OVI Attorney in Cincinnati, OH

A person who is found guilty of drunk driving in the Cincinnati area may be ordered to pay large fines, serve time in jail or prison, suffer a license suspension, and be required to install the ignition interlock device. A person who wants the best shot at overcoming or minimizing these consequences should strongly consider hiring an OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) attorney who has handled this type of case.

 Joslyn Law Firm is nationally recognized and locally respected. Brian Joslyn serves as a “go-to” source for journalists—NBC, ABC, fox The Plain Dealer, and the Columbus Dispatch—who need to include the criminal law perspective in their stories. Columbus CEO Magazine chose him as one of Central Ohio’s “Top Lawyers,” and he was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers.


 

Nationally Recognized OVI Attorney in Cincinnati

If you have been arrested in Ohio on an OVI charge, we strongly urge you to seek legal representation immediately. The Cincinnati OVI attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm aggressively defend clients in the greater Cincinnati area against all types of drunk driving charges. We have defended clients in more than 15,000 cases and have many years of experience fighting a refusal case or a case involving a blood, breath, or urine test.

Whether it is your first OVI charge or you have previous convictions for drunk driving, our law firm can investigate every aspect of your arrest to develop the best defense possible. We will provide an honest and thorough review of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

 An OVI defense lawyer is ready to fight for you. Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 for a free consultation.


Back to top

Information Center for OVI Cases in Cincinnati, Ohio


Back to top 

Overview of Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) in Ohio

Several acronyms are used to describe the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but the correct term is now Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI).

In Ohio, you might hear several other terms other than Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI), including:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI)
  • Driving with an unlawful BAC level (DUBAL)
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired (OMVI) 

Substances That Contribute to OVI in Cincinnati

Under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, OVI offenses are defined as occurring when a person operates a vehicle while having certain levels of alcohol or controlled substances—relative to their whole blood, blood serum/plasma, breath, or urine—the parameters of which are specified in the code.

Controlled substances outlined within the statute include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Cocaine metabolite
  • Heroin
  • Heroin metabolite
  • LSD
  • Marihuana
  • Phencyclidine

Other Aspects of This Complex Law

The Ohio OVI law also specifies the unlawfulness of refusing to submit to tests that would check their levels of alcohol or controlled substances.

Ohio law also outlines the rules for admitting into evidence the results of such tests. For example, the alleged offender has up to two hours to consent to the test, and the chemical analysis must be taken within three hours of the alleged offense. The analysis must be executed using certain standards set forth by the director of health and by a person who has a valid permit for performing such an analysis.

Furthermore, if an impaired driver is under the age of 21, then the crime is called "Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption" (OVUAC). 

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19 is extremely lengthy and complex. An OVI lawyer can dig further into the law to explain how it applies to your case.


Back to top

Penalties for OVI in Ohio

Regardless of the terms used, the consequences of a conviction for OVI or OVUAC are serious. These consequences depend on whether a person has previous offenses and the level of their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), as well as whether they refused the chemical analysis test that law enforcement asked the offender to take. Under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, the penalties for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs include:

