Charged With DUI OVI?
An alcohol or drug-related conviction, such as DUI (known as OVI in Ohio), can have a significant impact on your freedom, employment, finances and future.
DUI/OVI and other traffic convictions can result in:
· jail time
· license revocation or suspension
· vehicle immobilization or forfeiture
· participation in a mandatory Driver Intervention Program
· electronic home monitoring
· points on your license
· increased insurance rates
· loss of CDL license
What do I do if I am charged with OVI?
Drivers who are charged with DUI/OVI in Ohio are often very stressed and confused about what to do next.
OVI law is very technical and complex. It defines OVI and sets out the per se limits of alcohol, drugs, and drug metabolites than can be present in a person’s breath, blood, or urine before they are considered “impaired”. There is also a complex system for determining the penalties for OVI conviction.
Call an experienced lawyer to help you understand the law and challenge the OVI charges against you.
We hope the pages of our website will help answer all of your questions.
To talk to a lawyer at any time, give us a call.
Lebanon Office (513) 932-5529. Serving Lebanon, Mason, and Warren County, as well Butler, Clinton, Clermont Counties.
Beavercreek Office (937) 306-6402. Serving Greater Dayton, Montgomery County and Greene County.
Your first phone consultation is free. We will discuss the charges against you, and let you know our fee for handling your case during that first conversation.
How can a lawyer help me?
There are several areas where a lawyer with Dearie, Fischer and Mathews will help you.
First, we can help educate you about the law and explain why and how you have been charged, and what the legal terms mean.
Second, we can explain penalties for a DUI/OVI conviction.
Third, we will help you through the legal process. When you hire our firm, we guide you every step of the way, available to answer your questions and give you solid legal advice. Below, we explain what you can expect in typical court proceedings for DUI – OVI. We will help you make the decisions that will result in the best outcome for you.
Educating Our Clients about the law
What is DUI-OVI?
In conversation, we commonly hear drunk driving charges referred to as DUI – Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. The Ohio statute 4511.19 officially calls the charge OVI – Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol, a Drug of Abuse, or Both.
“Operating a vehicle” is a broader term that encompasses more than just driving. It also covers operation of a vehicle that is not moving (for example if a driver is in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, but not moving), impairment while operating a boat or even a bicycle.
Two Theories Under Which You May Be Charged with OVI in Ohio
There are two ways a driver can be charged with OVI in Ohio.
1. Visible Impairment. Under the first theory of OVI, an officer charges you because you are showing visible signs impairment by alcohol or drugs.
An officer might have pulled you over after witnessing an alleged traffic violation: erratic driving, failure to use a turn signal, crossing a solid white or yellow line, failure to yield to a pedestrian, or throwing a piece of trash out the window.
Once you are pulled over, the officer might observe alcohol containers in your vehicle, smell of alcohol, observe bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or erratic behavior.
An officer may then request that you exit your vehicle and take the Field Sobriety Tests.
2. Exceeding Per Se Limit: You fail any of the chemical tests administered by the officer – breathalyzer, or blood/urine sample tests. If your blood alcohol or drug content exceeds per se limits set by the State of Ohio, you will be charged with OVI.
What is meant by “Per Se Limit”?
Per se means “by itself.” In other words, a test showing that your blood alcohol level is above the pre-set limit will, by itself, result in an automatic charge of OVI. So it possible that you are not feeling impaired, but if you fail the per se limit test, you will still be charged with DUI.
What are the Per Se Limits for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?
For alcohol charges, the court considers whether test outcomes for blood alcohol levels were “Low Test” or “High Test” as defined below:
Low Test: BAC is greater than or equal to .08% and less than .17%
High Test: BAC is greater than or equal to .17%
(There are additional criteria for urine test levels, but the blood alcohol content, or BAC, is most commonly tested.)
When suspected of DUI, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test or to submit a blood or urine sample. The tests are called chemical tests and are analyzed to determine if you are under the per se limit, or if you are over the limit at Low Test or High Test.
If the officer determines that you are impaired, you will be charged with DUI on the scene.
