OVI | DUI | Drunk Driving | Impaired Driving

Please note, the information offered on this site should not be considered legal advice. Every case is unique, and the law changes often. Our office cannot provide legal advice without a consultation to address the specific facts and events of your case.

Alert – Significant Changes to Ohio’s Drunk Driving Law
A recent Ohio Supreme Court decision ruled defendants have a right to challenge the accuracy of results from alcohol breath-testing machines. If you’ve been charged with OVI and you submitted to a breath test, call our office now ((614) 558-0125) for a free consultation.

Traffic Stop, Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), And Arrest
Breathalyzer And Other Chemical Tests
Sobriety Checkpoint
Court Appearances And Procedures
Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
Limited Occupational Driving Privileges
License Reinstatement Process
Penalties
Yellow License Plate Requirement
Ignition Interlock Device Requirement
Driver Intervention Program (DIP)

Traffic Stop, Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), And Arrest

A police officer needs only reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior to stop your car and to investigate further. If he or she then finds probable cause, you may be placed under arrest. More than likely, an audio and video recording will be made of your entire traffic stop. This video is another reason to always be polite and cooperative with police.

During the initial traffic stop, if an officer smells alcohol, or observes glassy eyes, slurred speech, or other indications that you’ve been drinking, the officer will ask you to take the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs).

Police use the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) to determine whether probable cause exists to charge you with OVI and to place you under arrest. The three standard FSTs are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk & Turn, and the One-Leg Stand. If you perform poorly on theses tests, the officer will probably place you under arrest.

You do not have to answer the officers’ questions. Instead, you may tell the officers you want a lawyer before answering questions or taking their tests. After you’ve spoken with a lawyer, you can better decide whether to speak to the officers and/or take their tests.

If and when you are asked to take a breath test, blood test, or urine test, you may choose to refuse, unless, within the past 20 years, you had a drunk driving conviction, or if you are on probation for drunk driving. Please note, if you have a prior drunk driving conviction within the past 20 years, the minimum jail sentencing guidelines will double.

If you refuse the chemical tests, you will receive an immediate ALS (Administrative License Suspension) and you may still be charged with driving ‘under the influence’ of alcohol or drugs. The ALS suspends your license for a period of time that varies, based on whether you refused, or if you tested over the legal limit, or if you have prior refusals, or prior OVI convictions.

If you decide to take a breath, blood, or urine chemical test, you should know the legal limit is .08 for a breath or blood test, and .11 for a urine test. Testing above the legal limit will subject you to a charge for driving with a prohibited alcohol or drug level, in addition to the charge for driving ‘under the influence’ of alcohol or drugs, and a license suspension of 90 days or more. If you test below the legal limit, your license will not be suspended, but you still may be charged with driving ‘under the influence’ of alcohol or drugs.
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Breathalyzer And Other Chemical Tests

If you decide to submit to a breath or blood test, and test at or above .08, but less than .17, you will be charged with driving with a prohibited alcohol or drug level. If you test at or above .17, you’ll be charged with a high-test OVI.

If you decide to submit to a urine test, and test at or above .11, but less than .238, you will be charged with driving with a prohibited alcohol or drug level. If you test at or above .238, you’ll be charged with a high-test OVI.

If you contest the charge, your attorney will investigate whether police complied with required regulations and, if appropriate, will file motions to suppress the results of your breathalyzer, blood, or urine test.
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Sobriety Checkpoint

The U.S. Supreme Court held sobriety checkpoints valid, consistent with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Even so, police are required to follow specific guidelines including; an objective site selection process, based on relevant data, random vehicle stop intervals, public notice, a systematic procedure for data collection, and post checkpoint reporting.

If the guidelines were not followed, or if police lacked reasonable suspicion to detain you, or lacked probable cause to arrest, your attorney can file the appropriate motions to suppress or dismiss.
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Court Appearances And Procedures

You will be required to appear in court within five days of your arrest. At your first appearance, called an arraignment, you’ll enter a plea of either not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If you were also given an ALS (Administrative License Suspension), you can appeal the ALS and request a stay. If you enter a plea of not guilty, your attorney will obtain copies of the police report, dash camera video, and other related materials, then your case will be set for pretrial. Your attorney will then review and evaluate the prosecution’s evidence against you.

