Things to Know if Charged with a DUI in Cleveland
A law enforcement official will charge you with a DUI in Cleveland if you are driving while intoxicated. In Ohio, the official term used for this crime is OVI, or operating a vehicle under the influence. Outside of Cleveland, DWI, DUI and OUI are other common names for this crime.
This article will explain what you need to know if you are charged with a DUI in Cleveland.
Penalties for Committing DUI in Cleveland
If you are charged with committing DUI in Cleveland, you will want to know the types of penalties you may face.
A number of factors affect the severity of the Cleveland drunk driving penalties, including:
- Whether your blood-alcohol content, or BAC, was excessively high. BAC is the measure of alcohol in your blood.
- Whether you have prior OVI convictions.
- Whether you were breaking any traffic laws while drunk driving.
- Whether you were driving with a suspended license.
- Whether you were involved in an accident while driving drunk.
- Whether there was a child in the car at the time of intoxication.
For a first Cleveland OVI offense, you may face the following penalties:
- Three days to six months in jail or a three-day Driver Intervention Program
- License suspension for six months to three years
- Fines ranging from $250 to $1,000
A second Cleveland OVI offense entails even harsher penalties, including:
- Minimum 10 days in jail and electronic home monitoring from 18 days to six months
- License suspension from one to five years
- Vehicle immobilized for 90 days
- Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
A third Cleveland OVI offense entails the following penalties:
- 30 days to one year in jail or 15 days in jail and electronic home monitoring from 55 days to one year
- License suspension from one to 10 years
- Vehicle immobilization for 180 days
- Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
A fourth Cleveland drunk driving offense is considered a felony.
Cleveland Alcohol Testing Facts
In Cleveland, it is illegal for someone to drive with a BAC of .08 or above. For minors, this limit is lowered to .02.
When you are pulled over by the police, you may undergo a field sobriety test. Officers use these tests to determine if someone is too impaired to drive. Examples of tests include:
- Standing on one leg
- Walking in a straight line, turning and then walking back
- Following a light with your eyes while keeping your head and neck still
If you do poorly on the field sobriety test, an officer may arrest you on suspicion of drinking and driving. Police may then administer a BAC test, which can take the form of a blood, chemical or breath test.
If you refuse to subject yourself to blood-alcohol testing in Cleveland, you will have your license immediately suspended. Ohio has what is known as an implied consent law. This means that by having a driver's license, you have provided your implied consent to cooperate with BAC testing in the event an officer has reason to believe you've been drinking and driving.
Understand that you can still be charged with committing DUI in Cleveland even if your BAC tests below .08. Under the law, if there is enough evidence to prove that, regardless of your BAC, you were too intoxicated to safely drive, you may be convicted of OVI.
Hiring a Cleveland OVI Attorney
If you have been charged with OVI, you will want to make an effort to hire a Cleveland OVI lawyer. A Cleveland OVI lawyer can defend you in court, explain your legal options to you and guide you through the Cleveland criminal process. If you are incarcerated and are unable to search for a lawyer yourself, find someone you trust to help you investigate potential attorneys to hire.
To begin your attorney search, ask friends and family members for recommendations. If they have used an OVI attorney in the past, ask them about their experience. If it was positive, get the name of their lawyer.
You can also use a site like Attorneys.com to find an attorney. Whether you were charged with a DUI in Parma, Brooklyn Heights, Shaker Heights or another area of Cleveland, Attorneys.com can connect you to at least one OVI attorney in your area. Just fill out the form online, or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, Attorneys.com will provide you with the contact information of one or more OVI attorneys near you. The attorney will contact you within two business days, or you can reach out to him at your own convenience.
Next, set up an initial consultation with the OVI attorney. An initial consultation is an initial meeting that gives you the opportunity to ask the lawyer about his practice, inform him about your case and decide whether to hire him. Questions to consider asking include:
- How long has the attorney worked on OVI cases?
- Has he ever handled a case like yours?
- What does he think of your case?
- What kind of fee arrangement does he use? How much does he cost?
- If you have any questions, how can you contact him?
After speaking with the lawyer, you should be able to make an informed hiring decision.