Columbus, Ohio DUI/OVI Attorney
No one can deny or downplay the dangers of drunk and drugged driving in Ohio. During 2012, more than 12,000 crashes involved the offense defined in state law as operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI), and by mid-2015 alone, the Ohio State Highway Patrol claimed slightly more than 8,500 OVI enforcement actions.
Many of these wrecks and arrests occurred in Columbus and surrounding Franklin County. We do not want intoxicated and stoned drivers on our roads and highways any more than police and possible victims of recklessly impaired individuals do. At the same time, the criminal defense attorneys at Leist Warner are prepared to help clients charged with the crime most people call DUI. Seeking out advice from, and representation by, an experienced and compassionate Columbus drunk driving lawyer at Leist Warner can mean the difference between losing your driving privileges and going to jail and earning a chance to prove your innocence or proving your ability to avoid making bad mistakes moving forward.
As noted, OVI is the legal term Ohio law enforcement officers and courts use for driving any motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs ranging from marijuana and prescription painkillers to methamphetamines and cocaine. “Vehicles” includes all cars and trucks, as well as motorcycles, mopeds, ATVs, boats and bicycles (even when the last two do not have motors). Defining and proving impairment is much more difficult, however, which is why working with a skilled and dedicated Columbus DUI lawyer at Leist Warner is necessary for any OVI defendant.
For drinkers over the age of 21, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are only permitted a BAC of .02 before facing an automatic OVI charge. Police and courts also rely on field sobriety tests, testimony from witnesses and suspects, and blood tests to determine whether individuals were coordinated and alert enough to operate a vehicle safely.
Reviewing and questioning physical and circumstantial evidence for drunk or drugged driving usually requires the expertise of a Leist Warner OVI attorney in Columbus, Ohio. Breathalyzers must be calibrated and used correctly, blood samples must be handled and stored properly, and witnesses, including police officers, must be held to account for delivering consistent and believable descriptions of events.
OVI Penalties Depend on Circumstances
This brochure published by the Ohio Department of Public Safety summarizes the three-tier approach to sentencing OVI offenders. Boiling that information down even further, first-time convictions for driving under the influence can result in brief losses of driving privileges, small fines, short jail sentences, and requirements to attend drug and alcohol education classes and driving safety courses. A second OVI conviction comes with an almost guaranteed jail sentence and required use of a device that prevents an engine from starting if alcohol can be detected on the driver’s breath. A third or subsequent OVI conviction results in automatic jail time and permanent revocation of the driver’s license.
DUI/OVI incidents that cause injuries or deaths get prosecuted as assaults or homicides. Another concern is that individuals who hold commercial driver’s licenses and certificates that allow them to operate heavy equipment often lose those job qualifications when they get charged with driving under the influence.
Working with a Columbus DUI lawyer at Leist Warner from the moment a drunk or drugged driving arrest is made can help an accused individual retain his or her license and freedom while the case proceeds through the investigation and trial stages. Defendants who fail to secure representation from a Leist Warner Columbus OVI lawyer can spend unnecessary time in jail and lose their ability to commute to or do their jobs without actually getting sentenced to suffer those consequences.
Do Not Ask Whether You Need an OVI Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio
If you stand accused of driving while drunk or stoned, you need a Leist Warner DUI attorney in Columbus, Ohio. This is especially true if an accident occurred and police have declared that you were at fault. Whether or not anyone suffered injuries or lost their lives, an alcohol or drug-related crash can lead to severe criminal punishments and steep civil consequences in terms of payments for damages and restitution. Call Leist Warner today at (614) 222-1000 or fill out this form to request a no-cost case evaluation. We cannot take every OVI defendant’s case, but we stand ready to answer your questions and point you towards helpful resources.