  • First DUI in six years, BAC 0.08 or higher, but less than 0.17:
    First-degree misdemeanor
    Minimum three days in jail or driver’s intervention program (DIP) and up to six months in jail; up to $1,075 in fines; license suspension of up to three years
  • First DWI in six years, BAC 0.17 or higher or refusal:
    First-degree misdemeanor
    Minimum six days in jail or three days in jail and three days in DIP and up to six months in jail; up to $1,075 in fines; license suspension of up to three years; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; possible installation of ignition interlock devices
  • First OVUAC in one year:
    Fourth-degree misdemeanor
    Up to 30 days in jail; up to $250 in fines; license suspension of up to two years
  • Second OVUAC in one year:
    Third-degree misdemeanor; up to 60 days in jail; up to $500 in fines; license suspension of up to five years
  • Second OVI in six years, BAC 0.08 or higher, but less than 0.17:
    First-degree misdemeanor
    Minimum 10 days in jail or five days in jail and 18 days house arrest with electronic monitoring (HAEM) and/or continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) and up to six months in jail; up to $1,625 in fines; license suspension of up to five years; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; immobilization of your vehicle for 90 days
  • Second DUI in six years, breath test refusal or BAC 0.17 or higher
    First-degree misdemeanor
    Minimum 20 days in jail or 10 days in jail and 36 days HAEM and/or CAM up to six months in jail; up to $1,625 in fines; license suspension of up to five years; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; immobilization of your vehicle for 90 days
  • Third DWI in six years, BAC 0.08 or higher, but less than 0.17
    Unclassified misdemeanor
    Minimum 30 days in jail or 15 days in jail and 55 days house arrest with HAEM and/or CAM up to one year in jail; up to $2,750 in fines; license suspension of up to 10 years; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; forfeiture of your vehicle
  • Third OVI in six years, breath test refusal or BAC 0.17 or higher
    Unclassified misdemeanor
    Minimum 60 days in jail or 30 days in jail and 110 days house arrest with HAEM and/or CAM up to one year in jail; up to $2,750 in fines; license suspension of up to 10 years; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; forfeiture of your vehicle.
  • Fourth or Fifth DUI in six years or Sixth DWI in 20 years, BAC 0.08 or higher, but less than 0.17:
    Fourth-degree felony
    Minimum 60 days up to one-year local incarceration or 60 days in prison with option of additional six to 30 months; up to $10,500 in fines; possible lifetime license suspension; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; forfeiture of your vehicle
  • Fourth or Fifth DWI in six years or Sixth DUI in 20 years, breath test refusal or BAC 0.17 or higher:
    Fourth-degree felony
    Minimum 120 days up to one-year local incarceration or 60 days in prison with option of additional six to 30 months; up to $10,500 in fines; possible lifetime license suspension; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; forfeiture of your vehicle
  • Second Felony OVI, BAC 0.08 or higher, but less than 0.17
    Third-degree felony
    Minimum 60 days in prison up to five years; up to $10,500 in fines; possible lifetime license suspension; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; forfeiture of your vehicle
  • Second Felony DWI, breath test refusal or BAC 0.17 or higher 
    Third-degree felony
    Minimum 60 days in prison up to five years; up to $10,500 in fines; possible lifetime license suspension; mandatory yellow restricted license plates; installation of ignition interlock device required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related; forfeiture of your vehicle 

Defenses to OVI Charges in Hamilton County

Every OVI case is different, but some of the most common reasons that charges can be reduced or dismissed include but are not limited to:

  • An unlawful stop of the vehicle without probable cause or reasonable suspicion
  • Failure to read Miranda Warnings prior to a custodial interrogation
  • Improperly administered chemical or field sobriety tests
  • Problems with the plan or execution of the plan for a sobriety checkpoint in Cincinnati, OH
  • Inaccurate breath test reading on the breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer 8000 test results
  • Problems with the blood test
  • No probable cause for arrest
  • Non-alcohol causes of signs or symptoms of intoxication
  • Procedural errors by police officers

Back to top

Resources for OVI in Cincinnati

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19 Operating Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs – OVI

This online document shows you the letter of the law as it pertains to OVI in Cincinnati. A careful review of this page will inform you of the parameters that law enforcement uses to determine whether you were OVI at the time of your incident. The statute further explains the rules of the state regarding refusing an alcohol or drug test requested by law enforcement, as well as the rules that police must follow when testing your blood, breath, urine, blood, plasma, serum, or saliva.

U.S. Supreme Court Case Mitchell v. Wisconsin

This important case centered on the question of whether police must obtain a search warrant before obtaining a blood sample from an unconscious person suspected of OVI.

The U.S. Supreme Court held that such action by law enforcement is justified under the Fourth Amendment exception of “exigent circumstances,” provided two criteria are met: 1) Alcohol in the subject’s blood is beginning to dissipate; 2) Issues that bring forth pressing needs related to safety, health, or law enforcement that trump the search warrant requirement.

State v. Albright, Court of Appeals First Appellate District of Ohio

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mitchell v. Wisconsin was put to the test in Ohio courts when a law enforcement officer extracted a blood sample from a DUI suspect while he was unconscious. Albright allegedly caused a single-vehicle accident, sustaining serious injuries. 

At the hospital, a police officer Mirandized the suspect and read the state-required consent form required for OVI arrests. The suspect had just undergone a painful procedure when he blurted, “Take whatever you want.” He was charged with OVI and other offenses based partly on the subsequent blood tests.

