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DUI Defense

As an experienced DUI Lawyer and former prosecutor, I understand how Ohio DUI / OVI cases are charged, and I know how the prosecution will present the evidence.

A police officer’s job should be to document all evidence – whether it supports a finding of DUI / OVI or not. Unfortunately, law enforcement often focuses only on evidence that hurts a defendant’s case. It is my job to identify beneficial evidence that was overlooked and is to your benefit. Common DUI police mistakes.

I’ve been certified in the proper administration of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). My experience and background ensure you receive an aggressive drunk driving defense and sound legal counsel.

 

What are the consequences of a DUI conviction?

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be harsh. A conviction can result in jail, fines, loss of driving rights, restrictions on travel, and other repercussions. With the right DUI Lawyer, penalties can be minimized or avoided altogether.

 

Invisible Accordian
1st Offense in 10 Years

(Below .170 BAC or simple impaired)

  • Degree of Defense: Misdemeanor 1.
  • Jail Time: 3 days jail (or DIP*) up to 6 months.
  • Fines: $375-$1,075.
  • Treatment: Optional.
  • License Suspension: 1 – 3 years.
  • Driving Privileges: After 15 days (30 if refusal).
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Optional.

 

(Above .170 BAC or refusal with prior in 20 years)

  • Degree of Defense: Misdemeanor 1.
  • Jail Time: 6 days jail (or 3 days + DIP*) up to 6 months.
  • Fines: $375-$1,075.
  • Treatment: Optional.
  • License Suspension: 1 – 3 years.
  • Driving Privileges: After 15 days (30 if refusal).
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Plates required. IID** optional.
2nd Offense in 10 Years

(Below .170 BAC or simple impaired)

  • Degree of Defense: Misdemeanor 1
  • Jail Time: 10 days jail (or 5 days jail and 18 days HAEM*** and/or CAM****) up to 6 months.
  • Fines: $525-$1,675.
  • Treatment: Alcohol/Drug Assessment with recommended treatment mandatory.
  • License Suspension: 1 – 7 years.
  • Driving Privileges: 45 days (90 if refusal).
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Plates required. IID** required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related.
  • Additional Punishment: 90 days vehicle immobilization.

 

(Above .170 BAC or refusal within prior 20 Years)

  • Degree of Defense: Misdemeanor 1.
  • Jail Time: 20 days jail (or 10 days jail and 36 days HAEM*** and/or CAM****) up to 6 months.
  • Fines: $525-$1,675.
  • Treatment: Alcohol/Drug Assessment with recommended treatment mandatory.
  • License Suspension: 1 – 7 years.
  • Driving Privileges: Restrictions: 45 days (90 if refusal).
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Plates required for above .170 test, option for refusal. IID** required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related.
  • Additional Punishment: 90 days vehicle immobilization.
3rd Offense in 10 Years

(Below .170 BAC or simple impaired)

  • Degree of Defense: Unclassified misdemeanor.
  • Jail Time: 30 days jail (or 15 days jail and 55 days HAEM*** and/or CAM****) up to 1 year.
  • Fines: $850-$2,750.
  • Treatment: Alcohol/Drug Addiction Program treatment mandatory.
  • License Suspension: 2 – 12 years.
  • Driving Restriction: 180 days (1 year if refusal).
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Plates required. IID** required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related.
  • Additional Punishment: Possible vehicle forfeiture.

 

(Above .170 BAC or refusal with prior in past 20 Years)

  • Degree of Defense: Unclassified misdemeanor.
  • Jail Time: 60 days jail (or 30 days in jail with 110 days HAEM*** and/or CAM****) up to 1 year.
  • Fines: $850-$2,750.
  • Treatment: Alcohol/Drug Addiction Program treatment mandatory.
  • License Suspension: 2 – 12 Years.
  • Driving Privileges: 180 days (1 year if refusal).
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Plates required. IID** required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related.
  • Additional Punishment: Possible vehicle forfeiture.
4th or 5th Offense in 10 Years – OR – 6th Offense in 20 Years.

