Published On: November 18, 2022Categories: DUI, DUI Lawyer, OVI, OVI Lawyer

In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you or a loved one has been arrested for an OVI charge, you may not yet know what the consequences of that charge are. Read on to learn more about OVI charges and how OVI lawyers can help you.

What is an OVI Charge?driver side rear view mirror looking back towards a police car with its lights flashing

An OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) charge is essentially the same as a DUI or DWI charge in other states. In Ohio, an OVI can be charged if you are driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Depending on the severity of your BAC (blood alcohol content), you may be charged with a first, second, third, or fourth degree OVI.

Immediate Consequences

If you are stopped by law enforcement and found to be operating a vehicle while impaired, you will be arrested and charged with an OVI. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may face different consequences.

Breathalyzer and Chemical Tests

If a law enforcement officer suspects you are driving while impaired, they will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer and/or chemical test. You do have the right to refuse, however , the consequences of refusing a test are usually more severe than submitting to one. If your BAC is found to be over the legal limit, or you are found with drugs in your system you will be charged with an OVI.

Your Car Will be Impounded 

One of the first things that will happen if you are arrested for an OVI is that your car will be impounded. This means that your car will be towed to an impound lot and you will have to pay to get it released. The cost of impounding your car can range from $150 to $500, depending on the length of time your car is stored. In some cases, your car may be auctioned off if you are unable to pay the impound fees.

You Will Have to Appear in Court 

Another consequence of an OVI is that you will have to appear in court. This is usually a misdemeanor offense, which means you will not go to jail unless there are aggravating factors involved in your case. Some examples of aggravating factors include: 

  • Being arrested while having a minor in your vehicle
  • Being the cause of an accident 
  • Having a high blood alcohol content (BAC) 
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test 
  • Having prior OVI convictions 

The good news is there are specialty OVI lawyers who can help you navigate that process.

What are the Long Term Consequences of an OVI Charge?DUI LAW book in the hands of a attorney. OVI lawyer prepared to help someone with an ovi charge

The consequences of an OVI charge can range from fines and license suspension to serving jail time. A judge will determine what is necessary in each individual case. Some consequences include:

License Suspension and “Party Plates”

In the event of an OVI conviction, you may be subject to a license suspension for up to three years. The length of the suspension will depend on whether or not you have any prior convictions, but it could be anywhere from 90 days to five years. The court may also require that you affix “party plates” to your vehicle, and display them for 2-3 years after your license is restored.

Fees and Programs

These vary from case to case, and may include restitution to any victims as well as court costs. Additionally, you may be required to pay a mandatory fine of up to $1,000 and attend a driver intervention program. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device in your car, which requires you to pass a breath test before starting the car. If you fail, the engine will not start, and law enforcement will be notified of your failure. These can cost up to $1,000 for installation and monitoring.

Jail Time and Criminal Record

Depending on the severity of your OVI charge, you may be facing jail time. A first-time offender can receive up to 6 months in jail, and multiple offenses can result in much longer sentences. Additionally, an OVI conviction will remain on your criminal record for at least five years or even indefinitely in some cases. This could potentially impact your ability to obtain gainful employment and housing.

How an OVI Lawyer can Help

An OVI conviction can have serious consequences, but a skilled OVI lawyer may be able to help you avoid some of the more severe penalties. At The Martinez Firm, our skilled OVI lawyers  will provide you with individualized and aggressive legal representation. Contact us today for a consultation, we look forward to helping you get the best possible outcome for your OVI charge.