Multiple OVI Offense Lawyers
Persuasive advocacy for repeat OVI offenders in Ohio
While many people consider drunk driving to be a minor offense, the government and prosecution in OVI cases take it very seriously. Multiple OVI charges in particular carry harsh penalties that can follow you for years. The government is more apt to prosecute drivers who have prior offenses out of concern that someone who drives under the influence of alcohol a second time is likely to continue to drive under the influence until someone is hurt or killed.
At Soroka & Associates, LLC in Columbus, we help people fight OVI charges and protect their rights. Our lawyers fight to suppress breath tests, blood tests, and field sobriety tests on the grounds that the police did not administer them correctly, or that the equipment was not valid. We explore whether treatment programs are a better solution than incarceration. We seek dismissals and acquittals. We also work to negotiate plea agreements that reduce the severity of the charge – especially when there are questions about the strength of the government’s case.
What is an OVI offense in Ohio?
OVI means Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of alcohol or drugs. You can be charged with an OVI if you drive a vehicle within Ohio and any of the following conditions apply:
- You are under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.
- Your blood alcohol concentration is “eight-hundredths of one per cent or more but less than seventeen-hundredths of one per cent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person's whole blood.”
- Other alcohol or drug measurements are met.
Normally, if the police suspect that you were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police will:
- Direct you to move off the highway and stop the vehicle.
- Ask you to submit to field sobriety tests to test your coordination and balance.
- Ask you to step out of your vehicle and observe your mannerisms, speech patterns, and attire.
- Observe anything that can be seen in your vehicle that may suggest intoxication
- Ask you to take a breathalyzer test.
- The police may also seek a blood or urine test.
In Ohio, all drivers give their implied consent to a “chemical test or tests of the person's whole blood, blood serum or plasma, breath, or urine” to detect any alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances. The officer is required to give a driver the following information in written form:
You now are under arrest for (specifically state the offense under state law or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance for which the person was arrested - operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of them; operating a vehicle while under the influence of a listed controlled substance or a listed metabolite of a controlled substance; operating a vehicle after underage alcohol consumption; or having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence).
If you refuse to take any chemical test required by law, your Ohio driving privileges will be suspended immediately, and you will have to pay a fee to have the privileges reinstated. If you have a prior conviction of OVI, OVUAC, or operating a vehicle while under the influence of a listed controlled substance or a listed metabolite of a controlled substance under state or municipal law within the preceding twenty years, you now are under arrest for state OVI, and, if you refuse to take a chemical test, you will face increased penalties if you subsequently are convicted of the state OVI.
You may be able to challenge the suspension by requesting an administrative license suspension hearing.
The police can seize your vehicle if you have a prior OVI conviction if certain conditions are met.
What are the penalties for repeat OVI offenses in Columbus?
Ohio uses a “look-back period” of six years, which means that any OVI offense within the past six years may affect the penalties for a new charge. Penalties increase with the number of offenses:
- First OVI. A first-time offense may be punishable by three days to six months in jail, as well as a fine of up to $1,000 and license suspension for three months to six years.
- Second OVI. If you are charged with a second OVI offense, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 10 days, or 20 days if you have a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or refuse to take the breathalyzer test. The maximum jail sentence is six months and fines range from $525 to $1,625. Your driver’s license could be suspended for one to five years.
- Third OVI. A third OVI conviction comes with a mandatory sentence of 30 days and a maximum of one year. Fines and penalties range from $850 to $2,750, and you must attend a mandatory addiction treatment program. Your license may be suspended from two to 10 years, and the state will seize your vehicle without compensating you. Drivers with three or more convictions must also install an ignition interlock device (IID) as a prerequisite to license reinstatement.
- Fourth OVI. A fourth conviction carries the same penalties as a third offense and others. A fourth offense is charged as a felony, with potential jail time of 60 days to one year. Fines range from $1,350 to $10,500, and your license may be suspended for three years to life.
- Fifth OVI. Fifth-time offenders are listed in Ohio’s habitual offender registry, a searchable public database that allows anyone to see your name, home address, and history of DUI/OVI convictions.
Note: as serious as these charges are – and they are – if you accidentally hurt or kill someone, the penalties will become much, much worse. You could face charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, a felony crime that can put you in prison for years. If you have been charged with OVI before, it is critical that you contact a Columbus criminal defense lawyer ASAP; delay will only hurt you in the end.
What defenses do your Columbus OVI defense lawyers assert?
At Soroka & Associates, our Columbus multiple OVI lawyers, assert all your Constitutional, legal, and factual defenses. These defenses commonly include:
- You did not have physical control of the vehicle.
- The police officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe you were driving while intoxicated – such as by observing you swerve, speed, or violate the Ohio traffic laws.
- The police officer did not follow proper procedures when giving you the test such as explaining your rights and explaining how to take the test.
- The tests were invalid because the equipment such as a breathalyzer machine was not properly and timely validated.
Many other defenses may apply depending on the circumstances.
In addition, we do thoroughly review your record to see if one or more prior offenses should not count against you. For example, if your earliest OVI conviction was more than six years prior to the date of your new offense, that early conviction may not count. If you were placed on a pre-trial diversion program and you completed all the conditions of the program, then that charge may not count against you.
Are there alternatives to incarceration for repeat OVI offenders in Columbus?
When someone in Columbus is charged with a second or subsequent OVI, that indicates the driver may have a substance abuse problem. Many people drink more than they should at a party or social gathering on occasion. Multiple OVI convictions indicate a driver has a more serious problem.
If you are found guilty of multiple OVIs, a judge may order a defendant to participate in a substance abuse treatment program after his/her imprisonment is completed.
Generally, even first-time offenders are not eligible for diversion programs. If convicted, you will be required to complete your prison sentence.
Our Columbus multiple OVI defense attorneys meet clients at our office located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205. We’re close to I-71 and Rt. 23. We also meet clients in detention centers and prisons if they haven’t been released on bail yet.
Contact our seasoned Columbus multiple OVI lawyers now
We understand how frightened you are. A first OVI is rough. A second, third, or subsequent OVI can mean a lengthy jail sentence, a large fine, and a loss of driving privileges. Your insurance premiums will skyrocket when you can drive again. You may be required to install an interlock ignition device. At Soroka & Associates, our Columbus multiple OVI defense lawyers work aggressively to secure your freedom. Call us at 614-918-4078 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation.