enforcement after consuming alcohol, particularly at certain times of the day or night, will be charged with an OVI/DU. This may happen regardless of whether they were actually under the influence per Ohio law at the time. If you are charged with OVI/DUI, the law and public opinion are not on your side.
Immediately after this occurs, courts can suspend your right to drive, impound or immobilize your vehicle, or require you to install an interlock device in your vehicle. Courts can also require alcohol testing as part of a pretrial bond, and impose other conditions, even before any finding of guilt or innocence at a trial. While it is possible to obtain limited driving privileges after an OVI arrest, navigating the court system can be daunting. That is why you need attorneys who know how to address these concerns and to give you the best chance for a successful resolution to your case.
Under Ohio law, a conviction for DUI/OVI can have serious consequences. Depending on the severity of the offense, a DUI conviction may result in jail time, fines, court fees, increased insurance rates, and a driver’s license suspension. There are a number of possible DUI defenses, which your DUI attorney may use to have the drunk driving charges reduced or even dismissed.
Based in Warren County, our law firm has unmatched experience in handling DUI/OVI matters. As former prosecutors, the attorneys of Engel & Martin, LLC handled close to 1,000 drunk driving cases, including motions to suppress and trials. Attorney Mary Martin later served as a state-wide resource prosecutor, providing advice on DUI/OVI cases throughout Ohio. She also ran the breath testing matching program for the Ohio Department of Health, and has testified in dozens of courts statewide on breath testing machines.
Given the serious nature of DUI/OVI charges, it is vital to hire a defense attorney who has the experience to help you get the best possible outcome. We have first-hand knowledge of how these cases are handled from a law enforcement perspective. We’ll put our expertise to work on your behalf to protect your rights and your freedom.
Under Ohio law, operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a criminal offense. It may be charged if a person:
For purposes of this law, “under the influence” means that the presence of alcohol and/or drugs in a person’s body has an adverse effect on their driving ability.
When a person is charged with a DUI/OVI based on the amount of alcohol or drugs in their system, this may be referred to as a “per se” violation. This charge does not require proof that a person was actually impaired. Instead, it is enough for the prosecutor to introduce evidence that they had a certain BAC or concentrations of a controlled substance in their body.
Each controlled substance has a different concentration level for a per se OVI. If you are arrested on suspicion of OVI, you may be convicted of OVI if you have a concentration of at least:
It can be difficult to determine exactly how much of a particular substance (drugs or alcohol) will lead to a violation. For this reason, if you have been drinking alcohol and/or using a controlled substance, the safest choice is to not drive. However, if you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, a criminal defense lawyer can develop factual and legal defenses based on the facts of your case.
In any DUI/OVI case, there are two types of penalties that a person may face: administrative and criminal. First, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles may suspend your license if you are arrested for OVI, or if you refuse to take a chemical test after being arrested on suspicion of OVI. Second, if you are convicted of DUI/OVI, then a court may impose a range of penalties, including fines, fees, and jail time. The specific consequence for each type of penalty depends on the facts of your case and whether you have a past DUI/OVI conviction within the past 10 years, or 20 years if you were previously charged with OVI and refused to take a chemical test.
A DUI/OVI will result in a driver’s license suspension of anywhere from 90 days (first offense) to 3 years (fourth or greater offense). If you refuse to take a chemical breath, blood, or urine test after being stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence, then the suspension will for a significantly longer period of time. For refusal, the suspension may be from 1 year (first offense) to 5 years (fourth or greater offense).
Criminal penalties for a DUI/OVI can also be substantial. There are two primary factors that influence the sentence handed down by a judge in an OVI case: the number of prior convictions, if any, and your BAC level. In Ohio, if you are found to have a BAC level of 0.17% or higher, you will be charged with a high test or aggravated DUI/OVI. Otherwise, you will be charged with a standard DUI/OVI.
For a standard DUI/OVI, the penalties include mandatory jail time, fines and fees, and a license suspension. A first offense OVI may result in 3 days to 6 months of jail time, fines from $375 to $1075, and a license suspension of 1 to 3 years. A fourth or greater OVI may lead to 30 days to 1 year in jail, $850 to $2,750 in fines, and a license suspension of 2 to 12 years.
An aggravated or high test OVI will lead to additional penalties on top of the sentence for a standard OVI. This may include additional jail time from 3 to 60 days, house arrest, and/or mandatory participation in a driver’s intervention program. In any DUI/OVI case, a judge may also order substance abuse treatment.
Both the administrative and criminal consequences of a DUI/OVI conviction are incredibly serious, and may affect your ability to earn a living, go to school, or even take care of your family. For this reason, it is critical to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable in DUI law, and who can advocate for you throughout the process. There are a number of potential defenses to these criminal charges — and a skilled Ohio DUI lawyer can help you get the best possible outcome for your case.
Law firms throughout Ohio, from Cincinnati to Columbus, represent clients who have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. When choosing an attorney to represent you on OVI charges, remember that experience matters. As former prosecutors, our law office is uniquely well-equipped to handle DUI/OVI charges.
In addition to handling nearly 1,000 DUI cases on behalf of Warren County, founding partners Joshua Adam Engel and Mary Martin have helped to shape Ohio OVI law. They have been involved in a number of Ohio Supreme Court decisions on both breath and blood testing, including:
Jim Hardin currently handles almost all of the firm’s OVI representation in Warren, Clermont, Hamilton, and Butler Counties. He has successfully had OVI cases dismissed or the charges reduced by asking courts to suppress evidence based on:
He has also successfully obtained acquittals (not guilty verdicts) in OVI trials before juries and judges.
With so much on the line, you need a skilled DUI defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of OVI law in Ohio. Our team is well-equipped to meet the challenges of any DUI/OVI case. We will stand by your side and fight for your rights throughout the administrative and criminal processes.
Being charged with any crime can be daunting. An OVI conviction can derail your future. A Mason, Ohio DUI/OVI defense attorney can make sure that your case is resolved in the most favorable way for you.
As experienced and skilled attorneys, Engel & Martin will work tirelessly to explore every possibility to lessen the potential exposure of clients — from seeking driving privileges or a stay of any license suspension, to motions to suppress the state’s evidence, to taking your case to trial if necessary. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a member of our team, contact us today at 513-445-9600, or email us at any time.