You will then most likely have to forfeit your license. Your license will be held on an Administrative License Suspension (ALS), which is different from a license suspension that is imposed as a penalty for a DUI conviction.
After you are charged, an attorney for the State of Ohio, a prosecutor, will be assigned to your case, and will attempt to convict you of the charges. To convict you, the prosecutor must show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Penalties for OVI Conviction
Penalties for OVI convictions are determined through a rather complicated system. The ideas can be hard to grasp, but our lawyers have years of experience in defending OVI charges, and have these details committed to memory.
Below is a summary of the most critical details to consider for each level of OVI conviction.
Restricted plates: Yellow license plates with red plate numbers to identify driver as repeat OVI offender.
Ignition Interlock Device: A device attached to a vehicle’s ignition that requires that the driver blow into the attached breathalyzer. The driver must pass the breath test in order to start the vehicle.
Jail time and other restrictions can sometimes be modified if client agrees to home monitoring, continuous acohol monitoring, or alcohol education.
There are additional considerations for 4th or 5th OVI convictions within a 10-year period or 6th OVI conviction in 20 years. Such offenses are charged as felonies and are very serious. Call us for more information if you have been charged with a 4th DUI or more.
The above chart deals with alcohol-related OVI. There are also drug-related OVI charges, which we will deal with separately.
Should I hire a DUI attorney?
For your best chance at beating or reducing OVI charges, you should hire an attorney.
Our attorneys have years of experience defending clients in southwest Ohio against drunk driving charges. We are very familiar with the courts in this area, and can help you navigate the system to obtain the best possible result for you.
(Related resource: “How to Hire a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust”)
Helping You Through the Court Process
At Dearie, Fischer & Mathews, our lawyers guide you through the whole legal process, from start to finish.
The courts are unfamiliar to most people, but we will guide you through your case from our first meeting until your case is resolved.
An OVI case typically progresses in the following stages, and our attorneys work closely with you at every step to help you make the best decisions.
This is the first court hearing after you are charged with DUI, and will occur very shortly after your arrest. It is important to have a lawyer with you even at this first hearing. In fact, in many cases, the lawyer may be able to appear for you, so you don’t have to miss work to be there.
At this hearing, you will be formally charged and asked to enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”. In most cases, we advise our clients to plead not guilty, and will challenge the charges.
At this this hearing, it may be possible to have your ALS suspended or to obtain driving privileges for you. If a bond has been set for you, we will try to get that lifted.
Assuming you plead not guilty, a Pretrial Conference date will be set.
GATHERING THE EVIDENCE
After the arraignment, we begin preparation for the Pretrial Conference, delve into the details of the case, and begin to gather the evidence.
First, we will comb through all of the details you can remember about the event. We will also obtain the police report, any video evidence, results of breathalyzer or blood and urine tests.
We will petition the prosecutor’s office for any additional evidence they have, including anything that may exonerate you (clear you of charges).
When we obtain the evidence, we will share it with you and explain the results.
DEVELOPING THE DEFENSE STRATEGY – PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS
At this stage we work closely with you to mount a defense that is unique to your situation. Your participation in this phase is absolutely crucial. We work very closely with our clients and involve them in every decision along the way. We will discuss with you all of the possible defenses that we can make in your favor.
There is a lot of evidence in a DUI case, and OVI law has a lot of rules about how the evidence must be obtained.
We study the evidence and look for ways that your rights may have been violated. We can often find legal challenges to the traffic stop, to the way tests were administered, and to the way the evidence was handled.
Perhaps you have taken a breathalyzer test, a Field Sobriety test, or have given a blood or urine sample to the police.
When presented with options, we will always give you our opinion, let you know the pros and cons of every option, and help you form the decision that is best for you. You will make the final decisions on how to proceed at each step.
The Pretrial Conference will be your first court appearance since your arraignment.
This is a very informal meeting where the defense attorney and the prosecutor go over the evidence and determine if either side is willing to make a deal, or enter into a plea bargain.