Prosecutors argued that Albright consented to the blood test and that even had he not, the Mitchell decision gave the state exception based on exigent circumstances. The court ruled that Mitchell applied. Albright appealed, and the First District said Mitchell did not apply, but rather that Ohio’s implied consent statute gave the police the right to test Albright’s blood. 

This statute says that a person who operates a motor vehicle automatically gives consent to a chemical test of their blood. The law specifically stipulates that a dead or unconscious person who cannot refuse a test is “deemed to have consented.”

Ohio Supreme Court State v. Turner

In this Ohio Supreme Court decision, justices decided (5-2) that an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was wrong to charge a driver for driving on the solid white line on the right edge of a highway, as this did not constitute a traffic violation. The Court reversed the ruling of the Twelfth District Court of Appeals, which had earlier regarded the trooper’s stop to be valid. The stop ultimately led to Turner being charged with OVI. The driver filed a motion to suppress the OVI evidence, because the trooper lacked probable cause for the stop, as driving on the line was not a traffic violation. 

Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Driver Intervention Program

Ohio provides an alternative to the mandatory three-day jail term that accompanies convictions for first-time OVI offenders. The Driver Intervention Program (DIP) offers traffic safety education on addiction, including alcohol and drugs, as well as group discussions. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services certifies all DIPs, which are offered at multiple locations, dates, and times. This page provides a list of DIP providers and gives you a glimpse of the DIP curriculum. 


Back to top

News about OVI in Hamilton County

March 10, 2021

“Mt. Healthy Police Concerned With Rising OVI Arrests”

FOX19 NOW reported that Mt. Healthy police have expressed concern with the growing number of OVI arrests in recent years. Mt. Healthy Sgt. Alan Fath told FOX19 he thinks the increase could link to the lessening of COVID-19 restrictions, which has led to more people going out, staying out, drinking, and then driving. February 2020 saw only one OVI arrest in Mt. Healthy. One year later, that number has increased to three arrests.

March 3, 2021

“Driver who badly injured two high school students in Fairfield OVI crash sentenced”

A woman who was driving under the influence of marijuana, meth, and alcohol and crashed, causing serious injury to two high-school girls, was sentenced to 66 months in prison. WKRC TV Cincinnati reported the story. She was charged and convicted on counts of aggravated vehicle assault and OVI. The maximum possible sentence was 78 months. 

Samantha Harvey collided into a car where Savannah Schlueter and Caila Nagel were sitting. Almost one year later, the two girls are still recovering. In delivering the sentence to Harvey, the judge remarked that she evidently did not “get it,” considering she had planned a “going off to prison” bash at a local bar (which the bar subsequently canceled).

February 26, 2021

“Cruiser Cam Footage Released of Chase That Ends in Arrest of NKY Mother”

WLWT5 reported that Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to a request to help in an active motor vehicle pursuit that had begun in Kentucky. Footage from the cruiser camera showed the driver of the pursued vehicle running red lights and driving the wrong way down the road. She drove up to 130 miles per hour. The driver, Chelsea Knipper, of Northern Kentucky, was eventually stopped with a PIT maneuver and charged with OVI, reckless operation, identity fraud, forgery, possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to comply with orders of a law enforcement officer. Her bond was set at $275,000.

January 29, 2021

“Cortland Woman's OVI Conviction Goes to Ohio Supreme Court”

The Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to reverse an appeals court’s decision that a Cortland woman was denied her right to a speedy trial, according to a story reported by 21 WFMJ NBC.

The woman, Danielle Martin, was allegedly swerving in traffic and ran a red light. Police pulled her over and found a partially consumed beer bottle in the back seat of her vehicle. 

Reportedly, the suspect was slurring her words, and her eyes were glassy. A field sobriety test indicated she was intoxicated. Martin was charged with OVI, failure to stop at a red light, no seat belt, open container, reckless operation, failure to comply, and open container. There were several delays after which the suspect pleaded guilty to OVI and other offenses. She successfully appealed the conviction. 

