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Ohio OVI Attorneys

ohio dui ovi attorney law




    Do you know your rights if you are pulled over for an OVI in Ohio?   

    • You have the right to refuse the breathalyzer, urine and/or the blood test. However, if you refuse, your license will be suspended for one year if this is your first OVI (called an “ALS” suspension).  You may, however, be able to get driving privileges for work or school after the first 30 days of the ALS suspension. At our initial OVI meeting, attorney Doug Riddell regularly reviews our client’s ALS paperwork for any technical flaws that could void the otherwise mandatory driver’s license suspension.
    • If you have prior OVI convictions or have previously refused a breathalyzer or blood test, you could face harsher — even doubled — penalties if you refuse the tests.
    • If you refuse to take the breathalyzer or blood test or you take and fail the field sobriety tests, you have 30 days to request an appeal hearing to determine whether all of the proper legal procedures were followed.  If you don’t request this hearing within 30 days, you cannot stop your license from being suspended.  A good reason to talk to an experienced Ohio OVI lawyer now.
    • It is much harder for the prosecutor to convict you if you refused all sobriety tests (the breathalyzer and blood tests), because, without this chemical evidence, they don’t have any hard evidence to use against you.
    • Did you fail the “eye test”?  Read here for more info on possible defenses.
    • You do not have to answer any incriminating questions from an officer (such as “Have you been drinking?” or “How much have you had to drink?”) when you’re pulled over for suspicion of OVI.
    • You have a right to a jury trial in a misdemeanor Ohio OVI case, and all eight people on the jury have to agree in order to find you guilty.
    • Before you can be found guilty of an OVI in Ohio, the State must prove two key facts beyond a reasonable doubt:
      • That you were actually operating the vehicle.  What constitutes “operation” of a vehicle is an issue that has been debated by Ohio courts.  Some courts have found that there must be testimony of actual movement of the vehicle with you behind the wheel and the keys in the ignition.  Other courts have found operation where there is the potential to cause the car to move (i.e. the engine doesn’t have to be running).
      • That you were impaired.  This can be shown by chemical or other physical evidence (i.e. the results of chemical tests showed that the alcohol or drug level in your blood was over the legal limit) or testimony by the officer about they way you looked, moved or acted (i.e. during field sobriety tests).
    • A first offense Ohio OVI is a first degree misdemeanor which carries a minimum sentence of three days in jail or three days in a driver intervention program and a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
    • Ohio law finds a driver to be “under the influence” if he or she has a breathalyzer or blood alcohol level of .08 or more or if he or she is impaired as evidenced by the observations of the arresting officer.
    • If you are under 21, you can be charged with a special, zero tolerance OVI called a OVUAC (operating a vehicle after underage alcohol consumption) if you have a blood alcohol content over .02.


    First Offense OVI Conviction Penalties

    • Fines from $375 to $1,075
    • Jail time of 3 days (or a 3 day driver intervention program) up to 6 months
    • License suspension of 1 to 3 years (**If the offender agrees to a restricted license with unlimited privileges and an ignition interlock on their vehicle, the suspension could be reduced in half (i.e. if given the minimum one year suspension, could be reduced to six months**)
    • Possible drug/alcohol assessment and recommended treatment
    • Possible restricted yellow “party” license plate

    Second Offense OVI Conviction Penalties

    • Fines from $525 to $1,625
    • Jail time of 10 days to 180 days (minimum 20 days if a “high test” or chemical test (i.e. breathalyzer) refusal in the past 20 years)
    • License suspension of 1 to 7 years
    • No driving privileges for 45 days from date of the offense
    • Vehicle immobilization for 90 days if vehicle registered to the Defendant
    • Mandatory drug/alcohol assessment and recommended treatment
    • Restricted yellow “party” license plate required if a “high test” or chemical test refusal in the past 20 years)

    Third Offense OVI Conviction Penalties

    • Fines from $850-$2750
    • Jail time of 30 days to 1 year (minimum 60 days if a “high test” or chemical test (i.e. breathalyzer refusal in the past 20 years)
    • License suspension of 2 to 12 years
    • No driving privileges for 180 days (6 months) from the date of the offense
    • Forfeiture of the vehicle if registered to the Defendant
    • Mandatory drug/alcohol assessment and recommended treatment
    • Mandatory restricted yellow “party” license plates


    Douglas Riddell is an Ohio OVI attorney with extensive experience representing clients faced with OVI charges in jury trials, bench trials and motion hearings.  As an experienced Ohio OVI attorney, Mr. Riddell represents clients facing drunk driving charges throughout Ohio, including:

    Columbus & Central Ohio

    Cincinnati Area

    Riddell Law represents clients in cases ranging from first-time 1st offense Ohio OVI offenses to repeat OVI charges that can carry significant penalties, including jail or prison time.

    As Columbus, Ohio OVI attorneys, we are often asked questions about Ohio OVI law and what to do if pulled over on suspicion of an OVI in Ohio.  Toward addressing these frequently asked questions, we have put together a few FAQs about Ohio OVI law below.


    1.  OVI v. DUI:
    What is the Difference?

    2. Field Sobriety Tests: What Are Police Officers Looking For?

    3. If Pulled Over for an OVI, Should You Take the Breathalyzer Test?

    4. What Should You Consider in Choosing an OVI Lawyer?

    5. Can I Get Driving Privileges for Work or School if I Have an OVI Charge?


    When faced with a drunk driving charge, contacting an experienced attorney is essential.  Several possible defenses to the charges may be available that you depending on the facts of your case and your attorney should consider.

    Riddell Law is committed to protecting your right to counsel, guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 1o of the Ohio Constitution.  Take advantage of this right — and do not try to represent yourself.  The potential  consequences of having an Ohio OVI (or multiple OVIs) on your record are too serious, including the stigma of having a criminal conviction, jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, electronic home monitoring, vehicle immobilization, mandatory alcohol treatment programs, increased insurance rates, and loss of your job and future employment opportunities.

    Many people decide not to hire a lawyer and opt to just plead guilty without hiring an OVI attorney, only to spend years facing the consequences.  Remember: Decisions made today in your Ohio OVI case could affect the rest of your life.

    Failure to exercise your rights after an Ohio OVI arrest is the biggest mistake you can make.  Doug Riddell has helped countless clients–from college students to retirees–in Columbus, Franklin County, and surrounding areas to negotiate or litigate a favorable resolution to their Ohio OVI charges.



    At Riddell Law, we do not believe in hiding the ball when it comes to fees.  We do not believe in running up your legal bill with costly hourly fees.  Rather, we will quote you a flat free up front at your initial consultation.

    At your initial consultation, Ohio OVI attorney Douglas Riddell will review your case with you, will answer your questions, and will give his best assessment of your case based on the information provided.  If you don’t think we are right for the job, you are under no obligation.

    To make payment easier, in addition to cash and checks, Riddell Law accepts all major credit cards.  Further, we offer payment plan options to qualified clients.

    To speak with us by phone or to schedule your FREE consultation and review your legal rights, call 614-361-2804, contact Attorney Douglas Riddell or by e-mail at doug@riddelllaw.com.