Driving under the influence, commonly referred to as operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) in Ohio, is taken extremely seriously. A conviction could result in heavy penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or suspension of your driver’s license. Understanding this crime and how long after a DUI accident you can be charged is essential for protecting your rights.

Different situations could lead to a DUI charge. For example, you might be arrested at the accident scene on suspicion of a DUI. However, this isn’t always the case. You could be investigated for a DUI after the accident occurred – particularly if you are accused of a hit-and-run. 

However, there is a deadline for when the charges must be filed – this is known as the statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations for DUI Charges in Ohio

In Ohio, DUI offenses are generally considered misdemeanors unless there are aggravating circumstances – such as repeat DUI offenses or causing serious harm to others while driving under the influence – that elevate them to felony status. 

If your DUI charge falls into the misdemeanor category in Ohio, the state generally has up to two years from the date of the offense to file criminal charges against you. 

If you are being charged with a felony, the state has up to six years to file charges against you. 

If this period has expired, you typically can’t face charges for that incident anymore – though it’s important to note there may be some exceptions to this timeline.

You Could Also Face Civil Claims for a DUI Accident in Ohio

In addition to the possible misdemeanor or felony charges, you may also face civil claims if your actions resulted in harm to another person or their property. These lawsuits seek monetary compensation for the damages caused by impaired drivers.

Civil cases have different statutes of limitations to bring forward a claim. In Ohio, claimants usually have two years from the date of the accident to file a civil lawsuit.  

The deadline for a civil claim also has exceptions, so you should always speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after a DUI accident to make sure you are protecting yourself. 

What To Do If You Believe You Will Face DUI Charges in Ohio

If you believe there’s a possibility that you will be a defendant facing DUI charges in Ohio, it’s crucial to know what steps to take to protect your rights and set up your defense.

Consult an Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney

The first action on your list should be contacting an attorney who specializes in handling DUI cases in Ohio. They will provide legal advice specific to your situation and help give you the best chance at beating the charges against you.

Document Everything

Keep a record of all the facts while they’re still fresh in your mind. Write down everything you can recall about the incident: where it took place, the time it occurred, details about your interactions with law enforcement, who was with you during the time before you were arrested and when you were arrested, and anything else you believe might be helpful to your defense.

Do Not Discuss the Incident Publicly

Anything you say during an ongoing case could potentially be used against you later. Avoid discussing details publicly and only discuss the case with legal representation. Do not post anything regarding your charges or the accident on social media channels.

Understand Your Rights

Knowledge about your legal rights is an important protective shield for any person facing the possibility of a DUI charge. Your rights include things like declining to give consent for searches without warrants and remaining silent to avoid incriminating yourself. 

Contact Our Cincinnati DUI Defense Attorneys For Guidance

A DUI charge can significantly affect your life, so make sure you take all the necessary steps for your defense. If you need help, contact our Cincinnati DUI lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.

For more information, contact the DUI Defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (513) 333-0014 or visit us at our Cincinnati law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202