Cincinnati, OH- In 2014, the Ohio State Patrol issued 18,000 citations of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). That’s a large number of Ohioans in legal trouble, the extent of which they may be unaware of, and a lot of people with questions about their OVI charges.

One of the first questions our OVI/DUI attorneys in Ohio are asked is: Will my driver’s license be suspended?

Yes! Sorry, but your license will be suspended automatically for at least 6 months up to 1 year. That is the most immediate consequence of an OVI charge and happens before you are even convicted. This can make life very difficult if you commute to work or your occupation entails driving. In such cases suspension or your driver’s license could mean the loss of your job. Even though a license suspension is automatic, it is possible, in some cases, to get your license reinstated permanently or temporarily.

What happens if I refused sobriety or breathalyzer tests?

If you refused field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer or a blood test, your license will be suspended for at least a year. This is also an automatic suspension. Making matters worse is the fact that you face additional charges. Not only can you be charged with refusal but you can also be charged with OVI; that’s double the charges. Even if you manage to avoid an OVI conviction, you could still be convicted of refusing.

What are the penalties for an OWI conviction in Ohio?

A conviction for a first OVI in Ohio a carries a minimum of 3 days in jail up to 6 months. If you are convicted, how much time you spend in jail depends on a number of factors, including your blood alcohol content, your criminal history and whether or not your arrest involved an accident.

In addition to a possible jail sentence, you can expect to pay up to $1,000 in fines and fees. On top of that you will see a marked increase in your auto insurance premiums that can affect you for up to 6 years.

Will I have to install an ignition interlock device in my car?

Under Ohio law, ignition interlock devices are only installed in a person’s car upon their third OVI conviction. Though it may be possible from some offenders to request an ignition interlock in exchange for limited driving privileges.

Can I plead to a lesser charge?

In Ohio, some OVI offenders are allowed to plea to a lesser charge of “wet reckless.” That charge is a reckless driving charge that involved alcohol. Securing such a plea is done through negotiations between your OVI attorney and the prosecutor.  If your blood alcohol level was borderline or you have no prior OWI charges on your record, you will have a better chance of getting a lesser. But, it is important to note that a “wet reckless” charge is considered an OVI if you are arrested for a second or third OVI.

If you have been arrested for an OVI, USAttorneys can connect you with an experienced and knowledgeable OVI lawyer near you in Ohio, so they can get started on your defense and increase your chances of avoiding an OVI conviction.