Drunk Driving Carries Harsh And Lasting Penalties

A conviction for DUI/OVI reaches into every part of your life — your finances, your license, your employment, your reputation in the community and perhaps your freedom. Underage drivers, commercial drivers or drivers with prior convictions face even tougher consequences.

The Goldberg Law Firm fights drunk driving cases. We are prepared to go to trial to challenge the grounds for your arrest. We work to preserve your driving privileges. We make every effort to prevent a conviction or mitigate the long-term impact of a DUI arrest.

For a free initial consultation, call our Cleveland criminal defense lawyers at 216-592-8719 or 800-845-4710, or contact us online.

Cuyahoga County OVI Defense Lawyers

In 30 years of criminal defense practice, trial lawyer Michael J. Goldberg has handled countless cases of driving under the influence (DUI), also known in Ohio as operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). He and his legal team provide the proven representation you need, regardless of your circumstances:

  • Even a first arrest for drunk driving can be punished by a few days in jail, license suspension, fines and other penalties, plus the criminal record and a steep increase in car insurance rates.
  • A second or third offense carries enhanced penalties. In addition to longer jail time and loss of license, you may be forced to put yellow DUI license plates on your car and install an ignition interlock.
  • Under-21 drivers and truck drivers (CDL license holders) can be charged at a lower rate of intoxication and face very serious driver’s license sanctions. A second DUI conviction will essentially end a commercial driving career.
  • A fourth DUI/OVI is a felony crime punishable by serious prison time.

Aggressive Drunk Driving Defense in Northeast Ohio

Attorney Michael Goldberg knows how to analyze the prosecution’s case to challenge the evidence and cross-examine the arresting officer. He explores all defense angles: probable cause for the traffic stop, validity of field sobriety tests, the calibration and maintenance of the Breathalyzer and the officer’s conduct throughout the process.

Through motions, hearings and trial, we will force the state to prove its case. By exploiting the flaws, Michael Goldberg has obtained acquittals, dismissal of charges, reduction of charges, deferred convictions and other favorable outcomes for his clients.

The potential penalties for driving under the influence depend on low test (.08 or more) versus high test (0.17 or more), prior convictions, age and aggravating factors.

Penalties for Misdemeanor OVI/DUI Offenses

1st in 6 Years Low Test 1st in 6 Years Refusal* or High Test 2nd in 6 Years Low Test 2nd in 6 Years Refusal* or High Test 3rd in 6 Years
Low Test
3rd in 6 Years
Refusal* or High Test
Degree of Offense M-1 M-1 M-1 M-1 Unclassified Misdemeanor Unclassified Misdemeanor
Jail Time 3 days jail; or DIP. Up to 6 months 6 days jail; or 3 days jail and DIP. Up to 6 months 10 days jail up to 6 months 20 days jail up to 6 months 30 days jail up to 1 year 60 days jail up to 1 year
Fines $375 – $1,075 $375 – $1,075 $525 – $1,625 $525 – $1,625 $850 – $2,750 $850 – $2,750
Treatment Optional Optional Assessment and treatment mandatory Assessment
and treatment mandatory
Addiction program mandatory Addiction
program mandatory
License Suspension Class 5
(6 mos to 3 yrs)
Class 5
(6 mos to 3 yrs)
Class 4
(1 to 5 years)
Class 4
(1 to 5 years)
Class 3
(2 to 10 years)
Class 3
(2 to 10 years)
Driving Privileges After 15 days After 15 days After 45 days After 45 days After 180 days After 180 days
Restricted Plates Optional Plates required for High Test Required Required Required Required
Interlock Optional Optional Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional
Immobilization or Forfeiture No No 90 days immobilization if registered to Defendant 90 days immobilization if registered to Defendant Forfeiture required if registered to Defendant Forfeiture required if registered to Defendant

