Do You Need a Lawyer for a First-Time Ohio OVI?


November 2, 2023

Driving under the influence is a serious offense in all states, and Ohio is no exception. In Ohio, this offense is termed Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI). If you or someone you know is facing a first-time OVI charge in Ohio, one of the most pressing questions is likely: Do I need a lawyer?

Understanding Ohio’s OVI Laws

Ohio’s OVI laws are strict, aiming to deter impaired driving and enhance road safety. Even for first-time offenders, the consequences can be significant.

The penalties for a first OVI in Ohio depend on the level of intoxication and whether the driver refused to take a chemical test. The penalties might include:

  • License suspension: The minimum license suspension for a first OVI is one year, and the maximum is three years. However, if you refuse to take a chemical test, the license suspension is one year for a first refusal and two years for a second or subsequent refusal within ten years. You cannot apply for driving privileges during the first 15 days of the suspension (or 30 days for a refusal).
  • Fines: The minimum fine for a first OVI is $375, and the maximum is $1,075. You also have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $475.
  • Mandatory participation in driver intervention programs: You have to complete either three days in jail or a three-day driver intervention program. You may also have to undergo an alcohol/drug assessment and follow the recommended treatment.
  • Potential jail time: The maximum jail time for a first OVI is six months. However, if you had a high level of intoxication (0.17% or more) or refused to take a chemical test, and had a prior OVI conviction within 20 years, the minimum jail time is six days.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device: You may have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, which prevents you from starting the engine if you have alcohol in your system. This device is optional for a low-level OVI but mandatory for a high-level OVI or a refusal with a prior OVI conviction within 20 years.

These are some of the possible penalties for a first OVI in Ohio. However, each case is different, and the actual penalties may vary depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the judge. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a qualified attorney for legal advice if you are facing an OVI charge.

Why Choose DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder?

Choosing the right legal representation can make a world of difference in situations as serious as an OVI charge. DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder stands out for several reasons:

  • Decades of Experience: With over 50 years of combined experience, our firm’s attorneys have an in-depth understanding of Ohio’s legal landscape, ensuring clients have the best possible defense.
  • Former Prosecutors on Your Team: Our background as ex-prosecutors offers a distinctive advantage. The attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder have insight into how the other side thinks, equipping us to counter the prosecution’s tactics effectively.
  • Dedicated to the Akron Community: Serving residents of Akron and surrounding counties like Summit, Portage, Stark, Medina, and Tuscarawas, DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder is deeply committed to our community, ensuring clients receive personalized and localized legal advice.

Contact an Akron Criminal Defense Lawyer

While it might be tempting to think that a first-time OVI charge in Ohio is something you can handle on your own, the potential consequences are too severe to take lightly. From understanding the intricacies of Ohio’s OVI laws to evaluating evidence and negotiating pleas, having a lawyer by your side can greatly influence the outcome.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an OVI charge in Akron or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate. Contact the trusted Akron criminal defense attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder online or call (330) 762-7477.