In Ohio, an OVI, otherwise known as a DUI, stands for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are actually two types of OVIs. OVI impaired and OVI Per se.
An officer charges a person with an OVI impaired when in the officer’s subjective opinion the way the person is driving, the way they pull over, how they look, how they smell, what they say to the officer and how they perform on the roadside standardized field sobriety tests indicate that they are too impaired to operate a vehicle.
An officer charges a person with an OVI Per se when they submit to a breath test and the result is higher than 0.08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration), or tests above certain thresholds for either alcohol or drugs on a blood or urine test.
How Can a DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?
If you’ve been charged with an OVI / DUI, it is critical to know all of your legal rights and options. It can mean the difference in potentially avoiding an OVI conviction, which can make a significant impact on your life. It can also mean the difference in avoiding significant jail time, a lengthy license suspension and many other costly penalties associated with an OVI conviction. For instance, field sobriety tests and breath tests are not infallible, and should not be considered as such.
When you’re charged with OVI / DUI, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you avoid some of the more serious consequences of conviction. A lawyer with experience handling OVI / DUI cases in Ohio courts will know what arguments work best and be able to negotiate with prosecutors to try to reduce your charge to one with less serious penalties and that can later be expunged. If the facts and the law are on your side, a lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed.
What Are the Effects of an OVI/DUI Charge and/or Conviction?
A conviction for OVI / DUI in Ohio can cause a ripple effect that touches your life for many years to come. The criminal penalties you face if convicted include possible jail time, fines, loss of your driver’s license, impoundment of your vehicle, and having to use yellow license plates or an ignition interlock on your car.
However, criminal penalties aren’t the only consequences of an OVI / DUI conviction. You may find that your conviction, and the resulting criminal record, creates many unexpected obstacles in your life. An OVI / DUI conviction can’t be expunged in Ohio, meaning it will follow you permanently.
These are just some of the ways an OVI / DUI conviction might affect your life:
- Employment — Many employers perform criminal background checks before hiring someone. If a potential employer sees an OVI / DUI in your history, you may not be offered the job, especially if it involves driving at all. Even if you already have a job, when there’s any driving done for the job some employers regularly check employees’ driving records and have internal policies about suspending or terminating someone for an OVI / DUI conviction even when your offense happened on your personal time and in your personal vehicle.
- Housing — People who own or manage rental properties may perform criminal background checks prior to renting to a possible tenant. An OVI / DUI conviction could be a barrier to renting an apartment or a house.
- College Admissions — College applications often will ask whether the applicant has any criminal history. A criminal OVI / DUI conviction may be the difference between an acceptance or a denial in a competitive applicant pool.
- Military Enlistment — If you were planning to join the military, an OVI / DUI conviction may prevent you from enlisting or being inducted.
- Security Clearances — If you are trying to get a government job or contract that requires a security clearance, you may be denied when the background check turns up your OVI / DUI conviction. The conviction could be deemed evidence that you lack sound judgment and can’t be trusted with sensitive or classified material.
- Professional Licenses — A criminal background check iss part of the process for many types of professional licensing applications. A conviction on your record could prevent you from being approved for a license to practice law, medicine, nursing, or other professions.
- Immigration — An OVI / DUI by itself may not affect your immigration status, but when coupled with another charge such as driving under suspension, or a vehicular assault or homicide, you could find yourself facing problems with your green card, resident status, or citizenship application.
- Custody — An OVI / DUI conviction and/or the associated driver’s license suspension could cause issues for you if you’re separated or divorced and in the midst of custody proceedings, especially if your children were in the car when you got pulled over.
- Travel — You could have problems trying to travel internationally with an OVI / DUI on your record. Some countries won’t allow you in if you have a criminal conviction, including for an OVI / DUI.
- Increased Insurance Rates — Every insurance company has its own internal policies about setting rates, but you may find that your insurance company raises your rates or even decides to drop you as too high a risk after an OVI / DUI conviction. You also may need an SR-22 insurance bond after a conviction, which is much more costly than regular insurance.