If you’re charged with DUI (Driving under the influence), known as an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) in Ohio, the attorneys at Makridis Law Firm can help answer all of your questions.
FAQ: DUI / OVI Frequently Asked Questions
What penalties do I face if I am convicted of DUI / OVI?
Whether it's your 1st or 4th conviction, please see our DUI / OVI penalties page for all potential penalties you might face, if convicted. To avoid these penalties contact a DUI lawyer today. Call 330.394.1587.
What's the worst case scenario after I am arrested for DUI / OVI?
This really depends on the facts of your case, the prosecutor handling your case, and the judge. People hear horror stories about lives being ruined because of an OVI conviction, which can make facing these charges even more nerve-wracking than they already are. But, an experienced DUI / OVI lawyer can review all of the different factors that surround your case and present the best possible strategy to resolve your case in a favorable way. Call (330) 394-1587 today to find out how we may be able to help.
Do I have to consent to field sobriety tests?
No. You must exit your vehicle if the police ask you to do so, but field sobriety tests are completely voluntary. Do not let the police make you feel as though you need to comply. In fact, you should NEVER agree to perform field sobriety tests. They are balancing tests that all people fail (regardless of impairment), because they are very specific, hard to follow, and very difficult to perform. For more information on how to handle this situation, click here.
Can I be convicted of DUI / OVI if I refuse to take the breath, urine or blood test?
Yes. If you refuse to allow the arresting officer to measure the amount of alcohol in your breath, blood or urine, you may be convicted of DUI / OVI based on evidence of impairment, such as poor driving, odor of alcohol, admission to drinking, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, unsteady on feet, and poor performance on field sobriety tests. For more information on what to do when you get pulled over and have been drinking, click here.
Can I contest a DUI / OVI charge if I fail a breath, blood, or urine test?
Yes. Failing a chemical test does not automatically mean your case will be lost. There are a number of different laws, policies, procedures, and rules that the police must follow in order to legally admit your chemical test into court. An experienced DUI / OVI lawyer can review the evidence and help you decide how to best approach your individual case.
Should I agree to the search of my vehicle?
No. If you consent to the search of your vehicle, the police can conduct a full search without a warrant. Anything the police find can and will be used against you in court. Do not give the police consent to search your vehicle, even if they insist or pressure you. Simply say "I do not consent to the search of my vehicle."
If I am arrested for DUI / OVI, can the officer search me and my vehicle before taking me to the police station?
Yes. After placing you under arrest, the officer can legally search you and your vehicle.
Can I exercise my right to remain silent after I have already made a statement?
Yes. If you do choose to make a statement, you can always stop talking at any time. Tell the officer: "I exercise my right to remain silent."
If you have been arrested, tell the officer that you wish to speak with a lawyer. This forces the police to stop asking questions that might incriminate you. To speak with a DUI / OVI lawyer, call Dimitri Makridis at (330) 394-1587.
Can the police use force to arrest me?
Yes, and as much force as may be necessary to arrest you. But an unreasonable amount of force can be deemed an assault. After an arrest, a police officer may handcuff you, and if you resist in any way, the officer may use whatever force is necessary to restrain you.
What happens after I am arrested for DUI / OVI?
After you are arrested for DUI / OVI, you will be taken to a local police station and asked to perform a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine). For more information on whether to consent to a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine), please click here.
After that, a bond / bail is usually set to assure you appear in Court. If you cannot post bond you will likely have to spend the night in jail. If you post bond, make sure to show up for court.
What is bail / bond?
Bail / bond is money (or other property) that is deposited with the clerk of court to ensure your appearance at a future court date. If you return to court, as required, then your bail will be returned at the end of the case (even if you are ultimately convicted). However, if you do not show up at court or otherwise violate your bail / bond conditions, the bail / bond can be forfeited.
What happens if I submit to a breath test and test way over the legal limit?
Ohio currently has enhanced minimum penalties for so called "high tier" test cases. The high tier test results are .17% or higher for breath, .204% for blood serum or plasma, and .238% for urine.
What happens at arraignment?
The arraignment date must be held before a judge in court within 5 business days of your DUI / OVI arrest. During the arraignment, the charge(s) filed against you will be explained. You will also be asked by the judge to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Having an experienced DUI / OVI lawyer at your arraignment is important because he / she can properly deal with your administrative license suspension (ALS), including, whether to stay the suspension or request limited driving privileges, negotiate a favorable bond, review the file for defects, and otherwise get a feel about your case.
If you have only spoken to a DUI lawyer before your arraignment, explain that to the judge. Then, either continue your arraignment date or enter a plea of not guilty and hire an attorney.
Ohio Administrative License Suspension
In Ohio, refusing a breath, blood or urine test, or testing over the legal limit can result in an administrative license suspension, which will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
Refusal Administrative License Suspension Penalties
- 1st refusal: 1 year license suspension and driving privileges after 30 days;
- 2nd refusal: 2 year license suspension and driving privileges after 90 days;
- 3rd refusal: 3 year license suspension and driving privileges after 1 year;
- 4th refusal or more: 5 year license suspension and driving privileges after 3 years.
