DUI/OVI and Traffic Violation Attorney in Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles lists 173 categories of moving and nonmoving violations that can draw criminal charges and/or civil fines for drivers and owners. The possible offenses range from driving drunk to showing expired registration stickers, and from running a red light to using a car or truck while engaging in prostitution. Without going into too many details, this means that there are several dozen ways to get in trouble with the law if you drive or keep a motor vehicle, be it a car, truck, van, SUV, RV, ATV, semi, bus, or piece of construction equipment. That lesson applies even more to commercial truck drivers and owners of trucks used for commercial purposes.
Most people treat the majority of traffic violations as minor, if unwelcome and resented, financial inconveniences. Even with administrative fees, for example, a single fine for an adult not wearing a seat belt comes to less than $200. But what happens when an accident that caused serious injuries is blamed on you for having crossed the center-line of a road while impaired by alcohol? Legal situations do not need to be so dramatic to make the need for a skilled and experienced Columbus, Ohio, traffic lawyer at Leist Warner obvious. Fines mount quickly, and several moving violations and technical issues with inspections and taxes can put business licenses in jeopardy.
Drunk and Drugged Driving Treated Severely
The Ohio Revised Code classifies driving while intoxicated as the crime of operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Abbreviated as both OVI and DUI, the offense covers excessive alcohol and drug use, though arrests and convictions for drunk driving far exceed those for drugged driving. Law enforcement officers rely on combinations of breath tests, blood tests, field sobriety tests, eyewitness accounts, and suspect interviews to make a case for OVI/DUI prosecution, with the most reliable evidence being a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher for drivers over the age of 21 or of .02 or higher for younger drivers.
A first-time conviction for OVI/DUI can cost a person his or her driver’s license for a year, six months in jail, and a fine of $1,000. A person’s car or truck can also be seized by police and held for a month, while individuals who hold commercial driver’s licenses or certifications to operate heavy equipment like cranes can be made to forfeit those privileges. Second and third OVI/DUI convictions carry even stronger penalties, starting with mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, which is a breathalyzer designed to prevent an engine from starting if alcohol is detected when the driver blows into the device.
Anyone accused of drunk driving in or around Columbus, Ohio, needs to consult with an OVI lawyer from Leist Warner. Facing a DUI charge in Columbus without an attorney makes questioning the validity of how tests were conducted and examining the quality and consistency of witness accounts difficult. Also, following a conviction, working with a Columbus OVI lawyer at Leist Warner can make complying with court orders to attend classes, submit blood and urine samples, and satisfy other probation or diversion program requirements easier.
Considerations for All Drivers and Vehicle Owners
Even if you do not need a Columbus DUI lawyer, you may find yourself unfairly ticketed and fined for any of the more than 170 other violations of Ohio’s vehicle operation and ownership laws. For instance, Columbus currently still uses red light cameras to issue summons when no police officer is present. That may change soon after the adoption of a state ordinance passed in early 2015, but it remains an issue for many.
A more pressing concern may involve a reckless driving charge for exceeding a posted speed limit, a negligence charge for not using a child safety seat to restrain a grade school child, or failing to yield right of way while turning across traffic or merging onto a highway. Following too closely, not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle, blocking a crosswalk, and several other seemingly minor infractions can also all also add up to major problems with police and courts. Tickets for such offenses often get issued in combination, and the cumulative penalties in Columbus can equal or surpass those for drunk driving.
A Note to Truckers and Fleet Owners
Other situations that can sometimes be resolved with the assistance of a Leist Warner lawyer adept at helping defendants in Columbus DUI cases are those that face commercial truckers and fleet vehicle owners. The Truck Drivers Guide Book issued by the Ohio State Highway Patrol covers everything from allowable hours of operation and the keeping of logbooks to weight limits, cargo medallions, vehicle and container inspections, and minimum speed limits. Meeting all the requirements to legally drive and own commercial vehicles in the Buckeye State can be difficult. When violations are alleged, calling a knowledgeable Columbus defense attorney at Leist Warner can help individual contractors and companies stay in business.
Contact a DUI/OVI Attorney in Columbus, Ohio
Lawyers in the Columbus offices of Leist Warner are more than drunk driving lawyers. We know the law, and we offer no-cost case consultations to anyone accused of a serious violation of Ohio’s extensive and complicated traffic and vehicle regulations. Contact us today by calling (614) 222-1000 or using this web form.
Never risk losing your driving privileges, and possibly your freedom, to a drinking and driving charge or another alleged criminal offense without first speaking with a Leist Warner OVI and traffic violations attorney in Columbus, Ohio.