Your attorney will argue for dismissal of the case. If that is not possible, we will negotitate with the prosecutor based on the evidence to see if we can get the charges reduced. The prosecutor may agree to reducing charges or dismissing some of the charges in an exchange for a guilty plea for you (this is called a plead bargain). I will discuss any kind of plea bargain that is offered, and will make recommendations to you as to whether you should accept. In the end, the decision is yours.
At this time we may address any ALS suspension that was imposed at the time of your arrest. We will argue to have your driving privileges re-instated.
Sometimes the charges are dismissed at this hearing, concluding the matter.
If you enter into a plea arrangement, your lawyer will explain your sentence, and everything that you are agreeing to. All parties will then go before the judge to finalize the details of the deal. The judge will pronounce your sentence, and the matter will be concluded.
If an agreement cannot be reached between you and the prosecutor, then the matter continues, and we will begin to formally prepare for a trial.
FILING AND ARGUING MOTIONS WITH THE COURT
During this stage, we will formally challenge the evidence the state has against you. Your lawyer will officially file written motions with the court to suppress any problematic evidence.
Here is some of the evidence we will investigate thoroughly and challenge if necessary (not an exhaustive list):
• Was there probable cause for the traffic stop?
• Was the breath test administered correctly on reliable equipment,
by qualified personnel?
• Were any other tests administered properly?
• Was evidence handled according to proper protocol?
• Were your properly notified with Miranda warning?
• Were breathalyzer, blood, and urine samples tested within the appropriate window of time?
During this phase, we will likely approach the prosecutor to try to negotiate a favorable outcome for you. The prosecutor may also come to us with offers to reduce charges if you will plead to certain aspects of the charges against you.
Our attorneys will always discuss with you any offers the prosecutor makes, and give you our professional opinion on the pros and cons of taking the deal before entering into any such arrangement. You may determine that you would like to take a “deal,” or you may wish to proceed to trial.
Throughout the whole process, we have been preparing for this step. If we are not able to negotiate an agreement that is satisfactory to you, the case will go to trial.
At trial, we will either present the case to a judge or to a jury of your peers. From the outset, the court will consider you innocent until proven guilty, and the prosecutor will be required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you are guilty of OVI.
At Dearie, Fischer & Mathews, we set ourselves apart through our thorough preparation. This philosophy gives us in an advantage if trial is the best way to resolve your case. We have found that being prepared keeps us ahead of the opposition, and puts you, the client, in a position for the best possible outcome.
How much does a DUI lawyer cost?
When you call our firm for a free consultation, we will spend some time learning more about the details of your case and develop the best, effective defense strategy that will help you combat the charges. OVI law is very technical and complex. Each situation is different and requires individualized attention, preparation and defense strategy. During ourinitial conversation, we will have a clearer picture of your unique situation and will let you know up front what our fee for defending you will be.
At Dearie, Fischer & Mathews LLC, our lawyers have years of experience working with individuals charged with DUI or OVI. We know that it is important for someone charged with a drug, alcohol or other traffic offense to act quickly in order to protect his or her rights and legal defenses.
Many people make the costly mistake of assuming that they cannot fight these types of traffic charges. Our attorneys have over 20 years of combined experience representing clients charged with OVI and other traffic offenses. We can challenge the charges against you and argue your case to achieve the best possible result for you.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
At Dearie, Fischer & Mathews LLC, our experienced lawyers assist commercial drivers to defend their licenses and keep their driving privileges – even when faced with an OVI arrest. Our lawyers understand that a conviction for even a small traffic offense can have a serious impact on your livelihood. A CDL can be in jeopardy even if the driver was not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest. We help you get the best result possible with the intent of helping you keep your commercial driver’s license.
Fighting For Your Driving Privileges And Your Future
If you have been charged with impaired driving, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Beavercreek and Lebanon, we can be reached via phone at 513-932-5529 or 937-306-6402.
The lawyers at Dearie, Fischer & Mathews LLC, represent clients all throughout the following Ohio counties: Butler, Warren, Clermont, Clinton, Montgomery, and Greene counties.
In addition to DUI/OVI representation, our lawyers are experienced attorneys who can fight for you when you are faced with traffic tickets and other moving violations.