What Happens When You Get a DUI?

taking a breathalyzer test

There are many things that can happen as a result of getting a DUI in Ohio—and none of them are pleasant. If you’ve wondered what happens when you get a DUI, the most important thing to know is that most of the negative consequences of a DUI can be mitigated to some extent when you have an experienced DUI attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz by your side. It can be embarrassing, anxiety-inducing, and stressful to be charged with an Ohio DUI. You may be worried about your job, your family, your finances, and your freedom—with good reason. 

When you choose a knowledgeable DUI attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz, you can rest assured that we will never judge you; we know that good people make bad decisions from time to time. The rest of your life shouldn’t hinge on this one mistake. We will work hard to ensure that does not happen. If you are facing DUI charges and are worried about what you are facing, attorneys Barbara Horwitz and Jonathan Horwitz are here to help you through this difficult time with the best outcome possible. 

When Can You Be Charged for a DUI/OVI in Ohio?

The terms “DUI” and “OVI” refer to the same offense—operating a vehicle while intoxicated—and are often used interchangeably. In the state of Ohio, you must have a BAC of 0.08 or higher to be charged with DUI/OVI, and you must have been physically in the vehicle at the time. For those under the age of 21, the BAC limit is 0.02 percent, and for those with a CDL, the BAC limit is 0.04 percent. It is important to note that you don’t necessarily have to be driving the vehicle, or even sitting in the vehicle while it is parked and running to be charged with a DUI/OVI. Simply being in the driver’s seat with the car keys available to you is sufficient to allow law enforcement to charge you with a DUI. 

If you’ve been charged with DUI/OVI, the first step you must take is to speak to a knowledgeable DUI attorney who can educate you on the court process and the potential consequences. Your attorney will listen carefully to your account of the arrest, and then begin preparing potential defenses on your behalf. Remember—if you plead guilty, there is a 100 percent chance you will be found guilty. By pleading not guilty and allowing an experienced attorney to do what they do best, you have a chance of avoiding a conviction. So, when asking “what happens when you get a DUI,” the simple answer is that it depends on whether you have a DUI attorney and how experienced that attorney is. 

What Happens Following DUI/OVI Charges in Ohio?

Ohio penalties for a DUI can be severe, even for a first offense. For a “low-level” offense (a BAC of at least 0.08 percent, but less than 0.17 percent), the following penalties apply for a first-time DUI/OVI conviction:

  • A minimum of three days in jail (which can potentially be avoided with the installation of an ignition interlock device).
  • A maximum time in jail of six months.
  • Up to five years of probation.
  • A potential treatment order that requires a specific amount of time in alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Fines from $375 to $1,075.
  • A license suspension from one year to three years, with no driving privileges at all for the first 15 days following your arrest.
  • Six points added to your driving record.
  • Potentially a mandatory order for the installation of an interlock ignition device.
  • A judge could order restricted license plates.
  • A reinstatement fee of $475 once you are eligible to get your driver’s license back.

For a high-level DUI/OVI (BAC of 0.17 percent or higher) first offense, the minimum jail time increases to six days, while all other penalties remain the same. A second DUI/OVI within ten years increases the minimum incarceration to 10 days in jail or five days in jail and 18 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring and/or continuous alcohol monitoring. 

The fines are slightly more, but the maximum incarceration and probation remain the same as for a first DUI/OVI. Your license can be suspended for a period of one to seven years, with no driving privileges during the first 45 days. If the vehicle is registered to you, the court can order a 90-day immobilization of the vehicle. The penalties for a third and fourth DUI/OVI increase exponentially. 

What Should You Do When You’ve Been Arrested for a DUI?

Following an Ohio DUI/OVI arrest, it is important that you take your right to remain silent seriously. You are required to provide the arresting officer with your name and address. Beyond that, you should not answer any questions until you have spoken to an experienced DUI attorney. 

Your answers can be taken out of context and used against you to achieve a conviction, so you should not answer questions even if (or especially if) the officer tells you that you can go home as soon as you answer the questions. The sooner you can speak to a knowledgeable DUI/OVI attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz, the sooner your attorney can begin working on your behalf. All evidence will be gathered by your attorney, and if your rights were violated during or after your arrest, your attorney may be able to have your charges dismissed entirely. 

Planning Your Defense for Your DUI Charges

After comprehensively examining all the evidence surrounding your arrest, your DUI/OVI attorney will begin to build a solid defense on your behalf. Some of the potential DUI defenses that may apply in your case include:

  • Your field sobriety test was not correctly administered or the results were invalid.
  • There were inaccuracies regarding your breathalyzer test—perhaps the officer was not certified or trained to administer the test, or perhaps the machine itself was not tested or certified. 
  • There was no probable cause to stop you for DUI.
  • It cannot be proven that you were physically “in possession of” the car at the time of your arrest.
  • You refused a breathalyzer test.
  • Your Miranda rights were violated.

Depending on the defense chosen by you and your attorney, your charges may either be dropped immediately, or your attorney may persuasively argue your defense in court. Remember, in a criminal court of law your lawyer must only prove your defense beyond a reasonable doubt. 

How a Horwitz & Horwitz Attorney Can Answer the Question of What Happens When You Get a DUI?

Being arrested and charged with DUI/OVI in the state of Ohio can be extremely unnerving. You are facing extremely severe penalties from the justice system if you are found guilty of the offense and will also face collateral damages that can last a very long time. A DUI conviction can significantly affect your current job as well as your ability to secure a job in the future. The financial aspects of a DUI are also very far-reaching when you consider fines, fees, the cost of an interlock device, the potential loss of a job, obtaining auto insurance in the future, and much more. 

The highly skilled DUI/OVI attorneys from Horwitz & Horwitz serve Centerville, Springboro, Beavercreek, Miamisburg, and Kettering. With more than 53 years of combined experience, our firm was founded in 2009. While there are other firms that may have been around longer, we are accessible and offer highly individualized attention to every client. Your case will never be passed off to another employee; you will see either Barbara Horwitz or Jonathan Horwitz. Our attorneys genuinely care about you and your situation and will work tirelessly on your behalf for the very best outcome possible. Contact Horwitz & Horwitz today.