Driving under the influence (DUI), which is also referred to as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), is a serious offense in Ohio. DUI and OVI offenses in the state are usually penalized by some of the harshest consequences under the law, which include excessive legal fines and mandatory jail time.
If you have been charged with DUI or OVI in Cleveland, Ohio, you have the right to defend yourself. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers at Patituce & Associates can negotiate with prosecutors and fiercely advocate for you. We know exactly what to do to get your DUI charge dropped.
Call us today at 440-471-7784 for a free consultation with our Cleveland DUI lawyers.
What Is the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limit in Ohio?
If you are arrested or charged with DUI/OVI in Cleveland, OH, you will be required to submit to a chemical test in the form of a urine, blood, or breath test to assess your blood alcohol content (BAC). The legal BAC limit for DUI is 0.08, and if you test over that, you will face OVI charges. If you test over 0.17 BAC, this is a higher category that subjects you to additional mandatory penalties.
What Penalties Can I Face for a DUI in Ohio?
DUI penalties in Ohio are usually quite serious. The punishment will vary depending on your BAC level and the number of prior DUI/OVI convictions you have from the past 6 years. Whether you are arrested for a first or repeat DUI offense, you should speak with the experienced Cleveland DUI lawyers at Patituce & Associates to improve your chances of securing a favorable outcome.
For a first-offense DUI, you risk facing the following penalties without the right legal representation.
- 3 days in jail or a Driver Intervention Program (DIP) for up to 6 months
- Fines ranging from $250 to $1,000
- License suspension for a period ranging from 6 months to 3 years
- Optional alcohol/drug abuse treatment based on the ruling of the judge
- Driving privileges are granted 15 days after the arrest
If it isn’t your first DUI offense, the potential penalties could include immobilization or forfeiture of your vehicle. Fortunately, with our Cleveland DUI lawyers at Patituce & Associates, you can receive restricted driving privileges that allow you to travel to and from important places such as work.
The penalties for a second DUI offense include:
- 10 days in jail or 3 days in jail and 3 days DIP for a period of up to 6 months
- Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
- Mandatory alcohol/drug abuse assessment and treatment
- License suspension for a period ranging from 1 to 5 years
- 90 days vehicle immobilization if registered to the offender
- Driving privileges are granted 75 days after the arrest
The penalties for a third DUI offense include:
- 30 days in jail or 15 days in jail and 55 days house arrest with electrical monitoring (HAEM) and/or continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM)
- Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
- Vehicle forfeiture of registered to the offender
- Optional restricted plates, and interlock required at the owner’s expense
- License suspension for a period ranging from 2 to 10 years
- Driving privileges granted after 1 year
Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Offense
The penalties for a fourth, fifth, or sixth DUI offense, which is considered a felony in Ohio include:
- Fines ranging from $800 to $10,000
- Up to 120 days in jail or 120 days in prison with an optional additional 6 to 30 months
- Mandatory alcohol/drug abuse treatment
- License suspension for a period of 3 years
- Optional restricted plates, and interlocks are required at the owner’s expense.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Ohio?
If you are pulled over in Ohio for a suspected DUI, the police officer will conduct a breathalyzer test or a sobriety test of some type. In Ohio, you have the right under the law to refuse any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests. However, doing so means being penalized immediately.
The penalties for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test or refusing to cooperate with the officer are stiff and may include immediate revocation of your driver’s license for a period of up to 1 year for a first offense.
Implied Consent Laws in Ohio
The “implied consent” law in Ohio requires all drivers lawfully arrested for an OVI to submit to chemical testing to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) or quantity of drugs in the person’s system. For there to be a lawful arrest, the officer that stops you should have reasonable grounds for believing that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What Is a Felony DUI in Ohio?
Felony DUI is defined under Ohio law as anyone that has been convicted of 3, 4, or additional DUI offenses within the previous 10 years or 5 DUI convictions within the previous 20 years of the DUI charge, or another felony on their record.
If you’re facing a felony DUI/OVI charge in Cleveland, Ohio, it is critical that you consult with our DUI lawyers at Patituce & Associates. We will work diligently to ensure the most favorable outcome for your case. Call us today at 440-471-7784 to set up an appointment.
