Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drug (OVI) charges can be a real nightmare for an Ohio driver to navigate. People get pulled over or arrested after a crash. They may then worry about what a possible OVI conviction might mean for their future.
Someone who has been arrested due to impaired driving allegations probably has a lot of questions. The three inquiries below are among the most common. Answering those questions can help people decide how to move forward after an arrest.
What are the possible penalties?
The consequences of an OVI conviction depend on multiple factors. Someone’s driving record, the outcome of the incident and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) all influence the penalties possible. Assuming that the incident did not cause injury to others and does not involve a particularly high BAC, a first-time OVI can lead to between three days and six months in jail, a license suspension for one to three years and up to $1,075 in fines.
Second offenses within 10 years of the first may lead to between 10 days and six months in jail, $1,675 in fines and up to seven years without a driver’s license. Subsequent OVI charges with multiple prior convictions, cases involving injury to others and situations with particularly high BACs may involve far more serious penalties.
Could a guilty plea reduce the penalty possible?
Many motorists do not like the idea of going to trial after an OVI arrest. They do not want to spend time in court and worry about the expense involved in defending themselves. The idea of pleading guilty and asking the courts for a lenient sentence is certainly appealing. However, judges have control over the sentencing when someone pleads guilty. A judge could choose to impose the maximum sentence possible under state law. Drivers could still end up in jail, losing their licenses and at risk of massive fines even if they plead guilty for the sake of expediency.
How do people defend against OVI charges?
There are many different defense strategies that help people avoid an OVI conviction. Some drivers can establish that the police officers violated their rights, possibly by conducting an illegal traffic stop. Others could raise questions about the accuracy of chemical test results. Some people could provide a medical explanation for their test results, while others could bring questions about the calibration or maintenance of the testing unit. Every case is unique, which means that OVI defendants often need to review the state’s evidence carefully.
Learning more about OVI charges by seeking legal guidance can help people who are facing charges and are hoping to avoid a conviction and the penalties the courts could impose.