If you have been charged with a DUI, an offense the State of Ohio refers to as OVI or operating a vehicle while under the influence, it is vital to understand your legal rights and responsibilities, as well as the penalties you may face. Similarly, if you received any traffic citation, understand what rights you have so you may better exercise them and push for a more positive resolution.
You will also want to retain an attorney right away. Levy Law Offices can walk you through the process, ensure you follow the required steps, and fight to either have your charges dropped or your penalties reduced. To speak with an attorney in Cincinnati for a DUI or any other traffic offenses, call Levy Law Offices at 513-587-1323.
DUI lawyer experiece: What can I expect in traffic court?
Unfortunately, most people just agree to citations and their penalties without fighting back, but you have rights that you can exercise, and you certainly should not just accept fines or points on your license if you did not deserve them. After you receive a traffic citation, the general legal process for traffic court proceeds as follows:
- Arraignment: You will appear in court for your initial hearing, called an arraignment. The judge will explain your charges and ask you to enter a plea. If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you on the spot.
- Pre-trial: If you plead not guilty, the judge will schedule you for pre-trial if necessary, where you, your attorney, and the prosecutor meet to discuss the charges and try to come to an agreement prior to trial.
- Trial: If an agreement cannot be reached or if pre-trial was not scheduled, your case will be heard by the judge during trial. The judge (and jury if you have one) will hear the prosecutor’s evidence against you, and then your attorney’s rebuttal. After considering all evidence, the judge/jury will find you guilty or not guilty, and the judge will sentence you.
The above is a brief overview of what to expect if charged with a traffic offense; it is not personalized legal advice. You will need an attorney to counsel you on the specifics of your case.
What potential penalties do I face for DUI/OVI charges in Ohio?
Potential penalties for traffic offenses vary depending on the nature of the offense. They usually entail fines, points on your license, revoked or suspended driving privileges, and even jail time.
OVI charges have particularly stiff penalties. The severity of the penalties you face, detailed in Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, depend on your history of DUIs:
- First offense: three days to six months in jail, up to $1,075 in fines, and a six-month to three-year driver’s license revocation. The judge may allow you to substitute DUI class for jail time.
- Second offense: ten days (minimum) to six months in jail, up to $1,625 in fines, a license revocation of up to five years, and electronic home monitoring for up to six months.
- Third conviction: up to a year in jail, up to $2,750 in fines, and a license revocation of up to 10 years.
- Fourth conviction: fourth and subsequent DUIs are a felony offense. Penalties include up to 30 months in jail, up to $10,500 in fines, vehicle impoundment, permanent license suspension, and entry into an alcohol treatment program.
If your blood alcohol content level was at or above 0.17, your mandatory minimum sentencing may increase.
How can I defend against DUI charges and other traffic offenses?
Not everyone charged with a DUI or given a traffic citation is guilty. You have the right to fight the charges in court and provide evidence to support your case. The best way to defend against charges is to consult a defense lawyer and build a strong defense.
Perhaps officers improperly calibrated the breathalyzer or administered it incorrectly. Perhaps you were using medication that affected the results of your sobriety test. Maybe the traffic stop was unlawful and therefore the evidence inadmissible. There are numerous defenses that may be applicable, depending on your case. We can advise and represent you accordingly.
Let our defense attorneys advocate on your behalf and represent you in court, if necessary. Contact Levy Law Offices in Cincinnati for consultation at 513-587-1323 now.