Common Defenses in DUI Cases
Our legal team at Patituce & Associates in Cleveland, Ohio is highly experienced in defending DUI cases and will use their extensive legal expertise to develop the strongest defense. Here are some of the common defense strategies we use in DUI cases.
Lack of Probable Cause for Stop
The United States Constitution guarantees you several rights, one of which is freedom from unreasonable seizures and searches under the Fourth Amendment. The relevant aspect of this right in DUI cases is the protection from being pulled over without probable cause in a traffic stop.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Cleveland Police Officers, and other local law enforcement officers are trained to look for signs of possible drunk or drugged driving on the road. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Drifting into other lanes
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Taking excessively wide turns
- Stopping without apparent cause
- Driving 10 mph or less below the speed limit
If your arresting officer is unable to provide a valid justification for pulling you over, our DUI lawyers at Patituce & Associates can use this oversight in your defense strategy.
Challenging the Accuracy of Tests
Numerous aspects of the chemical testing process during a suspected DUI traffic stop can be argued as either ineffective or improperly implemented. This includes field sobriety tests administered in the incorrect way, which makes them invalid in court.
Science is equally not perfect. Errors in DUI chemical testing, such as breath, blood, or urine tests, can be used to weaken the case the prosecution has against you. Some common errors in this testing include the following:
- Lack of sample refrigeration
- Sample contamination
- Failure to document evidence properly
- Improperly calibrated machinery
- Failures in the evidence chain of custody
Our Cleveland DUI lawyers at Patituce & Associates will carefully examine every aspect of the testing used by the arresting law enforcement agency. If we find any evidence of errors, we can use that to our advantage in developing a favorable motion, such as one to suppress evidence.
How Can a Cleveland DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?
Our Cleveland DUI defense lawyers will help you fight DUI charges. In some instances, this defense could result in the complete dismissal of your charges. Other times, it could be negotiating a plea for a lesser charge. Here are the various ways the legal team at Patituce & Associates can help you.
Our lawyers have the proper legal training to identify and challenge evidence. They have the experience to know if a piece of evidence against you was improperly obtained. If there was evidence tampering, our lawyers would use this as grounds for case dismissal.
Access to Experts and Witnesses
Our DUI defense lawyers have access to all the experts and witnesses required to testify in your case. They will sit with these experts and witnesses to prepare them for the testimony at trial. While we cannot coach witnesses on what to say, we can prepare them with sample questions the prosecution is likely to ask.
Filing the Correct Documents and Following the Right Procedures
Filing the incorrect document or following the incorrect procedure may ruin your case. Our lawyers don’t struggle with deadlines or correctly filling out certain legal documents. So, hire our DUI defense lawyers to handle the filing of court processes.
Present Your Strongest Case
Our lawyers can explore various avenues of defense. They will examine all the facts to present your strongest case to the court. Even though the evidence might seem stacked against you, our lawyers can always mitigate the penalties.
Explore a Beneficial Plea Deal
It is not always possible for us to secure a dismissal or acquittal. At the same time, the prosecution may recognize that their evidence simply doesn’t guarantee a conviction. In both circumstances, a plea deal in which you accept guilt for an offense other than DUI/OVI can be offered.
If that happens, our DUI defense lawyers will examine the strength of your defense to determine whether entering a plea deal is your best option.
Facing DUI Charges in Cleveland, Ohio? We Can Help You Avoid Harsh Penalties!
Ohio is particularly strict when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or OVI and need legal representation, you need to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. Fortunately, that’s exactly what we offer at Patituce & Associates in Cleveland, Ohio.
Our experienced DUI lawyers can help you build the strongest case possible to get the best verdict for your future. We will provide a high level of legal counsel that’s not only straightforward but also effective. We focus on several factors in your arrest such as why you were stopped, why you may have been tested, or if the tests were conducted properly.
To discuss your charges and possible defense options in the form of a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, call us today at 440-471-7784. You can rest assured that we will be your biggest advocate, fighting hard to defend your name and freedom throughout the entire process. We look forward to hearing from you.