Many people who are arrested for an OVI in Ohio have a lot of questions. At Luftman, Heck, & Associates, we are always happy to give you clear answers to your important questions in person, but sometimes it helps to have some answers right away. Here are the answers to some of our Ohio OVI FAQs.
What is the difference between a DUI and an OVI?
OVI stands for operating a vehicle impaired, while DUI stands for driving under the influence. In reality, there is very little difference between the two; Ohio simply officially uses the OVI designation. The main difference is that in Ohio you can be arrested for an OVI simply for being in the driver’s seat with the keys within reach. The car doesn’t have to be moving or even running. Essentially, this means that you can be arrested for an OVI if you are found asleep in the driver’s seat with the radio on while drunk, even if you were not actually driving. To learn more about what an Ohio OVI charge specifically is, read more here.
Do I have to take a field sobriety test if I’m arrested for an OVI?
You never are obligated to take a field sobriety test under Ohio law. In fact, it is always best to politely refuse, as these tests can be subjective. If you fail, it will only be used against you further.
Can I still contest charges after failing a field sobriety test or a chemical test?
You always have the right to contest your arrest, and just because you failed a field sobriety test or BAC test does not automatically mean that your case will be lost. An experienced Ohio OVI attorney can review the evidence and help you decide on the best strategy for your individual case.
How serious is a felony OVI charge in Ohio?
A felony OVI / DUI charge in Ohio is a very serious offense that may bring with it a litany of damaging consequences. A convicted driver may face substantial jail time, steep penalties, and the loss of driving privileges that may last the rest of their lives.
What is implied consent?
Ohio law states that anyone who has a driver’s license has implicitly consented to a chemical test to determine the chemical concentration of alcohol or drugs in a person’s breath, blood, or urine after a formal OVI arrest. If you refuse, it can trigger an automatic suspension of your license apart from any OVI charges.
I refused a breath/blood/urine test. Can I still be convicted of a DUI?
Many people think that refusing a chemical test will automatically lead to dropped charges, but this isn’t always true. Law enforcement can still use other evidence to build an OVI case, including your behavior during arrest, the smell of alcohol in the car, and even the refusal itself as proof that you knew you wouldn’t pass.
Can I get my OVI charge reduced to reckless operation?
This is a very common perception, but not all first-time OVI charges can be reduced to reckless operation. It depends on the severity and facts of the case, the court’s opinion of the OVI, and many other factors. Still, a lawyer can assess the facts of your case and decide if it may be a good option to push for.
Can I represent myself in my Ohio OVI case?
Just like you have the right to an attorney, you also have the right to represent yourself in an Ohio OVI case. That said, it may not be a good idea. Unless you are very familiar with the court process and do not intend to contest the charges, it’s easy to find yourself in over your head. Just because you don’t understand court rules as well as an attorney does not mean you will be given any leniency; in fact, usually it hurts these defendants. An experienced OVI attorney, on the other hand, has the experience and knowledge to manage the court proceedings and build a more effective defense.
In this way, law is just like any other matter. You may be able to do the basics, but you usually get a better outcome with professional help. I know that I can treat a cold myself at home, but if I need real medical treatment, I need to go to a doctor. The same is true with law. In a matter as serious as an OVI arrest, it can be a big risk to try to represent yourself.
If I’m convicted of an Ohio OVI, does that mean my license will always be suspended?
Generally, if you fail a chemical test, your license is automatically suspended for 90 days. After that, it depends. You may get driving privileges reinstated soon after, but often the suspension lasts six months. That said, you may be able to get your license reinstated if you use a device like ignition interlock. Your attorney will be able to explain these options to you.
How much time will contesting an OVI take?
How long a case will take depends on the individual circumstances of each case. That said, you will need to take the time to sit down and discuss your case with an attorney and to appear as required in court. Still, these times are nothing compared to the potential consequences you could face if you were not arrested.
What does it mean for me if it isn’t my first OVI arrest?
After a first offense, the OVI penalties increase dramatically. When you are facing these more severe penalties (and usually less sympathy from law enforcement and the courts), it is important to get an experienced OVI attorney who understands the higher stakes.
What’s the worst thing that can happen to me because of an OVI arrest?
People hear horror stories about lives ruined after an OVI, which can make facing these charges nerve-wracking for anyone. At Luftman, Heck, & Associates, though, we want to remind you that the worst-case scenario can be changed into a best-case scenario with the right strategy and legal team. Trust the experienced team of Ohio OVI lawyers at our offices to help you get through this trying time with the support you need. Call us today at (614) 500-3836 to set up a free consultation on your case to find out how we may be able to help.