If you are in actual physical possession of a vehicle and are found to be impaired with alcohol or drugs, you can be charged with Operating a Vehicle Impaired or OVI.
A conviction for OVI in Cincinnati or the surrounding counties can have a serious effect on your ability to drive and can affect your livelihood, your finances, your job, and ultimately your freedom. Even if you are arrested, this does not mean you will be convicted.
An experienced Cincinnati traffic defense lawyer can protect your legal rights and fight to keep you out of jail. The Wieczorek Law Firm provides a free case evaluation you can take advantage of to learn about your legal options for fighting against these charges.
Why Do I Need A Cincinnati DUI Attorney?
A conviction for OVI can derail your life, potentially resulting in incarceration, job loss and the loss of your driving privileges. An experienced OVI defense lawyer can fight to avoid these consequences by identifying factors or defenses that can benefit your case and give you grounds to seek a dismissal or reduction of the charges or to have you acquitted at trial.
Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may be able to lodge a sound legal argument based on factors such as:
- An illegal stop by law enforcement
- Lack of reasonable suspicion to initiate a stop
- Lack of probable cause to detain or arrest you
- Improper field sobriety test administration
- Violations of your constitutional rights
- Procedural violations
- Lack of Miranda warnings
- Lack of informed consent warning
- Faulty testing procedures
- Medical conditions that explain erroneous results
- Inconclusive chemical, blood, or urine test results
- The testing machine was not properly calibrated
- The testing kit was expired
- The chain of custody of the testing kit was broken
The prosecution has the burden of proof in a criminal case, so it must show that the defendant committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Our team will work tirelessly to challenge the prosecution’s case against you.
At Wieczorek Law Firm, our goal is to achieve the best outcome that is possible for your case. We will explain your legal rights and options and make every sound legal argument that is available for your case. We will advocate for you every step of the way.
OVI Attorney: Mark Wieczorek
Attorney Mark Wieczorek has handled thousands of cases and understands how to build a strong defense in OVI cases. He left a lucrative career at a big law firm to help the people in Ohio who need it most. He provides personal attention, reasonable rates, and diligent, relentless defense in every OVI case we handles. Below are real reviews from real clients he’s helped with OVI charges:
“Extremely professional and efficient”
I knew I was in good hands just by his handshake, I had an OVI reduced to a reckless operation, my license is now valid 5 months after the incident! This is unbelievable work! My lessons are learned and now to New levels. Thank you guys so much for your help. Extremely professional and efficient you will be in good hands with this organization!
Mark will put his full effort into your case!”
Mark is an excellent attorney! I was recently convicted for an OVI charge in October 2019. I also had a prior in 2007. I received 1-year license suspension, along with 72-hour driver intervention program, but no jail time! And did receive driving privileges to and from work. I was very pleased with the outcome. Mark will put his full effort into your case! I would recommend him to anyone!
I was facing an incredibly difficult OVI case and Mark used the facts of the case to get me acquitted. Mark’s knowledge of the law and ability to analyze a case are incredible. It was difficult for me to keep my faith in the process at first, but when it was all over I realized just how methodical and detail-oriented Mark’s legal style really is. His experience with the justice system is an incredible asset to anyone seeking legal representation. No two cases are identical, but if I had to do it all over again I would have Mark as my attorney. He gave me my life back, and I can never thank him enough.
What was previously known as DUI is now referred to as OVI in Ohio, which stands for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence. However, the terms are basically synonymous. If you are found in actual physical possession of a vehicle and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher or under the influence of controlled substances, you can be charged with this crime.
In most OVI cases, the case begins as a routine traffic stop. 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, the police officer 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
- 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 existing 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 OneLegged 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 officer’s 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.
Types Of OVI Offenses In Ohio
In Ohio, the OVI law is outlined in Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code:
(A)(1) No person shall operate any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley within this state, if, at the time of the operation, any of the following apply:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.
(b) The person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one percent or more but less than seventeen-hundredths of one percent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s whole blood.
(c) The person has a concentration of ninety-six-thousandths of one percent or more but less than two hundred four-thousandths of one percent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s blood serum or plasma.
(d) The person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more but less than seventeen-hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person’s breath.
(e) The person has a concentration of eleven-hundredths of one gram or more but less than two hundred thirty-eight-thousandths of one gram by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of the person’s urine.
