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OVI/DUI Overview in Cincinnati, OH
What was previously known as DUI is now referred to OVI in Ohio. However, the terms are basically synonymous. An arrest for OVI in Cincinnati or the surrounding counties can have a serious effects on your ability to drive and can affect the your livelihood, your finances, your job and ultimately your freedom.
Initially the police officer generally spots a minor traffic violation and initiates a traffic stop. This is known as the stopping sequence. After pulling you over, he is trained to observe specific signs of impairment such as: bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, an odor of an alcoholic beverage, fumbling for your license, and a variety of other indicators of impairment.
If the officer has an articulable reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, he or she will order you out of the car. This is known as the exiting sequence. Upon exiting the vehicle, the officer is scrutinizing your every move. Did you stumble, hold on to the car for balance, or not follow their instructions.
Most likely the officer will then administer a series of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that are mandated under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The tests may include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (follow the pen with your eyes), the Walk and Turn (9 steps up the line, turn, and 9 steps back down the line), and the One Legged Stand (balance on one foot). The important issue here is not only your performance, but the manner in which the tests were administered. Click Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) to see why this matters.
While performing these tests, the officer is trained and most likely certified to spot a variety of “clues” that are correlated with the likelihood that you would test at a .10 on a breath test if administered.
It is important with any OVI defense that your attorney be certified in NHTSA in order to understand and assess whether the officer substantially complied with the NHTSA manual when administering the tests. Failure to substantially comply with NHTSA may result in the tests being suppressed and not being able to be used by the State against you to establish probable cause to arrest. Click Motion to Suppress for more information on a motion to suppress evidence as a defense.
If, in the officers opinion, your ability to operate your motor vehicle was appreciably impaired, you will be arrested and charged with OVI. Keep in mind, even if you subsequently take a chemical test and test UNDER the legal limit, you still may be charged with OVI under the impairment section of the Ohio Revised Code.
Upon arrest, if you test over the legal limit after taking ANY chemical test (breath, blood or urine) or refused ANY chemical test, you will be placed under an Administrative License Suspension (”ALS”) immediately, your driver’s license will be confiscated and your right to drive will be suspended.
Further, you will not be eligible for limited driving privileges for either 15 or 30 days on a first time offense under the ALS. This suspension is known as a “hard” suspension that must be served prior to the judge granting any limited driving privileges. More information on the ALS suspension.
Not being able to drive can equate to loss of your job, additional stress on you and your family and serious hardships on a multitude of areas in your life. Our goal is to out you back on the road and driving as soon as possible. One way of circumventing the “hard suspension” associated with the ALS is to appeal it and WIN! Click here for more information on the appeal of the ALS.
Not only will your driver’s license be suspended administratively, if convicted of a Cincinnati OVI, you will be facing additional penalties. Among which are 3 days in jail or a driver’s intervention program, up to $1075 fine and up to a 3 YEAR DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION. In addition, if this is your 2nd offense or more…..the penalties are even more severe. Click here to see the comprehensive list of penalties associated with an Ohio OVI conviction.
As you can see, the stakes are high any time you are charged with a Cincinnati OVI. Early intervention is the key. Typically the sooner we become involved, the better outcome our client’s have. We can file the appropriate motions to appeal the ALS, to preserve the police cruiser video, file for complete discovery and draft and file a motion to suppress evidence to challenge the stop, the field sobriety tests, the arrest and any chemical test that was given.
We believe is assessing the case in its entirety. Determining where the strengths and weaknesses lie. Developing a theory of litigation to best overcome the State’s strengths and exploit the weaknesses to a level that warrants a dismissal, a reduction, or a verdict of not guilty.