August 16, 2023 | DUI
Drinking and driving is a serious problem in the United States, and Ohio is no exception. Unfortunately, a significant number of accidents are caused because a person decided to consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
If you got into a car crash after consuming alcohol or drugs, you might wonder how long after an accident you could still be charged with a DUI (or OVI, as it is also referred to in Ohio). The timeline will vary depending on how the accident happened, among other factors.
Two Common OVI/DUI Accident Scenarios
There are two common DUI accident scenarios. In each situation, the time between the crash and getting charged with a DUI will vary.
Scenario One: The Police Respond Immediately
In the first scenario, you get into a car accident, and the police immediately respond to the scene of the accident. This is the most common situation.
In Ohio, drivers are obligated to call the police and report an accident if the crash caused injury, death, or property damage. Failure to report the accident is a minor misdemeanor. This means that the police are almost always called to the scene.
If the police respond to the crash and suspect that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will investigate you for a DUI. This may include:
- Taking your statement
- Taking witness statements
- Conducting field sobriety tests
- Administering a breath test
If, based on their investigation, they conclude that there is probable cause to believe you have committed a DUI, you will be arrested on scene.
Scenario Two: The Police Do Not Respond to the Scene
In the second scenario, the police do not respond to the scene of the accident. Perhaps you and the other driver exchange information and then go your separate ways. This is common in cases where there are no injuries or obvious damage.
In this situation, it could be days, weeks, or months before you are charged with a DUI. In fact, you might not be charged with a DUI at all. That’s because it is much harder for the prosecutors to prove that you were driving under the influence when the police don’t respond to the scene.
The police won’t have access to evidence except for the testimony of any other drivers or passengers who were involved or witnessed the crash. It is much harder to prove that you were drunk driving without evidence of your blood alcohol content from a blood test.
Statute of Limitations in DUI Cases
Even though it is uncommon, you may still be charged with a DUI years after an accident. This period is called the statute of limitations. If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, the state has two years to file charges. If you are charged with a felony DUI, the state has up to six years to file charges.
The more time passes, the harder it is to prove the case. However, you shouldn’t assume you are out of the woods simply because you weren’t immediately charged. If you were involved in a crash and were under the influence, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer to get advice. Do this even if you haven’t been charged yet.
What Happens if I Am Charged With DUI in Cincinnati, OH?
If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. You could be arrested at any time.
In some cases, you will get a call from the police department informing you of the warrant and to schedule a time to turn yourself into the police station. If they can’t reach you, you might be arrested at your home, work, or the next time you come in contact with the police.
If you find out that there is a DUI warrant for your arrest, immediately contact a defense attorney. They can help coordinate turning yourself in and getting a bond so that you aren’t held in jail.
Contact the Cincinnati DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202