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Understanding Ohio’s DUI/OVI Laws

Being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) can have a serious impact on your life. Individuals arrested for driving under the influence are often overwhelmed and have a difficult time understanding all the legal terminologies that apply to their cases. Hiring an attorney from Mastandrea Law, LLC can help ensure you have all the knowledge you need to navigate the court system confidently.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence or operating a vehicle impaired (OVI), reach out to our Cleveland DUI/OVI attorney right away. We can help you understand your legal rights and options during a free and confidential consultation.

Call (216) 306-5105 or contact us online to get started. 

What Is the Difference Between DUI, OVI & DWI? 

DUI, OVI, and DWI are all various terms that apply to the crime of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of or impaired by alcohol or drugs. Different states refer to this crime differently, and some states have multiple driving under the influence laws, which may be referred to by slightly different names. 

Below is an overview of the difference between DUI, OVI, and DWI: 

  • DUI: DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” 
  • OVI: OVI stands for “operating a vehicle impaired.”
  • DWI: DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated.”

Although some states refer to each of these as a different crime, Ohio technically refers to these arrests as OVI. Conversely, DUI, OVI, and DWI are all loosely applied to any arrest involving drinking and driving.

If you are ever arrested for driving under the influence in Ohio, you will want to educate yourself on the basics of the Ohio state OVI laws. Additionally, you will want to consult a reputable defense attorney who can assist you throughout your case to ensure the best outcome. Exercising your constitutional right to representation can help you determine which legal defenses are available to you. Additionally, hiring an attorney will help ensure you are properly represented in court. 

The DUI/OVI Process

In Ohio, a person can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). Most Cleveland residents understand DUI charges as applying to cars but fail to realize that they can extend to include any type of vehicle a person can operate. 

Ohio’s expanded definition of a vehicle includes the following:

  • ATVs
  • Bicycles
  • Boats
  • Golf Carts
  • Mopeds
  • Tractors

Although it may sound simple in and of itself, a vehicle must be operated for a DUI charge to be applicable. Operating a vehicle does not only mean that the vehicle is being driven. A person can be charged with DUI/OVI if they fall asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle or if they stop on the side of the road to rest. Although these crimes are not as serious as actually driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can result in lesser charges that carry the possibility of fines, jail time, and the suspension of a driver’s license.

What Is the Legal Limit for DUI in Ohio?

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for Ohio drivers over 21 years of age is 0.08 percent—individuals with BACs over 0.170 percent face more severe fines and punishments. For individuals under 21 years of age, the limit is 0.02 percent. 

A person in Ohio does not have to be intoxicated to be arrested for driving under the influence. Individuals that fall below the legal limit can still be charged with driving while impaired. To arrest a driver for OVI, the officer must establish probable cause that the driver is under the influence and that they are impaired while driving.

An individual is considered “impaired” if they consume any amount of alcohol. Concerning OVI arrests, it is not a question of how much alcohol would affect their ability to drive, but how much the amount they did drink affected their ability to drive.

Protect Your Future by Partnering with Our Cleveland DUI Lawyers

If you are arrested for DUI or OVI, it is imperative that you contact a reputable DUI attorney to defend you. A driver’s license is essential to most adults. Do not attempt to represent yourself when so much is at stake. Attorney Rod Mastandrea is well-versed in criminal law and ready to represent you in your DUI or OVI case.


The Consequences of a DUI or OVI Conviction 

Individuals charged with driving under the influence face various charges, including: 

  • Jail time 
  • Fines 
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Interlock ignition device installation

The consequences of a DUI or OVI conviction can seriously disrupt a person’s life, financially or otherwise. It is in your best interest to consult with a reputable attorney to work with you on your case. At Mastandrea Law, LLC, we work aggressively toward a favorable outcome for clients charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

How to Stop the Suspension of Your Driver’s License

If you are charged with driving under the influence or operating a vehicle while impaired in Ohio, your license will be suspended for a minimum of six months. In either case, you have the right to request a hearing with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles within 30 days of your suspension date to contest the suspension.

It’s critical that you act quickly; if you wait too long, you will not be able to request a hearing, and your driver’s license will be suspended for six months or more. We encourage you to reach out to our Cleveland DUI/OVI lawyer as soon as possible for help requesting your hearing. 

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What Is Annie’s Law?

After the enactment of Annie’s law, individuals arrested after April 6, 2017, extended the option for the courts to fit a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. This law enables drivers to continue operating their vehicles instead of having their licenses suspended for an extended period.

Additionally, the amount of time between previous OVI convictions was extended from 6 to 10 years. This change drastically extends the look-back period afforded to judges when they are considering previous charges for sentencing purposes.

Felony & Misdemeanor OVI Charges

Individuals arrested for OVI are charged under either one of the two possible categories:

Misdemeanor OVI charges typically come with substantive consequences, but they are nothing in comparison to those of felony charges.

Individuals charged with felony OVI face a minimum of 60 days in jail, a license suspension, forfeiture of their vehicles, $1,350 in fines, and more. If you have been arrested for a felony OVI, it is imperative that you seek aggressive legal representation as soon as possible. Call Mastandrea Law, LLC today to speak with one of our qualified and skilled attorneys about your charges.

Driving Under the Influence Car Accident with Injury

When a person is involved in a car accident, it is a very stressful situation. Being charged with an OVI or DUI on top of a car accident can amplify the stress of the incident immensely. Even if your BAC was well below the legal limit, having even a trace of alcohol in your system at the time of an accident can drastically shift the blame to you.

In these cases, you must be prepared to fight diligently to protect your rights. Accidents involving DUI and OVI charges often require expert witnesses that go in and reconstruct the scene of the accident. It is imperative that a strong line of defense is presented in support of the defendant, or they will be charged criminally and possibly in civil court as well. If you are arrested for DUI with injury, contact Mastandrea Law, LLC as soon as possible.

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