OVI/DUI Attorney: FAQs
Sylvania, Wauseon, Maumee, Bowling Green, Ohio
When searching for an experienced OVI attorney near Toledo, Ohio, the best place to start is by becoming more familiar with the nuances of Ohio traffic law. Below are some of the more frequently asked questions presented to us from our past and current OVI clients.
Will an OVI plea carry points on my Ohio Driver’s License?
Yes, a typical OVI conviction carries six (6) points on your Ohio Driver’s License. Also, be sure to review your citation to confirm exactly what you have charged with. It is common for drivers to receive accompanying charges in such traffic situations. For example, in OVI related matters, it is common for the driver to be cited for “Marked Lanes” or “Speeding” in addition to the OVI. Most minor traffic citations carry 2 points each, which is in addition to the 6 points for the OVI. It is important to remember that once a driver accumulates 12 points on his or Ohio Driver’s License, they will receive a license suspension.
What are field sobriety tests?
Generally, when a driver is suspected of drunk driving, the police need to determine whether or not the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants. Think of field sobriety tests like pieces of a greater puzzle. None of the specific field sobriety tests will likely confirm that the driver is intoxicated. However, if the driver fails multiple field sobriety tests, then there are more pieces of the puzzle available for the police to build their case. Common examples of field sobriety tests include: one leg stand, walk and turn, heel to toe, HGN “pen test”, touching fingertip to nose, and portable breathalyzer test. A driver’s speech is also typically a focal point of interest for the observing police officer. It is important to know whether or not you could naturally pass a field sobriety test even when sober. For example, many individuals have a hard time keeping balance on one leg for extended periods of time. Additionally, some shoes, such a high heels” could give a false read as they are more difficult to walk in.
Are there other OVI clues that police look for?
Erratic driving and field sobriety tests are not the only indicators of drunk driving . Impaired drivers may reveal other indicators of being under the influence such as slurred speech, glassy and bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, open or empty alcohol containers inside the vehicle, and possible driver admissions. Additionally, most OVI traffic stops begin with a Marked Lanes violation, typically resulting from a police officer’s observation of a driver not maintaining her or her driving lane.
What is the legal limit for alcohol in Ohio?
In Ohio, a driver is considered to be legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater. For drivers below age 21, this limit is substantially lower at .02 BAC. This is an important distinction and is intended to reduce underage alcohol consumption. Many drivers who are deemed to be legally intoxicated do not “feel drunk.” Factors such as your personal tolerance level, body size, and recent food intake may mask your level of intoxication. If you have been drinking, get a designated driver or arrange for alternate transportation, such as a taxi cab or an Uber.
Does OVI automatically mean alcohol?
No, OVI stands for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of an intoxicant. Most often, an OVI involves the use of alcohol, but the law applies to multiple other intoxicating sources. Some of the less common intoxicants may include marijuana, prescription medications, heroin, combinations of medications and drinks that have a negative reaction on the driver, and more. If you are taking a newly prescribed medicine, be sure to understand how it affects you before driving.
What are the penalties for an OVI conviction?
Most OVI convictions are a Misdemeanor of the first degree (M-1). In Ohio, 1st degree misdemeanors carry a maximum of 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. These are the two main consequences that people think of, but there are several more consequences that can make an OVI very costly: suspension of driver’s license, increased insurance rates, 6 points on your Ohio Driver’s License, attorney fees, court costs, medical expenses such as an alcohol assessment and possible post assessment medical treatments, BMV reinstatement fees, ignition interlock costs, loss of work due to incarceration and lack of transportation, years of probation, and more. Of course, the biggest consequence could involve the injury or death of another person.
Repeat OVI offenders can expect an increased likelihood of extended jail time, higher court fines, and more extensive terms of probation. In certain situations, an OVI can be categorized as a felony.
While it is not guaranteed, many first time offenders are offered the alternative of attending a Driver Intervention Program (DIP). These programs have an associated fee and generally last about 3 days. The defendant is expected to remain onsite for the entire duration of the program. Courts who allow for such programs typically have a list of preferred service providers.
What is the difference between OVI and Reckless Operation?
An OVI is generally considered to be a more serious offense than a Reckless Operation citation. While Reckless Operation can apply to poor driving, it can sometimes apply in alcohol or substance related cases. Under the Ohio Revised Code, a standard OVI conviction carries six (6) points on your Ohio Driver’s License, whereas Reckless Operation may carry only four (4) points on your Ohio Driver’s License. Both are moving violations. Depending on the circumstances, the Prosecutor may offer a reduced charge of Reckless Operation (Misdemeanor 2nd Degree) in an OVI case for reasons such as evidentiary concerns or if the driver had a blood alcohol content barely over the legal limit. While the maximum amount of fines and jail time may be less regarding Reckless Operation, as compared to an OVI, harsh penalties can still be had. Before accepting any plea offer, you should consult with an experienced Toledo, Ohio OVI Defense Attorney. In many jurisdictions both OVI and Reckless Operation may be considered when a court looks at one’s prior driving record.
Under what circumstances can a minor consume alcohol in Ohio?
Per Ohio law, a person must be 21 years of age or older to legally drink alcoholic beverages in Ohio. Generally speaking, there are three circumstances in which a person under 21 years of age may drink alcoholic beverages in Ohio. Source: Clermont County (Ohio) Sheriff.
- If the person consumes the alcohol ‘in the presence’ of their parent, legal guardian, or a spouse who is over 21 years old,
- If the alcohol consumption is part of a recognized religious service, or
- The alcohol is prescribed for medical treatment by a doctor.
It is important to read the above circumstances carefully. Notice that college students (ages 18-20) are not included in the list, nor are minors attending a party hosted by an adult who is not their parent or legal guardian. Under both of these circumstances it is illegal for a minor to consume alcohol in the Ohio. Furthermore, Ohio minors are subject to a much stricter standard to be considered intoxicated (blood alcohol level of .02 or greater).
*NOTICE: Choosing an experienced OVI attorney is an important decision. No attorney can guarantee an outcome to any case. Many factors affect the outcome of an OVI case, including but not limited to the specific facts of one’s case, past driving history, individual court, and severity of offense(s). All content within the pages of this website are for educational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. For specific legal advice you may contact a licensed and experienced Ohio OVI attorney. Please drive safely and always wear your seat belt.
OVI Attorney and Related Links
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