Everything You Need to Know About a DUI/OVI Charge in Ashland County, Ohio
Driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) is a severe offense that can have significant consequences in Ashland County, Ohio. Whether you've just moved to the area or have been a long-time resident, you must be aware of the laws and penalties associated with these charges to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.
Definition of DUI/OVI
In Ashland County, Ohio, a DUI/OVI charge applies to individuals operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for most drivers is 0.08%. For commercial drivers, it is reduced to 0.04%; for those under 21, there is a "zero tolerance" policy with a BAC limit of 0.02%.
Penalties for DUI/OVI
The penalties for a DUI/OVI conviction can be severe, including fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol or drug treatment programs, probation, and even jail time. The severity of the penalties often depends on factors such as prior convictions and the level of impairment at the time of arrest.
Implied Consent Law
In Ohio, there is an implied consent law, which means that by obtaining a driver's license, individuals automatically agree to submit to chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) if lawfully arrested for suspicion of DUI/OVI. Refusal to take the test can lead to an automatic license suspension, even if the person is not guilty.
Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
If arrested for DUI/OVI in Ashland County, Ohio, your driver's license may be subject to administrative suspension before your case goes to court. This suspension typically lasts 90 days to three years, depending on previous offenses and test refusals.
Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
Law enforcement officers often use field sobriety tests to assess a driver's level of impairment. These tests include the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. However, these tests are subjective and can be influenced by various factors, including weather conditions and physical limitations.
Hiring an Attorney
If facing a DUI/OVI charge in Ashland County, seeking legal representation is essential. A knowledgeable attorney at Spaulding & Kitzler can review the details of your case, challenge evidence, and protect your rights in court. They can also help negotiate plea agreements or explore alternative sentencing options.
Limited Driving Privileges
Under certain circumstances, individuals with suspended licenses may be eligible for limited driving privileges. These privileges allow driving to work, school, medical appointments, or other essential activities.
Ignition Interlock Devices (IID)
In Ohio, individuals convicted of DUI/OVI may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. The IID prevents the car from starting if alcohol is detected in the driver's breath, providing a measure of safety and accountability.
For those struggling with alcohol or substance abuse issues, a DUI/OVI charge can be a wake-up call. The court may order mandatory alcohol or drug treatment programs as part of sentencing, which can serve as an opportunity for individuals to address their addiction and make positive changes in their lives.
DUI/OVI charges in Ashland County, Ohio, can have far-reaching consequences. It's crucial to be aware of the laws, penalties, and available options if faced with such charges. Whether it's understanding the implied consent law or seeking legal counsel, taking the proper steps can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Remember, the best approach is to drive responsibly and avoid putting yourself and others at risk of DUI/OVI charges. Please contact our attorneys at Spaulding & Kitzler today for your free DUI/OVI consultation.