If your case is set for pretrial, you may ask your attorney to negotiate an agreed settlement. If you receive a fair offer from the prosecutor, you may choose to settle your case at pretrial. If not settled at pretrial, your case will be set for trial. Your attorney will then file the appropriate motions before trial.

If your case goes to trial, the prosecutor will present evidence and witness testimony against you. Likewise, your attorney will present evidence and witnesses in your defense. If you are found guilty, the judge will hold a sentence hearing to decide which penalties to impose.

If convicted, Ohio law mandates fines, license suspension, and jail time. The judge may also require that you install an ignition interlock device, and/or display yellow license plates.
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Administrative License Suspension (ALS)

If you refuse a breathalyzer, or other chemical test, you’ll be placed under an immediate ALS (Administrative License Suspension). Likewise, if you agree to take a chemical test but test over the legal limit, you’ll be placed under an immediate ALS. The term of suspension varies, based on whether you refused, or if you tested over the legal limit, or if you have prior refusals, or prior OVI convictions.

Your ALS may be appealed. While your appeal is pending, we may also be able to have your suspension stayed, allowing you to get your license back the very same day. If, however, the prosecutor and judge aren’t willing to stay your suspension, we may be able to get limited occupational driving privileges.
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Limited Occupational Driving Privileges

A judge may allow limited occupational/educational driving privileges while your license is suspended, for either an OVI conviction or an ALS (Administrative License Suspension). Depending on the specific facts of your case, the waiting period varies before you become eligible for driving privileges.

Please note, if you drive while under suspension, either without limited privileges or outside the scope of your privileges, you face a charge and conviction for Driving Under Suspension.
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License Reinstatement Process

After the term of your suspension has expired, you still may not drive until you’ve followed the applicable process to reinstate your license. The process and fees vary, depending on the kind of suspension you were under. Generally, you will be required to show proof of insurance and pay a fee to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The BMV will then provide you with documentation that you later present to a BMV Registrar to receive a new license.
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Penalties

Ohio law mandates fines, license suspension, and jail time. The judge may also require that you install an ignition interlock device, and/or display yellow license plates. The law changes often, and penalties vary based on the specific circumstances of your case, and based on your prior record.
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Yellow License Plate Requirement

A judge may order the surrender of your license plates, and to display yellow/restricted license plates, as a condition of occupational driving privileges. If you are convicted of a fourth offense within the past 20 years, or a second offense within the past six years, or if you are convicted of a high-test OVI, the judge is required to order yellow/restricted license plates in connection with occupational driving privileges.
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Ignition Interlock Device Requirement

A judge may require you to install an ignition interlock device as a condition of occupational driving privileges. If you have a prior drunk driving conviction, within the past 20 years, the judge is required to order the ignition interlock in connection with occupational driving privileges.

The device allows your car to start only after you provide a clean breath sample, with alcohol concentration below the proscribed level. The device logs each breath sample, so if your alcohol concentration is over the limit, the judge may rule it a violation of the terms of your driving privileges.

If and when you need, we can provide a list of Ignition Interlock service providers in and around Central Ohio.
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Driver Intervention Program (DIP)

If you are sentenced with jail time, your judge may allow you to substitute a 72-hour Driver Intervention Program (DIP) for three of those days’ jail time.

72-hour Driver Intervention Programs are generally offered from Thursday through Sunday evenings at a local hotel. Rather than serve three days in jail, DIP participants spend three days attending alcohol and impaired driving seminars, and are assessed to decide whether further counseling is recommended.

If and when you need, we can provide a list of certified Driver Intervention Programs offered in and around Central Ohio.
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Attention:

Please note, the information offered on this site should not be considered legal advice. Every case is unique, and the law changes often. Our office cannot provide legal advice without a consultation to address the specific facts and events of your case.

Contact Us
For more information, contact us at 614-558-0125 or use our Web Contact Form to arrange an appointment.