Columbus Drunk Driving Lawyer
DUI and OVI Defense
The Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer specialize in DUI and DWI cases. In Ohio, a DWI charge may also be known as OMVI (Operating Motor Vehicle Intoxicated) or OVI (Operating Vehicle Intoxicated). These charges do not only apply to drivers of passenger vehicles such as cars, but also to trucks, tractor trailers, buses, motorcycles, 3-wheelers, boats, and heavy machinery.
If you are stopped for drunk driving and you refuse to take the sobriety test, or if your test results exceed the legal limit of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), you will be immediately subject to the Administrative License Suspension, which means the officer can take your driver’s license on the spot.
When you are stopped for suspicion of DUI or OVI, police officers will conduct breathalyzer and other field sobriety tests. If you’re intoxicated, an officer can suspend your license on the spot, a measure called an Administrative License Suspension. If you refuse field sobriety testing, your license is automatically suspended temporarily.
Ohio Administrative License Suspension
Defending clients who have been charged with drunk driving, or driving under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs, is challenging. DUI and DWI defense attorneys must always be prepared for new developments in legal and scientific procedures used to prove guilt.
The criminal defense lawyers at Yavitch & Palmer have years of experience in dealing with DUI and DWI cases. Their knowledge of the scientific and legal aspects of Breathalyzer, urine and blood tests used to determine BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) and drug use enables them to effectively question the accuracy, reliability and validity of these tests during court proceedings.
Being under the influence includes more than simply drunk driving. If you are found to be under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs while driving or operating heavy machinery, you are also subject to these charges and their penalties.
Administrative License Suspension (ALS) means that if you are stopped for drunk driving and you refuse to take a sobriety test, or if your test results exceed the legal limit, the law enforcement officer can take your driver’s license on the spot. Your suspension begins immediately.
Ohio Drunk Driving and DWI penalties
Even if you were not involved in an accident, you could spend up to a year in jail, lose your car, have your license permanently revoked and be subject to fines up to $10,000. The Columbus, Ohio, DUI and DWI defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer are experienced with the scientific and legal procedures for proving DUI and DWI charges, and are dedicated to achieving positive results for all clients.
These are general provisions. Each city within Ohio has its own code and penalty provisions. The Ohio State legislature has made many changes of late, and continues to make changes regularly. The lawyers at Yavitch & Palmer Co., L.P.A. stay on top of these changes and consistently review the legislative enactments for issues that affect the OVI practice.
- Administrative License Suspension (ALS) for a prohibited BAC
- ALS for test refusal = one year license suspension
- Jail – Minimum of three consecutive days or 3-day driver intervention program
- Fine – Minimum $200 and not more than $1,000
- Court License Suspension – 6 months to 3 years
- ALS for one year for a prohibited BAC
- ALS for test refusal = two year license suspension
- Jail – Minimum of 10 consecutive days or five days jail + minimum 18 consecutive days of electronically monitored house arrest combined, not to exceed 6 months
- Fine – Minimum $300 and not more than $1,500
- Discretionary driver’s intervention program
- Vehicle immobilization and plates impounded for 90 days
- Court License Suspension – 1 year to 5 years
- ALS for two years for a prohibited BAC
- ALS for test refusal = three year license suspension
- Jail – Minimum 30 days to one year
- Alternative sentence – 15 days or Jail + minimum 55 consecutive days of electronically monitored house arrest combined, maximum of one year
- Fine – Minimum $500 and not more than $2,500
- Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program paid for by offender
- Vehicle immobilization and plates impounded for 180 days
- Court License Suspension – 1 year to 10 years
Four or More Offenses
- ALS for three years for a prohibited BAC
- ALS for test refusal = five years license suspension
- Minimum of 60 consecutive days and up to one year in jail
- Fine – Minimum $750 and not more than $10,000
- Mandatory drug/alcohol treatment program paid for by offender
- Vehicle Forfeiture – Mandatory criminal forfeiture of vehicle operated by offender, imposed by court
- Court License Suspension – 3 years to Permanent Revocation
You will permanently forfeit your vehicle, by order of the court for your:
- 1st offense of driving a vehicle that is immobilized with license plates impounded.
