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Traffic Violations and an Ohio DUI/OVI Charge

Traffic Violations and DUI/OVI Charge

What is the difference between a DUI/OVI charge and a traffic offense?

A DUI/OVI is a serious charge and so it is unlikely to have that charge reduced right down to a single traffic violation, the plea to a reckless charge being the exception. Traffic violations are the form of traffic penalty that you are most familiar with. Speeding tickets, running a stop sign, changing lane without signaling or driving without lights on are some of the acts that fall within this catch-all category of violations. The penalties for this charge are far less severe than for a DUI/OVI.

What Qualifies for a Traffic Violation?

The requirements for a traffic violation are numerous and change according to the violation you are charged with. There is no single rule. Generally, though you probably won’t go too far off course if you keep in mind the practices you are taught in driving classes, i.e. don’t speed, wear a seat belt, check your lights, signal on turns and lane changes, don’t follow too close and so on.

How do a Traffic Violation and DUI/OVI Charge Relate?

It is likely that you were stopped because the officer considered you’re driving erratic or saw you break a routine law and then saw an open container or had another reason to suspect that you had had alcohol. Then, on stopping you, the officer had reason to add on the DUI/OVI charge. For that reason, it will be rare that you would get a single traffic violation in exchange for a DUI/OVI charge. It is likely to be the case that you are facing two separate counts, a traffic violation charge and DUI/OVI charge.

What are the Penalties for a DUI/OVI Charge and a Traffic Violation Charge?

The penalty for DUI/OVI in Ohio is severe. Even first-time offenders face mandatory jail time of up to 6 months, mandatory license suspensions for 1 year or more and hundreds of dollars in fines. If this is not your first DUI/OVI offense the consequences are even more severe. On a third offense, you can be looking at up to a year of incarceration, almost $3,000 in fines, a mandatory alcohol treatment program and have your license suspended for up to 12 years. (Ohio Rev. Code 4511.19) Add in the demerit points, possible interlocks, restricted plates, in order to attend a treatment program and the insurance troubles you will face. Traffic violations carry minor financial penalties, no jail times, no suspensions, no classes or impact on your employment, insurance and the like.

What are my Options if I am Charged with a DUI/OVI Charge and a Traffic Violation?

It is best to get a skilled DUI/OVI lawyer. If you go alone, the prosecutor may not be willing to bargain at all—they will assume they can convict you in court. Having a lawyer is the first and most important step to fighting a DUI/OVI charge coupled with a traffic violation.