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Felony DUI/OVI Defense

The entire nation has been cracking down on driving under the influence (DUIs), and the laws surrounding these crimes have become much more stringent in the past several years. In Ohio, this crime is referred to as operating a vehicle impaired (OVI). The consequences of being charged with an OVI in Ohio can be much different than those in other states, and you should be educated on these discrepancies in the event that you are arrested for driving drunk or under the influence of illegal substances.

In Ohio and most other states, an OVI is considered to be a misdemeanor if it is your first offense. However, at a certain point, an accumulation of OVI offenses will cause you to be charged with a felony. Being convicted of a felony comes with its own set of challenges that will plague you for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that multiple offenders seek the help of an experienced attorney to avoid being convicted of an felony OVI.

The severe penalties that follow a felony OVI conviction can be truly harrowing, and you need the representation of a skilled OVI attorney to preserve your quality of life moving forward. Here is an overview of felony OVI offenses in Ohio, and how a trusted OVI attorney can help you potentially avoid life-changing consequences:

  • What constitutes a felony OVI charge?- In Ohio, the law is quite clear as to what would be considered as a felony OVI offense. An OVI is charged as a felony in Ohio if it is your fourth or fifth criminal charge in the past six years. This includes all other DUI/ OVI charges you may have accrued in the past six years. An OVI is also considered to be a felony if it is your sixth criminal offense in the past 20 years, or if you already have a prior felony DUI/OVI from any jurisdiction on your record. After you are charged with one felony DUI/OVI, every drunk driving offense from thereon will be considered a felony.
  • Look back periods- A look back period is the term given to the six-year and 20-year period of time from your first DUI/OVI to your most recent charge. In Ohio, look back periods do not benefit the defendant because they begin when your conviction takes place. Therefore, if you are arrested on Jan. 1, 2016 but do not have your trial until July 1, 2016, your look back period does not begin until July 1. Imagine you then commit three more crimes in the next six years, with the last crime being an OVI that was committed on May 1, 2022. Unless your court date is somehow scheduled before July 1, 2022, you could be charged with a felony.
  • Penalties for a felony OVI- For obvious reasons, the penalties associated with multiple OVI convictions are much more severe than those for first-time offenders. A felony OVI conviction automatically warrants jail time, though the sentence can be reduced if you find the right defense attorney. However, the minimum sentence is 60 days but could be as much as five years. An experienced defense attorney can also work to have you placed in an alcohol and drug treatment program in place of jail time.

There are several other mandatory penalties stemming from a felony OVI conviction that you can expect to be levied against you. Mandatory penalties often include: restricted license plates, suspended driver’s license for three years to life, vehicle forfeiture, and ignition interlock devices in your future vehicles. You will also be subject to a substantial fine following a felony OVI offense, which will be anywhere from $1.350-$10,500 depending on the specifics of your violation. These penalties all can vary depending on what your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at the time of the arrest, as well as your decision to comply with a breathalyzer test. Use our BAC calculator to see if you should comply.

What to Expect From Your Felony OVI Defense

You need to seek experienced legal representation, but this is particularly important when facing a felony OVI charge. The Farrish Law Firm, L.P.A. is well-versed in the specific felony OVI laws of Ohio, which gives you the best chance to reduce your jail sentence, fines, and other penalties. The most notable way that you can be saved from severe consequences due to a felony OVI conviction is by arranging to be entered into an alcohol treatment program. This could help you mitigate your matter and could limit jail time. Also, an experienced defense attorney can examine your look back period and capitalize on any miscalculations potentially made by the courts. There also may be some constitutional infirmities in your prior convictions that can alter your penalties.

There is a good chance that you represented yourself in your first and/or second OVI convictions, which could help an attorney to limit your penalties. An uncounseled prior conviction can be attacked by your attorney and potentially excluded from the calculation that determines your sentencing. Another primary defense tactic involves examining your felony OVI arrest in detail to find any misgivings on the part of the arresting officer. For example, the officer may not have fully complied with standard OVI protocol. This can include faulty breathalyzers, improper sobriety testing, and a general attack on the reasonable doubt of your impairment.

Every OVI conviction is unique, and these discrepancies are compounded when multiple offenses are involved. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that you seek the guidance of an attorney with years of experience in this field. An experienced Cincinnati, Ohio, attorney will use their knowledge of Ohio OVI law to find holes in the prosecution and reduce your penalties as much as possible.

At The Farrish Law Firm, L.P.A.,we take a personal interest in our clients’ futures to ensure that a felony OVI conviction does not ruin their lives. We look forward to working with you on your felony OVI case and helping to restore your quality of life following the conviction. Contact us today.