Felony OVI / DUI in Ohio

Columbus Felony DUI Attorney – Felony Criminal Defense Lawyer Ohio

Under Ohio law, you may be charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI / DUI), in violation of Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code, if there is evidence that you were driving a motor vehicle while:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08 or more
  • You had drugs in your system such as marijuana, cocaine, or methamphetamine; or
  • You exhibited visible signs of drug and/or alcohol impairment by failing a field sobriety test or as reflected by your operation of a motor vehicle.

Individuals charged with OVI / DUI in Ohio may face fines, fees, license suspension and possible jail time. However, there are instances in which you may be charged with a felony DUI/OVI offense. It is critical that you find a qualified felony DUI attorney in Columbus, Ohio to help you understand your rights and the possible consequences of your conviction.

Felons face a lifetime of reduced work opportunities, voting restrictions, and gun ownership limitations. Finding an experienced felony defense attorney in Columbus, Ohio is of the utmost importance to ensuring the best possible outcome for your OVI / DUI case.

When does an OVI / DUI become a felony?

In general, an OVI / DUI in Ohio is a misdemeanor of the first degree. (R.C. 4511.19(G)(1). Thus, the majority of OVI / DUI cases in Ohio are prosecuted as misdemeanors; however, you may face felony charges for OVI / DUI when any of the following circumstances are present in your case:

  • You previously pled guilty to or were convicted of at least three OVI / DUI violations within ten years of any new OVI / DUI offense (R.C. 4511.19(G)(d));
  • You previously pled guilty to or were convicted of five or more OVI / DUI violations within twenty years of any new OVI / DUI offense (R.C. 4511.19(G)(d)); or
  • You previously pled guilty to or were convicted of OVI / DUI (R.C. 4511.19(G)(e));

Felony OVI / DUI in Columbus, Ohio

Under the Columbus City Code, there are no time restrictions on considering prior OVI / DUI convictions within the municipality. Thus, if you are arrested for OVI / DUI in Columbus, a Franklin County judge may take into account OVI / DUI convictions that occurred at any time in the past. Therefore, it is possible to face felony charges in Columbus upon your fourth OVI / DUI charge, regardless of when your three prior OVI / DUI convictions occurred.

Thus, it is extremely important to your case that you hire an experienced OVI / DUI lawyer in Columbus to handle your drunk driving case. Our Tyack Law Firm felony OVI / DUI defense attorneys in Columbus have more than forty years of combined experienced handling felony criminal cases and felony OVI cases in Columbus (Franklin County, Ohio); Delaware County; Licking County; Pickaway County; Madison County; Fairfield County; Union County; and through Central Ohio.

Consequences of a Felony OVI / DUI in Ohio

Because of the seriousness of felony convictions, individuals charged with felony OVI / DUI in Ohio face significantly more severe consequences if convicted of the felony drunk driving offense. The consequences also vary based on whether a person charged with an OVI / DUI in Ohio had high test results or refused to submit to testing.

First Felony OVI / DUI Conviction Consequences

Generally, a first felony OVI / DUI in Ohio is a felony of the fourth degree. The penalties for a first felony OVI / DUI conviction in Ohio are:

  • Incarceration: 60 days (minimum) to 1 year (maximum) in jail or 60 days in prison, with option of an additional 6 to 30 months.
  • Fines: $1,350.00 (minimum) to $10,500 (maximum)
  • Alcohol/drug addiction program mandatory
  • Driver’s License Suspension: Class 2 (3 years to life)
  • Driving Privileges: Only available after 3 years
  • Restricted (Yellow) Plates: Required
  • Ignition Interlock: Required if alcohol-related OVI / DUI conviction; optional if drug-related OVI-DUI conviction
  • Mandatory Vehicle Forfeiture if Vehicle Registered to Defendant

First Felony OVI / DUI Conviction with High Test or Refusal Consequences

However, if the defendant’s 4th or 5th OVI / DUI charge in 10 years (or 6th OVI / DUI charge in 20 years) is based on a refusal or a “high test,” as defined in R.C. 4511.19(A)(1), the penalties for a first felony OVI / DUI conviction are more severe. Specifically, while all of the consequences of a first felony drunk driving conviction stay the same, a defendant convicted of a first felony OVI / DUI conviction with a refusal or a high test will instead face a minimum of 120 days incarceration in either a local jail (maximum incarceration up to 1 year) or in prison (with option of additional 6 to 30 months).

The following chemical tests are considered a “high test” OVI / DUI in Ohio:

  • Breath Test: 17g or above (R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(h))
  • Urine Test: 238g or above (R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(i))
  • Whole Blood: 17% or above (R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(f)
  • Blood Serum or Plasma: 204% or above (R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(g)

Second Felony OVI / DUI Conviction Consequences

Generally, a second felony OVI / DUI in Ohio is a felony of the third degree. The penalties for a second felony OVI / DUI conviction in Ohio are:

  • Incarceration: 60 days (minimum) to 36 months (maximum) in prison
  • Fines: $1,350.00 (minimum) to $10,500 (maximum)
  • Alcohol/drug addiction program mandatory
  • Driver’s License Suspension: Class 2 (3 years to life)
  • Driving Privileges: Only available after 3 years
  • Restricted (Yellow) Plates: Required
  • Ignition Interlock: Required if alcohol-related OVI / DUI conviction; optional if drug-related OVI-DUI conviction
  • Mandatory Vehicle Forfeiture if Vehicle Registered to Defendant

 

Second Felony OVI / DUI Conviction with High Test or Refusal Consequences

If the defendant’s second felony OVI conviction is based on a refusal or a “high test,” as defined in R.C. 4511.19(A)(1), he or she must be sentenced to at least 120 days in prison (maximum incarceration 36 months).

 

What Constitutes a DUI / OVI in Ohio?

Current Ohio law states that “it is unlawful for any person to operate or attempt to drive a motorized vehicle in the state of Ohio while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicants or any combination thereof with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater.”

However, it is possible that drivers with a BAC under .08% can also be arrested if they show signs of impairment detrimental to their ability to operate a vehicle. In these instances, a field sobriety test would determine whether the driver is fit to operate their vehicle. For more information about general DUI / OVI offenses in Ohio, check out some of our firm’s Driving Under the Influence info here.

Tyack Law Firm | Felony DUI / OVI Charges in Ohio

If you have been arrested for a felony DUI / OVI offense in Ohio, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Columbus felony DUI / OVI lawyer to fight for you in court. Our drunk driving attorneys have a proven track record of achieving positive outcomes for clients facing OVI / DUI charges throughout central Ohio.

Contact the Tyack Law Firm at (614) 221-1342 for a consultation with our felony criminal defense lawyers about your OVI / DUI case in Columbus, Franklin County, and the surrounding counties of Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, Union County, and Fairfield County in Ohio.

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