Central Ohio Lawyer Helps You Fight DUI/OVI Charges
Experienced Columbus attorney protects drivers’ rights
Driving or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a first degree misdemeanor offense in Ohio, carrying the potential for jail time, fines and other serious consequences like loss of license and crushing insurance premiums. A conviction can arise whether or not a motorist submitted to chemical testing. Motorists stopped for drunken driving should know their rights, including their right to consult a lawyer. At James Sweeney Law, LLC, I offer Ohio drivers knowledgeable and proficient defense against DUI/OVI charges and proven strategies for mitigation of penalties.
Helping drivers understand Ohio’s DUI/OVI laws
As someone whose practice is focused on criminal and traffic defense, I am well versed in the complexities of Ohio DUI/OVI law and can fully advise you of your rights.
Ohio generally requires motorists lawfully arrested for DUI/OVI to submit to testing of breath, blood or urine to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in their system. Refusal to take such a test will trigger what is called an Automatic License Suspension (ALS).
A person can be charged with DUI/OVI for driving or operating a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. For those under 21, the threshold is just .02 percent. A DUI/OVI can also result from having a certain concentration of amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, or PCP in the body.
Penalties depend on the suspect’s blood alcohol level. For a BAC of more than .08 but less than .17 percent, a first offense carries a mandatory minimum of three-days in jail or three-days in a Drivers Intervention program, a maximum six-month jail sentence, fines of $375 to $1,075 and suspension of driver’s license for one to three years. For a BAC above .17 percent, the law provides for more jail time, higher fines and mandatory display of yellow plates that identify you as convicted of a DUI.
Penalties also depend upon whether or not the suspect has any prior DUI/OVI convictions. Due to a law passed in 2017, Annie’s Law, the normal look back period was extended from six to ten years. For those who have a prior DUI/OVI conviction during the look back period, the potential minimum penalties are enhanced. For those individuals, refusing to submit to chemical testing lead to even higher minimum penalties
A conviction for DUI/OVI in Ohio carries six points on your Ohio Driver’s License.
Raising the strongest tailored DUI/OVI defense possible
I mount the best defense for each one of my clients based on the unique facts of their cases. Among the possible challenges to prosecution for DUI/OVI are:
- Lack of reasonable suspicion — If the police did not have probable cause for pulling you over in the first place, then any evidence collected, including a field sobriety test, could be suppressed.
- Faulty Breathalyzer test— While Breathalyzer test results are generally not challengeable on their face, a defense attorney can investigate the method by which the test was conducted and may be able to prove error on the part of the machine operator.
- Late blood testing —Ohio law says such test results are admissible only if the test is conducted within three hours of when the suspect was driving.
- Coerced statements or testing — You may raise the defense that a police officer violated your rights by failing to inform you of your rights after being placed in custody or that you were coerced into sobriety testing.
I fight for clients during every phase of the legal process, which can include negotiating a plea to a lesser charge that avoids mandatory penalties. In Ohio, a DUI/OVI may be reduced to a charge of reckless operation (a 2 or 4-points offense) or physical control of a motor vehicle under the influence (a no-points offense).
I also pursue alternative sentencing options, such as a 72-hour driver intervention program in lieu of the three-day minimum sentence for a first offense. And I seek mitigation of license suspension, such as a restricted license that allows the holder to drive to and from work.
Contact a skilled DUI/OVI attorney in Columbus for a consultation
A DUI/OVI conviction can affect your driving privileges, your car insurance rates and even your career. If you are charged, you should contact a qualified attorney to begin your defense right away. Call James Sweeney Law, LLC in Columbus at 614-546-5653 or contact me online for a consultation.