March 3, 2020

“Case of CPD Captain Charged With OVI Returns to Court”

The plea or trial of a Cincinnati police captain who had been arrested for OVI on February 9 has been set, according to FOX19 NOW. Dashcam video and police reports of the driver, Amanda Caton, indicate she smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, and had bloodshot eyes. Caton also refused to take a breathalyzer. Her lawyer filed a motion requesting the court to toss out evidence of recorded statements Caton made in the dashcam video. The attorney requested a trial by jury. She is expected to argue to the court that her client committed no traffic violation and that her apparent drunkenness on video can be attributed to her British accent. 


Back to top

FAQs for OVI in Ohio

Q: How Do I Get an OVI Reduced in Ohio?

A: A law firm with experience handling OVI cases in Cincinnati can try any of several defense strategies for reducing your OVI charge. One option your lawyer can explore is to fight to have your OVI charge reduced to a reckless driving charge. The facts of your case would have to align in order for this defense strategy to work. Examples of conditions in which an OVI might be reduced to a reckless driving charge include:

  • It was your first OVI.
  • Your blood-alcohol content was only slightly over the legal limit.
  • There were issues related to reasonable cause that raise questions with the evidence.
  • There are concerns with the results of the chemical testing.
  • Your incident did not cause an accident or damage.
  • You were not impaired.
  • The prosecution’s evidence was insufficient.

Because reckless driving is a traffic offense, the penalties—including any jail time and fines—would be substantially lower than those of an OVI.

Q: Can I Go to Jail for an OVI in Hamilton County?

A: Yes, an OVI conviction can result in jail time. Your sentence would depend on various circumstances, including the blood-alcohol concentration in your chemical or field tests, as well as whether this was your first OVI conviction. A Cincinnati OVI lawyer can review your case and tell you what you might face, as well as your legal options for moving for a reduction in or dismissal of charges.

Q: Can I Get an OVI Dismissed in Cincinnati?

A: From a legal standpoint, it is possible to have an OVI dismissed in Cincinnati. The defense strategy in your case will depend on the facts of your case and whether your lawyer wants to raise a procedural versus a substantive defense on your behalf.

In the former, your lawyer can challenge the traffic stop that resulted in your being tested and charged with an OVI. In the latter, they can challenge the fact that you were actually impaired. Examples of defenses for dismissing an OVI in Cincinnati include: 

  • No probable cause or reasonable suspicion for stop
  • No Miranda warning interrogation
  • Chemical or field sobriety tests improperly administered
  • Sobriety checkpoints were problematic in planning or execution
  • Inaccurate breathalyzer results
  • Problems with the blood test
  • Intoxication symptoms resulted from non-alcohol factors
  • Law enforcement’s procedural errors

Q: Can You Get an OVI Expunged in Ohio?

A: No, Ohio laws do not permit the expunging or sealing of an OVI conviction. This means that if you are convicted of drunk driving, this conviction will permanently remain on your public record. 

Q. How Long Does an OVI Stay on Your Record in Ohio?

A: In Ohio, OVI convictions remain as permanent entries on your state driving record. These records cannot be sealed or expunged. This will not always affect your insurance, however. The Driver Abstracts that insurance companies use extend only as far back as three years.   


Back to top

OVI Attorney in Cincinnati

We represent clients charged with OVI throughout Hamilton County, OH, and the southwest part of the state on criminal traffic offenses that include Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI), Driving Under Suspension (DUS) and Reckless Operation.

If you have been arrested on a DUI/OVI charge in Cincinnati—even if you submitted to chemical testing, and you feel certain that a guilty plea is in your future—a criminal defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm can investigate to see if any error or oversight during your arrest could possibly reduce your charges or result in dismissal of your charges.

Brian Joslyn Is Certified in Many Aspects of OVI

Brian Joslyn has been certified in the operation, diagnostic, verification, and calibration of the BAC Datamaster Breath Alcohol Testing Instruments manufactured by National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc. He is also National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-certified as an instructor in the administration of standardized field sobriety tests. He is familiar with the tactics used in OVI cases by law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County and the Hamilton County OVI Task Force.

 


Back to top

Call for a Free Consultation from an OVI Attorney in Cincinnati

Call Joslyn Law Firm today to receive a case evaluation and learn your legal options for moving forward with your case. Call us at (513) 399-6289. The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm also represent clients in the surrounding counties including: Butler County to the north, Warren County to the northeast, and Clermont County to the east.


Back to top