Ravenna DUI Lawyers

Driving under the influence, also known as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), is a grave criminal offense in Ohio, and Portage County is no exception.

Whether you call it drunk driving, OVI, or DUI, the penalties of conviction include possible jail time, fines, license suspension, career problems, and a long-lasting negative impact on your life.

But OVI cases are not hopeless. DUIs get dismissed, reduced, and end in acquittal all the time. By working with an experienced and resourceful Portage County DUI lawyer, you can avoid the harshest of penalties through negotiation, attacking the DUI charge itself, and fighting for your record and license. To discuss your options with criminal defense lawyer after being arrested for DUI in Portage County, contact Erb Legal today.


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Our Attorneys Can Help with Portage County DUIs

Whether you were pulled over in Ravenna, Aurora, Streetsboro, or anywhere in the area, an OVI takes most people entirely by surprise. It’s scary to think about losing your license, explaining things to your job, and worrying about going to jail – even for a few days. If you or a loved one are facing a DUI/OVI, you should know what to expect and take steps to protect yourself.

The OVI defense lawyers at ERB Legal handle all manner of impaired driving-related offenses, and we have an excellent record assisting people with the following:

  • Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI) – (ORC 4511.19): Ohio’s most common OVI charge. It refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Ohio, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% for drivers over 21 years old and 0.02% for drivers under 21.
  • Physical Control of a Vehicle Under the Influence (Physical Control) – (ORC 4511.194): This charge refers to physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even if the car is not moving. This includes sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition.
  • Operating a Vehicle with a Prohibited Concentration of Alcohol or Controlled Substance (High Test) – (ORC 4511.19(A)): This charge is for drivers who have a BAC of 0.17% or higher, which is referred to as a “high test” OVI. Penalties for a high-test OVI are more severe than for a regular OVI.
  • Underage OVI – (ORC 4511.19(A)(4)): This charge is for drivers who are under 21 years old and have a BAC of 0.02% or higher. The penalties for underage OVI include fines, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol or drug treatment.
  • OVI with a Prior Conviction – (ORC 4511.19(G)(1)): If you have a prior OVI conviction within the past ten years, a subsequent OVI charge will result in more severe penalties.
  • Felony OVI – (ORC 4511.19(G)(1)(d)): This charge is for drivers who have multiple prior OVI convictions within the past ten years or have been convicted of certain serious OVI-related offenses, such as vehicular homicide or vehicular assault.

Is jail time mandatory for first OVI in Ohio?

Ohio’s Look Back Period

Ohio has a 10-year “Look Back Period” regarding prior DUI/OVI charges. Any prior DUI/OVI convictions within the past ten years will be considered when determining the penalties for a new DUI/OVI offense.

For example, suppose you were convicted of a DUI/OVI offense and are arrested again for impaired driving within ten years. In that case, the penalties for this 2nd DUI will be harsher than if the prior offense had occurred more than ten years ago or had not occurred.

The Look Back Period applies to all DUI/OVI offenses in Ohio, regardless of the severity of the offense or the number of prior convictions.

Implied Consent in Ohio & DUI Testing

When people are pulled over or arrested for driving under the influence, a lot depends on the officers’ observations, the evidence they collect, and any DUI test results. Regarding what someone must submit to, it’s essential to know that Ohio drivers are held to the legal principle of “Implied Consent.”

Implied consent mandates individuals driving on public roads to consent to a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if they are lawfully arrested for a DUI/OVI offense.

The most common test in Ohio is the breathalyzer test, which measures the alcohol content in an individual’s breath to determine their BAC. If an individual is found to have a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08%, they may face DUI/OVI charges and penalties.

Therefore, by obtaining an Ohio driver’s license, you’ve automatically agreed to this, and a refusal to take a mandatory test will result in license suspension and fines.

While law enforcement must inform you of your rights and the consequences of refusing such a test, things can get confusing when questioned about impaired driving.

Field Sobriety Tests

In addition to mandatory chemical tests, law enforcement officers may administer several other DUI/OVI tests. This includes field sobriety tests and roadside breath tests. It’s important to note that these tests are subject to potential errors or inaccuracies.

As a result, these tests are not mandatory and can be refused. They are intended to collect evidence of intoxication and should be used with other evidence of impairment. If your arrest stems from an inaccurate DUI test, an experienced DUI/OVI attorney may be able to challenge the result in court.

Your License After an Ohio OVI

If you are convicted of an OVI in Ohio, your license will be suspended for a certain period, depending on any prior convictions and the severity of your offense. The minimum license suspension period for a first-time OVI is six months; the maximum can be up to three years.

If you refuse a chemical test after being lawfully arrested for an OVI, your license may be suspended for up to one year.

In addition to the license suspension, you may also be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle for a certain period.

An IID is a device that measures your BAC before allowing you to start your car, and you will be required to blow into the device periodically to ensure that your BAC remains below the .08 legal limit.

OVI Driving Privileges

In Ohio, individuals who have had their driver’s license suspended due to an OVI may be eligible for limited driving privileges during their suspension period.

Eligibility for OVI driving privileges varies based on the circumstances. However, to be eligible for DUI driving privileges, you must meet specific requirements, such as completing a driver’s intervention program, showing proof of insurance, and providing evidence of financial responsibility.

An experienced OVI attorney can help you navigate the license suspension process and minimize the impact of an OVI conviction on your driving privileges.

Portage County DUI Penalties & Consequences

An OVI/DUI conviction is no small thing. If you’re arrested for drunk or drugged driving in Portage County, you should take it seriously and know what you’re facing.

