Getting charged with felony driving under the influence in or around Columbus means three things.
First, it means that police and prosecutors believe they have strong evidence that you were intoxicated while “operating” a motor vehicle. In fact, the official charge is operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Typically referred to as an OVI, the charge will apply if authorities believe you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you move or cause movement of a car, truck, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, golf cart, boat, and even a tractor. If it has some type of motor or way to make it move and you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while causing it to move, you could be charged with an OVI. The legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while operating in Ohio is a .08% for individuals 21 and over regardless of your method of transportation.
The second thing that being charged with felony DUI/OVI means is police and prosecutors have a record showing that you are a repeat offender. Under Ohio law, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is treated as misdemeanor offense until a person has four DUI/OVI convictions within a 10-year period or six DUI/OVI convictions within a 20-year period. Drunk and drugged driving convictions from outside of Ohio will count against you when determining how many you have had and the time period within which you had them.
Third, a felony DUI charge in Ohio puts you at risk for serving significant jail time and paying thousands of dollars in fines. As spelled out in Ohio sentencing guidelines, the penalties on a first-time felony conviction for driving under the influence include
Jail time and fines increase for what Ohio courts call a “high-test” offense. Registering a BAC of .17% or higher is treated as a high test.
There are ways to avoid these felony DUI/OVI penalties. Hiring an experienced felony DUI defense lawyer in Columbus will allow for properly challenging the admissibility of evidence as well as negotiating a plea deal if necessary.
Colin Maher of The Maher Law Firm advises and represents many people accused drunk and drugged driving in Columbus Ohio. He offers free phone consultations to potential clients and he takes most cases for a flat fee. You can connect with him online or call him at (614) 205-2208.