* With prior offense within 20 years

Penalties for Felony OVI/DUI Offenses

4th/5th in 6 Years or 6th in 20 Years
Low Test
4th/5th in 6 Years
or 6th in 20 Years
Refusal*/High Test
2nd Felony OVI/DUI
in Lifetime
Low Test
2nd Felony OVI/DUI
in Lifetime
Refusal*/High Test
1st/2nd Felony OVI/DUI
in Lifetime
RC 2941.1413 Spec
Degree of Offense F-4 F-4 F-3 F-3 F-4 (1st) / F-3 (2nd)
Incarceration 60 days jail up to 1 year; or 60 days in prison with potential for additional 6 to
30 months
120 days jail up to 1 year; or 120 days in prison with potential for additional 6 to
30 months
60 days prison up to 5 years 120 days prison up to 5 years 60 days prison up to 5 years with an additional
1 to 5 years to run consecutive to underlying sentence
Fines $1,350 – $10,500 $1,350 – $10,500 $1,350 – $10,500 $1,350 – $10,500 $1,350 – $10,500
Treatment Addiction program mandatory Addiction program mandatory Addiction program mandatory Addiction program mandatory Addiction program mandatory
License Suspension Class 2
(3 yrs to life)
Class 2
(3 yrs to life)
Class 2
(3 yrs to life)
Class 2
(3 yrs to life)
Class 2
(3 yrs to life)
Driving Privileges After 3 years After 3 years After 3 years After 3 years After 3 years
Restricted Plates Required Required Required Required Required
Interlock Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional Required if alcohol related offense, otherwise optional Required if alcohol
related offense, otherwise optional
Forfeiture Forfeiture required
if registered to Defendant
Forfeiture required
if registered to Defendant
Forfeiture required if registered to Defendant Forfeiture required
if registered to Defendant
Forfeiture required
if registered to
Defendant

* With prior within 20 years

Administrative License Suspension: Protecting Your Driving Privileges

The first thing that happens when you are arrested on suspicions of drunk driving is that your Ohio driver’s license is suspended. This suspension is effective immediately and independent of the outcome of criminal charges of DUI/OVI. You can be subject to administrative license suspension (ALS) after failing or refusing a chemical test.

The length of suspension and eligibility for limited driving privileges depend on prior offenses within the past six years:

ALS Suspension for a Failed Chemical Test

1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense 4th or More
Suspension Class E
(90 days)
Class C
(1 year)
Class B
(2 years)
Class A (3 years)
Driving Privileges After 15 days After 30 days After 180 days After 3 years
Restricted Plates Optional Optional Optional Required if alcohol-related, optional for drug-related
Interlock Device Optional Optional Optional Required if alcohol-related, optional if drug -related

ALS Suspension for Refusal of a Chemical Test

1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense 4th or More
Suspension Class C
(1 year)
Class B
(2 years)
Class A
(3 years)
5 Years
Driving Privileges After 30 days After 90 days After 1 year After 3 years
Restricted Plates Optional Optional Optional Optional
Interlock Device Optional Optional Optional Optional

Our attorneys are knowledgeable about legitimate grounds for appealing license suspension such as lack of reasonable grounds for the traffic stop or failure to advise you of the consequences of refusing or submitting to the chemical test. You must appeal to the trial court within 30 days of your arrest to contest your ALS suspension. Don’t delay in contacting an attorney.

We Get Results Because We Are Prepared to Go All the Way

There is no substitute for 30 years of legal knowledge and insights into the local court systems in northeast Ohio. There is no substitute for a true trial attorney who can keep the prosecution honest and is not afraid to take your drunk driving case to a jury.

Our Cleveland DUI defense lawyer offers a free consultation for any criminal charges. Call The Goldberg Law Firm at 216-592-8719 or 800-845-4710, or contact us online.

Accused of a Serious Traffic Violation?
In addition to DUI/OVI, other traffic offenses can trigger jail time or license suspension. Before you plead guilty, talk to the attorneys of The Goldberg Law Firm to understand the potential consequences and your options. We will fight for you to avoid conviction or minimize the penalties for:

  • Driving while suspended
  • Fleeing or eluding police
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit-and-run (leaving the scene of an accident)
  • Other misdemeanor or felony traffic crimes