- 3rd DUI offense within six years
- 2nd offense of a vehicle owner knowingly permitting a person whose license is suspended to drive their vehicle
- 3rd offense or more of Driving under FRA suspension within five years
Our Columbus DUI attorneys help you contest felony charges
A single charge for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, called “OVI” in Ohio, can seriously disrupt your life. The suspension of your license, jail time and fines are all challenges to be dealt with before your life can return to normal. As additional convictions occur, the penalties become stiffer, and the prospect of a felony drunk driving charge becomes apparent.
Yavitch & Palmer concentrates on criminal defense cases and provides strong, creative defense strategies for any drunk driving charge, even those at the felony level. We bring an aggressive, yet professional attitude to every case, so you can be sure that the action taken is the right one for you.
The making of a felony
There are serious consequences for misdemeanor drunk driving convictions — you can have your license suspended, incur heavy fines, lose your vehicle and even face jail time. Upon your fourth drunk driving arrest in six years or sixth within 20 years, the charge is increased to a felony, and the penalties become much more severe.
Aggravated vehicular assault and aggravated vehicular homicide charges
Aggravated vehicular assault is a serious crime, and when committed by drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol it can mean a second- or third-degree felony charge. Felonies carry mandatory prison sentences, and the fines for an AVA charge can be thousands of dollars. The most serious charge is aggravated vehicular homicide, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. DUI-related charges are more difficult to lower or reduce, but they’re also more difficult to prove.
What to do when you’re pulled over for drunk driving
No one wants to be in this situation: You’re driving home one night, when you see flashing lights behind you. After asking for your license and registration, a law enforcement officer asks you to step out of your vehicle and submit to testing to determine if you’ve been drinking.
At Yavitch & Palmer, we see numerous clients who felt pressured to comply with a police officer’s orders or were promised that such compliance would result in a better legal situation for them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it’s important to know your rights and your best course of action if you are stopped for a DUI check.
A popular tool used by highway officers in a drunk driving stop is the portable breath test to test blood alcohol content (BAC). If you do take a portable breathalyzer test, the results may be used to establish probable cause to arrest you. From there, the police may have access to other admissible evidence.
Once you are at the station, you can be asked to take a breathalyzer test on one of several devices approved by the state of Ohio. You may be told that you can blow or refuse, but either way you will likely face an Administrative License Suspension. If you take the test and blow over the legal limit, the license suspension is a minimum of 90 days for a first offense.
Have you been subjected to a breathalyzer or other DUI test?
For a field sobriety test to be reliable, all of the tests must be conducted, and the officer must follow specific protocols to administer the tests properly. If we can determine that the tests were not administered correctly and are therefore unreliable, then the conclusions drawn are not admissible.
Watch this video for advice from Steve Palmer:
About field sobriety tests
If a field sobriety test is determined to be useful during a traffic stop, the officer can conduct the following tests, which are considered reliable methods for determining a driver’s impairment:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This is a visual check of the driver’s eyes. The officer looks for jerky eye movements and twitching.
- Walk and turn: The driver is asked to walk along a straight line while following numerous instructions.
- One-leg stand: The driver is asked to stand on one foot and count out loud.
Are you a commercial driver facing OVI or OVMI charges?
Bigger payload, bigger consequences
Driving with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) means you have more responsibility on the road, whatever you may be driving or hauling. And according to Ohio laws, that responsibility includes stricter limits and harsher penalties for drunk driving whether you are behind the wheel of a commercial or private vehicle. At Yavitch & Palmer, our attorneys have more than 20 years of combined criminal defense experience protecting clients’ driving rights in Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI).
Different BACs, same results
If you have a CDL, the legal BAC limit the legal limit is reduced to from .08 to .04 percent BAC. when you are stopped under suspicion of operating a vehicle while impaired,
Regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving, if you are brought to the station and asked to perform a breath test, your refusal results in an automatic one-year license suspension. If you are found to be over the legal limit, your CDL is suspended for 90 days – in addition to the year for refusal. If you refuse a breath test on a second, separate occasion, your CDL can be suspended for life.
In the case of a CDL suspension, you may be granted limited noncommercial driving privileges during your suspension, but you are not allowed to drive a commercial vehicle under any circumstances.
What happens after a conviction?
If you are convicted of OVI while driving a commercial or noncommercial vehicle, the punishment is a one-year CDL disqualification. A second conviction results in a lifetime CDL disqualification, so it is critical to any commercial driver’s career to take the case seriously and to partner with an attorney who understands drunk driving laws in Ohio.