  • First Offense, BAC under 0.17% – Up to 6 months in jail, fines, license suspension, up to 3 years
  • First Offense, BAC 0.17% or higher (High Test) – Up to 6 months in jail, fines, license suspension up to 3 years, mandatory alcohol or drug treatment program
  • OVI within ten years, BAC under 0.17% – Up to 1 year in jail, fines, license suspension up to 7 years, mandatory alcohol or drug treatment program
  • 2nd OVI within ten years, BAC 0.17% or higher -20 days to 1 year in jail, fines, license suspension up to 7 years, mandatory alcohol or drug treatment program
  • 3rd OVI within ten years, BAC under 0.17% – 30 days to 1 year in jail, fines, license suspension up to 12 years, mandatory alcohol or drug treatment program
  • 3rd OVI within ten years, BAC 0.17% or higher – 60 days to 1 year in jail, fines, license suspension up to 12 years, mandatory alcohol or drug treatment program
  • Test Refusal, First Offense
    License suspension for up to 1 year
  • Test Refusal, 2nd Offense – License suspension for up to 2 years
  • OVI with Child Passenger – Up to 6 months in jail, fines, license suspension for up to 3 years
  • Aggravated Vehicular Homicide – 2 to 8 years in prison, fines, license suspension for life
  • Aggravated Vehicular Assault – 1 to 5 years in prison, fines, license suspension, up to 10 years

These penalties are subject to change based on the circumstances involved. It’s best to consult an experienced and local DUI lawyer in Portage County for guidance about what you’re facing and how to improve your OVI charges. 

Collateral Impact of a DUI Conviction

Aside from possible time in custody, thousands in fines, court-ordered treatment, and probation, a DUI/OVI in Portage County will likely be attached to your criminal record for life. This can result in lasting damage to your ability to move on.

Some of the adverse effects of a DUI conviction include:

  • Limited employment opportunities
  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Ineligibility for certain government benefits
  • Ineligibility for certain types of housing
  • Loss of certain civil rights
  • Reduced custody or visitation rights for children
  • Social stigma and discrimination

Defending Against a Ravenna OVI

Regardless of what the arresting officer or prosecutor tells you about your DUI case, convictions are not guaranteed. The test can be inaccurate, officers can make mistakes, and you could have had a valid reason for appearing intoxicated.

However, it takes tremendous skill and considerable legal knowledge to navigate the system and secure the best possible result, given your circumstances. Here are a few examples of the DUI defenses that may apply to your case, perhaps leading to a charge reduction, dismissal, or being found not guilty.

  • Challenge the Traffic Stop: If the law enforcement officer lacked probable cause to pull you over, evidence gathered after the stop might be inadmissible in court.
  • Challenge the Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are often subjective and may be challenged because of the officer’s qualifications, the conditions under which the test was conducted, or other factors.
  • Refute the Chemical Test: The accuracy of chemical tests such as breathalyzers or blood tests may be challenged based on calibration issues, maintenance records, or improper administration.
  • Argue Necessity or Duress: In some cases, individuals may be able to argue that they drove while intoxicated out of necessity or due to duress, such as to avoid harm to themselves or others.
  • Challenge the Chain of Custody: If there are issues with the chain of custody of the evidence, such as a break in the custody chain or the evidence being mishandled, the evidence may be inadmissible in court.
  • Argue You Weren’t Driving: If you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the arrest, you might be able to argue that you cannot be charged with an OVI.

Every DUI is unique, and defenses are not one size fits all. If you’d like to discuss any of these defense strategies and how Erb Legal can help mitigate the negative impact of a DUI on your record, license, and life, give us a call today.

FAQs: Portage County DUI Charges

To help you better understand what to expect if you or a loved one are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Portage County, Ohio, we have answered some of the frequently asked questions surrounding OVI charges. If you have additional questions, contact our Ravenna OVI lawyers.

Can I Use a Public Defender for a DUI?

While it’s possible to use a public defender for a DUI case, they are frequently overburdened with heavy caseloads. Hiring a private attorney to defend you against DUI charges can provide you with the required legal representation.

Your private attorney can give your case the necessary attention, time, and resources to build a robust defense strategy and fight for your rights.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record?

A DUI stays on your driving record forever in Ohio and may be considered by insurance companies or employers when making decisions. However, the 6 points an OVI carries will fall off your license after three years.

Is Jail Mandatory in Ohio for a DUI?

Jail time is typically not mandatory for an Ohio OVI. The penalties for an OVI in Ohio depend on several factors, including the driver’s BAC, prior OVI convictions, and any property damage or injuries involved.

A judge has discretion regarding sentencing and may decide to waive the jail sentence, such as when the defendant completes an alcohol treatment program or other alternative sentences.

Remember, subsequent OVIs come with harsher penalties and less sympathy from the courts, so jail terms become more likely. In addition, when a DUI conviction becomes a felony, it may require mandatory jail time.

Can I Travel Internationally with a DUI on My Record?

It depends on the country you’re traveling to, as some countries (Canada, for example) may deny entry to individuals with a criminal record, including DUI convictions.

Can You Expunge a DUI in Ohio?

While other criminal convictions may be eligible for expungement, Ohio law specifically prohibits the expungement of OVI convictions. Therefore, an OVI conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently, even if you meet all other eligibility requirements for expungement.

Contact Our Ravenna OVI Lawyers

Whether you’ve been accused of drunk driving in Aurora, Ravenna, Streetsboro, or anywhere in Portage County, Ohio, it is essential to take it seriously.

A DUI/OVI is not something you want on your record. With effective legal representation from Erb Legal, you can prepare a compelling defense and work towards a dismissal, reduction, or DUI acquittal.