(f) The person has a concentration of seventeen-hundredths of one percent or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s whole blood.
(g) The person has a concentration of two hundred four-thousandths of one percent or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s blood serum or plasma.
(h) The person has a concentration of seventeen-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person’s breath.
(i) The person has a concentration of two hundred thirty-eight-thousandths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of the person’s urine.
The potential charges that you face will depend on various factors, including the alleged level of impairment, your previous record of OVI convictions, and the presence of any aggravating factors.
The potential charges include:
- First OVI – This offense can be charged if an individual is found to have operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher or if your ability to operate a motor vehicle was appreciably impaired. It is typically charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Second OVI – This crime is charged when someone has been charged with an OVI for the second time within 10 years of a prior OVI conviction or refused the test and has a prior conviction within the last 20 years. It is also typically charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Third OVI – This offense is charged when you have been charged with a third OVI offense within 10 years of two prior OVI convictions or refused the test and has a prior conviction within the last 20 years. It is also charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Felony OVI – If an individual has been convicted of four or five previous OVI violations within 10 years of their current DUI offense or conviction of six DUI offenses within 20 years of their current OVI offense, they can be charged with felony OVI in Ohio. This is generally charged as a fourth-degree felony.
- Aggravated Vehicular Assault – Per Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.08, if the individual operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes serious physical harm to a person or fetus, they can face charges of aggravated vehicular assault. This offense can be charged as a second or third-degree felony.
- Aggravated Vehicular Homicide – Outlined in Section 2903.06 of the Ohio Revised Code, if the individual operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes death to a person or fetus, they can face charges of aggravated vehicular homicide. This offense can be charged as a first- or second-degree felony. If the offender has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to charges of Aggravated Vehicular Assault, or Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, or OVI (within 10 years), the court may impose a mandatory prison term of put to fifteen years, per Section 2929.142
View this comprehensive penalties chart for operating a vehicle under the influence.
All of the offenses above can result in significant penalties and require a strong and personalized defense to have a chance at a favorable outcome. These criminal charges are also in addition to an administrative process that can result in your license suspension.
What To Do If Pulled Over For An OVI In Ohio
If you are pulled over for suspicion of OVI, there are certain steps you can take to protect your rights and freedom. First, be polite but do not volunteer information to the police. Refuse to complete any field sobriety tests, which are designed to show you are intoxicated, not to prove you aren’t. Invoke your right to speak to an attorney. Do not sign any documents or waivers of your rights. Do not consent to a search of your vehicle. Law enforcement officers will try to get as much evidence as possible to use against you, so don’t make the mistake of providing it to them.
Can I Refuse A Breath Test If Pulled Over For An OVI In Ohio?
Under Ohio law, all drivers give implied consent to DUI testing by virtue of driving on any road in the state. Therefore, if you are pulled over, you have already agreed to submit to a chemical breath, blood, or urine test to determine the presence of alcohol or a controlled substance in your system. Refusing to submit to testing as part of a valid OVI stop can result in an administrative driver’s license suspension.
However, if your license is suspended as part of this process, you can choose to appeal this decision. You must take prompt action to assert your rights and you will need a viable defense to your refusal, such as that the stop was not a valid OVI stop. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can discuss your options if you refuse testing.
Not being able to drive can equate to loss of your job, additional stress on you and your family and serious hardships in a multitude of areas in your life. Our goal is to put 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 in assessing the case in its entirety and 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.
Are You Looking for an OVI/DUI Lawyer in Southern Ohio?
An OVI or DUI charge can severely affect your life—it can result in fines, a suspended license, and even imprisonment. A Cincinnati criminal lawyer can help you deal with the fallout from an OVI charge. Having legal representation to fight your DUI charge may not be required but will be beneficial in the long run. Hiring a lawyer will help your peace of mind. They will pursue the best course of action to ensure success. An experienced DUI attorney understands the legal system and can negotiate on your behalf for a reduced sentence or even have the case dismissed.
If you are looking for a DUI lawyer, contact The Wieczorek Law Firm. Our team has experience in successfully handling DUI cases across the state. We will examine the facts and create a strategy that suits your case. Call us at (513) 317-5987 for a free consultation or complete our contact form.