If you have recently been stopped by the police for drunk driving, you are probably suffering through a wide range of emotions. You may be confused, concerned, uncertain, nervous, and even humiliated. You may be wondering:

  1. Can I get my driving privileges back? If so, when?
  2. Am I going to jail?
  3. What should I do at my first court appearance?
  4. When can I get my car out of the impound lot?
  5. How did I do on the field sobriety tests?
  6. Should I just plea and get it behind me? or
  7. Can I get this thing reduced to a reckless operation or a physical control?

These are all common questions for anybody charged with drinking and driving in Ohio. And, the truthful answer to all of these questions is. . . it depends. It depends on the court, the judge, the prosecutor, the conduct of the police officer, and, of course, your own actions.

Although generally the laws are the same for every city, each court, judge, police department, and prosecutor deal with these cases differently. Equally important, each person charged with drinking and driving has their own unique driving history. All of these factors affect your results. As a prosecutor for seven years in the Northeast Ohio region, Michael Gordillo knows the Ohio OVI laws and the local courts in the area.

No matter what acronym is used: DUI, DWI, OVI, or OMVI, they all refer to the same criminal offense in Ohio - drunk driving. Despite all the regularly said acronyms, the correct one under today's Ohio law is OVI, which means operating a motor vehicle under the influence. These cases are very serious, complex, and can have significant consequences for anybody convicted of an OVI. A conviction could result in jail time, license suspension, fines, probation, and even problems with your employer. Due to the seriousness and complexity of OVI's, you need a criminal defense lawyer.

In Ohio you do not have to be drunk to be convicted of an OVI. Under Ohio law, the four most common ways you can be convicted for an OVI include:

  1. Prohibited amount of blood alcohol content - Blood alcohol content is commonly referred to as your BAC. Regardless of whether you think you were "drunk", driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is at or above .08 percent alcohol by volume is illegal in Ohio. If you are under 21 years old or have a commercial driver's license, your BAC only has to be at or above .02 percent. Ohio law refers to this as a "per se" offense. Although determining your BAC is most commonly done through a breath test, it can also be measured through urine or blood samples; or
  2. Consumption of alcohol noticeably effects your ability to drive - According to Ohio law, whatever your BAC reading, driving with any amount of alcohol in your system which causes your physical abilities or mental faculties to be impaired to an appreciable degree is illegal; or
  3. Driving with drugs of abuse in your system - Driving with drugs of abuse in your system and/or in combination with alcohol, and the amount of drugs of abuse in your system causes your physical abilities or mental faculties to be impaired to an appreciable degree; or
  4. Prohibited amount of a controlled substance - Some examples of a controlled substance include things like: Marijuana, Cocaine, and Heroin. Just like it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, Ohio law also makes it illegal to drive with a defined amount of drugs in your system. Again, this is referred to as a "per se" illegal amount. The per se illegal amount will vary depending on the drug involved.

Most cases typically fall under the first or second category. But, no matter what type of OVI charges you are facing, the prosecutor still must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Just because you have been charged with OVI does not mean you should go directly to court and plea guilty. Even if you are the kind of person who says, "I accept the responsibility for my poor decision" you should talk with our lawyers first. We can help you understand the process. Help to minimize consequences. Work to get you driving privileges. And of course, assess the facts of the entire case to determine if the police failed to properly follow the law. Remember: police are people, and just like everybody else, they make mistakes. Those potential mistakes in your case may be the difference between an OVI conviction and a dismissal or reduction.

At Valore & Gordillo, our criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors and know how, why, and where to look for the mistakes that will help your Ohio OVI case.

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