Driving while impaired carries serious consequences. In Ohio, under certain circumstances, you could be facing felony charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A DUI (driving under the influence), also called an OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) in Ohio, has four basic elements that the state needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial to convict you.

These elements are:

  1. You
  2. Operated a vehicle
  3. Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  4. You have X prior convictions for DUI / OVI in the last 10 or 20 years. 

The first three elements are the same for both misdemeanor and felony DUIs. However, the fourth element is what changes from case to case and can turn an OVI into a felony.

If you are facing felony DUI charges, you need legal help, and fast. Contact a reputable Ohio DUI defense lawyer right away.

What Makes a DUI a Felony in Ohio?

Under Ohio law, the number of prior convictions for an OVI during a specific “look back” period is what makes a DUI a felony. 

DUIs within a certain timeframe are counted, with the severity increasing as the number of prior convictions goes up.

In Ohio an OVI is a felony when you:

  • Have three prior convictions of DUI in the last 10 years
  • Have five prior convictions of DUI in the last 20 years
  • Have previously been convicted of a felony OVI

This means that your fourth + DUI in ten years, or your sixth + DUI in 20 years is a felony. 

What Are the Penalties for Felony DUI in Ohio?

The penalties for a felony DUI in Ohio can range from a minimum of 60 days jail to five years in prison if convicted. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for a minimum of three years and could be suspended for life. Court ordered treatment for substance abuse, ignition interlock devices, vehicle forfeiture, and hefty fines are also part of a felony OVI sentence upon conviction.

Aggravating factors can greatly increase the sentence you receive. Examples of aggravating factors include a higher blood alcohol content (BAC), someone being injured, a crash occurring, high speeds, the recency of other DUIs. Additionally, the number of OVIs you have been convicted of also increases the penalty a judge will give. 

How Can You Defend Against Felony DUI Charges?

Now that you know when a DUI can be a felony in Ohio, it is important that you understand the defenses commonly used in OVI defense. Everyone’s case is different, so only your lawyer can advise you on which defenses may be available in your unique situation. 

Some common DUI defense strategies include:

  • Filing “Stop Motions” arguing the traffic stop was unlawful
  • Filing motions to throw out blood and breath tests
  • Arguing that police violated your Miranda rights 
  • Challenging the reliability of field sobriety tests

As you can see, there are many different angles to attack a felony DUI. Just because you are charged does not mean it is all said and done. When you hire an aggressive and experienced OVI lawyer, you are sending a signal to prosecutors that you will not be taken advantage of.

The prosecution is required to prove each element of a DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. OVI defense is typically built around attacking the evidence against you. A criminal defense lawyer will try to show the evidence is unreliable, or that it was unlawfully obtained by police so it can’t be used against you. 

If you have been arrested for felony DUI do not make the mistake of trying to talk your way out of it. Invoke your right to remain silent and call an experienced OVI lawyer.

Contact the Cincinnati DUI Lawyers at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the DUI lawyers 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
United States