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Multiple or Repeat DUI/OVI Defense

repeat duiEveryone knows the inherent dangers and blatant illegality of driving drunk, yet some people still make the decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In most of the U.S., this crime is referred to as a driving under the influence, or a DUI. In Ohio, it is known as operating a vehicle under the influence, or an OVI.

A first OVI offense may be the result of a mere misunderstanding, but a pattern of this behavior could eventually lead to multiple OVI offenses. While the penalties and consequences for even one OVI are often quite severe, they can be exponentially worse when multiple offenses are in play. However, if you are currently facing a second, third, or fourth OVI offense, you should know that obtaining the best legal representation possible may give you the chance to escape sentencing with your freedom.

The penalties you receive as a result of multiple OVI convictions can completely alter your life, from hefty fines to lengthy jail sentences. Therefore, you simply cannot afford to enter the courtroom alone. An experienced OVI attorney is well-versed in the specific laws that Ohio currently has in place, which will allow you to drastically reduce the penalties levied against you.

The OVI process is quite complex—from the moment you’re pulled over to your final court date—so you should gain a basic understanding of the law before consulting with an attorney. Here is an overview of what you can expect if you are facing multiple OVI offenses:

    • What constitutes an OVI?: Being charged with an OVI is dependent on one of two things. First, if an officer determines you are appreciably impaired or noticeably  impaired you may be charged. You can also be charged based on your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the traffic stop. If you are of legal drinking age (21 and over), the BAC limit is .08%. If you are below the age of 21, the limit for an OVI is just .02%, which could for some people equate to about one alcoholic drink within the past hour. OVI laws are also quite strict for commercial drivers. If you make a living by driving a vehicle and get pulled over while intoxicated, your BAC needs to be less than .04% in order to avoid an OVI. Use our BAC Calculator to estimate your limit.
    • Look back period: The look back period refers to the period of time since your last OVI conviction. In Ohio, there are two look back periods. The first look back period is six years. Each OVI you commit that is at least six years after your last offense will be treated as if it is a first offense. Each offense that is less than six years old will trigger enhanced and compound penalties. People receiving four or five OVI charges with in a six year period will be charged with a felony. There is also a twenty year look back period which acts much like the six yer period. This means that if you receive six OVI convictions within twenty years you will be charged with a felony.
    • Jail time and fines for multiple convictions: No two OVI offenders are given the same exact sentencing, and this could largely be based on the experience level of the attorney that you obtain. However, there are general guidelines to penalties for multiple convictions that you can expect to face during your sentencing. Second offenses within six years can warrant between twenty days and six months in jail. Third OVI offenses can warrant up to one year in jail. Four-time offenders face a felony and 60 days to 30 months in detention. Additionally, fines can range from $525-$2,750 for most multiple convictions, though they can also reach as high as $10,500.
    • Other penalties for multiple convictions: Jail and fines are certainly the most notable penalties for multiple OVIs, but there are several other ways that these crimes can influence your life. The average multiple OVI offender can have their license suspended for one to ten years. Felony offenders may lose their license for life. If you manage to avoid jail time, you may be ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program. Furthermore, a court will order you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle after a second OVI offense in Ohio. An ignition interlock device is essentially a car breathalyzer that prevents you from starting your vehicle until you can prove that you are sober.

It is also important to note that Ohio has strict laws that impact chemical tests during your initial traffic stop. The implied consent laws requires you to submit to a breathalyzer test when asked by a police officer. If you fail to comply, you will be subject to a fine and automatic suspension of your license. Additionally, the penalties for these transgressions are progressive. The first time you fail to submit a chemical test results in a one-year suspension of your license. Your second offense warrants a two-year license suspension, and the third-offense results in a three-year license suspension.

  • Misdemeanor vs. felony: In Ohio, a first OVI will be charged as a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a , second, or third charge within the six-year look back period,  misdemeanor. However, the penalties will increase if you are convicted of a fourth of fifth charge in six years or a sixth charge in twenty years. Read more about misdemeanors and felonies here.

You may be quite fearful of the repercussions following your second, third, or fourth OVI offense, but you should know that help is available. Experienced OVI attorneys can use specific aspects of Ohio law to your favor to limit any potential fines or jail time. The Farrish Law Firm, L.P.A. takes a personal interest in all of our clients’ cases, and we look forward to helping you limit the consequences that can stem from multiple OVI convictions. Contact us today.