Breath Test Over-The-Limit Administrative License Suspension Penalties
If you choose to submit to a breath test and test over-the-limit (above .08 BAC) you will face the following penalties:
- 1st failed test: 90 day license suspension and driving privileges after 15 days;
- 2nd failed test: 1 year license suspension and driving privileges after 45 days;
- 3rd failed test: 2 year license suspension and driving privileges after 180 days;
- 4th failed test: 3 year license suspension and driving privileges after 3 years.
Will I get limited driving privileges while my DUI / OVI case is pending?
The short answer is "yes." It is rare for a judge to deny limited driving privileges after you become eligible for privileges, but the time frame in which you can become eligible varies (see here). Limited driving privileges also depend on which judge you are in front of and which county you are in. Call a DUI lawyer today to discuss the likelihood of being granted limited driving privileges in your case.
What happens after arraignment?
A pre-trial is usually the court date after arraignment (unless your arraignment date is continued to another date). Your pre-trial will usually set the tone for how your DUI / OVI case is going to go. It is a chance to collect, evaluate, and discuss all of the evidence against you. It is also an opportunity to determine whether a plea bargain will be offered by the prosecutor or whether you will need to take your case to motion hearing or trial.
What is a motion hearing or suppression hearing date?
A motion hearing is a date requested by your DUI lawyer. It is an opportunity for your DUI / OVI lawyer to put the officers who conducted the investigation on the stand and ask them questions about how they conducted their investigation. It's purpose is to allow the judge to rule on whether the investigation, or parts of it, were conducted properly / legally. If the judge decides that certain parts of the investigation were not conducted properly / legally, the judge will rule those parts excluded or "suppressed" from trial, which means a jury will never see those parts of the investigation. What a jury is allowed to see at trial is crucial to the defense of your DUI / OVI. The more that is suppressed, the better for your case.
How does a DUI / OVI case end?
All DUI / OVI cases end with a plea bargain or trial. After the court dates listed above have been exhausted, a case is set for trial. Many times a trial date will be set multiple times in busier counties. This happens for many reasons, like the judge might have a busy docket and is unable to go to trial that day. Sometimes the prosecutor is not ready to proceed (maybe because the arresting officer is unavailable that day). Sometimes your lawyer will request a continuance for a date that works better for him. There are a number of different reasons multiple trial dates can be set. Each date, however, is an opportunity to resolve the case without going to trial.
If a trial does begin, it will usually take at least 4-5 days to finish. At least one day to pick a jury, at least one day to present the evidence, at least one day to present closing arguments, and, most times, juries need more than one day to decide a case.
Can I get my DUI / OVI charge reduced to physical control or reckless operation?
This is a common misconception. Not all first-time DUI / OVI charges can be reduced. There are a number of different factors that dictate whether it might be a possibility. The facts of the case (including how you acted on the video, the reason for the stop, how the officer conducted his / her investigation, how you performed on the tests, and whether the officer had probable cause to arrest you), the prosecutor's view of the facts of the case, and many other factors. An experienced DUI lawyer can assess the facts of your case and decide whether it might be a realistic possibility. Call (330) 394-1587.
Another obstacle is the pressure prosecutors are under to fight DUI / OVI cases and to push back against reductions. If a prosecutor learns that the officer conducted their investigation poorly, or that they have evidentiary weaknesses in your case, they will usually negotiate. But, it is a misconception to believe that prosecutors will just casually reduce your charges, just because. This is why it is important to hire an experienced DUI / OVI lawyer who fully understands the arguments that can be raised on your behalf, who is known for fighting these cases, and who is not afraid to take DUI / OVI cases to trial. DUI / OVI cases are litigated more than any other misdemeanor, felony, or criminal case. You want someone fighting on your behalf who knows what they are doing.
Will I be put on probation for a DUI / OVI?
Again, this depends on a variety of different things, including how your case is resolved, which judge you are in front of, which courtroom you are in, etc. However, in most cases, there is some period of probation if you accept a plea / reduction. Length of probation varies -- it can be a few months to 5 years, with 1 year being the most common length of probation for a DUI / OVI. Probation can also be ordered by a judge to serve a number of different purposes. Sometimes it's ordered to prevent you from consuming alcohol / drugs for a period of time. Other times probation might be ordered to make sure you do not commit a same or similar or offense during your period of probation. Again, each case is different. Call an experienced DUI lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.
Can I represent myself in a DUI / OVI case?
Yes, but not recommended. DUI / OVI law is overwhelming, technical, and convoluted. Each individual courtroom, judge, and prosecutor also impose their own obstacles and procedures. Not knowing the law will not afford you any leniency either (in fact, it usually works the other way around). An experienced DUI lawyer has the knowledge and experience to manage the very specific issues that might come up in your case, the law that applies to those issues, and how your court / prosecutor / judge might respond to the arguments that can be raised.
How much time will my DUI / OVI case take?
Each case comes with its own very specific fact pattern, so it depends on the facts of your case. Some cases can be resolved at arraignment, and others require a motion hearing and/or trial (which can take 6 months to 1 year from the date of arrest). An experienced DUI lawyer will evaluate the evidence in your case and take the time to sit down and discuss your case with you during each stage of the process.