(Below .170 BAC or simple impaired)

  • Degree of Defense: Felony of the 4th Degree.
  • Jail Time: 60 days local incarceration up to 1 year or 60 days in prison with option of additional 6 to 30 months.
  • Fines: $1,350-$10,500.
  • Treatment: Alcohol/Drug Addiction Program treatment mandatory.
  • License Suspension: 3 Years to lifetime.
  • Driving Privileges: After 3 years.
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Plates required. IID** required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related.
  • Additional Punishment: Possible vehicle forfeiture.

 

(Above .170 BAC or Refusal)

  • Degree of Defense: Felony of the 4th Degree.
  • Jail Time: 120 days local incarceration up to 1 year or 120 days in prison with option of additional 6 to 30 months.
  • Fines: $1,350-$10,500.
  • Treatment: Alcohol/Drug Addiction Program treatment mandatory.
  • License Suspension: 3 Years to lifetime.
  • Driving Privileges: After 3 years.
  • Restricted Plates/IID**: Plates required. IID
  • Required if alcohol-related, optional if drug-related.
  • Additional Punishment: Possible vehicle forfeiture.
*DIP- Driver intervention program certified under RC 3793.10 provisions.
**IID- Ignition interlock device
***HAEM- House arrest with electronic monitoring.
****CAM- Continuous alcohol monitoring.

The penalties continue to escalate as the number of DUI offenses (as well as prior felony OVIs) increase. This list of penalties is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney and was last updated 4/1/19. This is merely provided to give an assessment of the possible penalties. Every case is different.

Possible aggravating factors

An aggravating factor is any circumstance that increases the severity or culpability of a criminal act. In the presence of aggravating factors, a DUI case becomes more serious and potentially increases the penalties for the alleged drunk driver.

A DUI charge is often accompanied by these aggravating factors:

  • Driving on a suspended license.
  • Auto accident resulting in injury or death to another driver.
  • Hit and run.
  • Minor or child in the car.
  • Chemical test refusal.
  • Speeding Enhancement.
  • An alcohol content of .17 or higher.

With the constantly evolving nature of the law, it’s important to have an attorney with a narrow focus. We focus on OVI / DUI defense and are prepared to address new issues as they arise.

DUI cases are always unique. Whether you performed the standardized field sobriety tests, agreed to a breath or blood test, or refused all tests, you need a Columbus OVI / DUI Lawyer that understands the law and all possible defenses.

What are some possible DUI defenses?

Drunk driving charges can differ greatly depending on the specifics of the situation and the past record of the accused. Since a DUI conviction can’t be expunged from your record, the ideal outcome for someone arrested for DUI is to either defeat the charge or negotiate a plea to a lesser charge. As your DUI Lawyer, these are some of the areas I’ll explore to build the best defense and get the best possible results:

COMMON OVI / DUI ISSUES:

There are numerous ways to approach an OVI / DUI case. As a former prosecutor, I know how the system works and what strategies are most effective. One of the first things we investigate is whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place. Next, we investigate whether the officer had the right to detain you in order to conduct an OVI / DUI investigation. Finally, a totality of circumstances must be considered to determine if probable cause to make an arrest existed. Without a justification for any one of the preceding, the case may have to be dismissed.

BREATH/BLOOD/URINE TESTS:

Submitting to a test and testing over the legal limit is not determinative of the outcome. Failure to conduct a breath, blood, or urine test in accordance with the Ohio Administrative Code can result in its exclusion from evidence. It’s not uncommon that law enforcement agencies fail to comply with the highly technical administrative requirements. More about failed breath or blood alcohol tests. ➤

STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established guidelines for administering standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). If it is shown that the test did not comply with those guidelines, the evidence may be suppressed. More about common DUI Police mistakes. ➤

I have been certified in the proper administration of SFSTs. I have also been certified on how law enforcement is trained regarding SFSTs. This experience has proven invaluable and prevented numerous SFSTs from being used against my clients.

SEEKING REDUCTION OF CHARGES:

In cases where a dismissal is not possible and a trial is not in the client’s best interest, we are often able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the DUI charge to a non-moving offense. This avoids a DUI conviction and has the added benefit of avoiding points on your license. Most importantly, unlike the DUI charge, this reduction carries no mandatory minimum penalties.

PROTECTING YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES:

For most of us, driving is essential for work, school, and other vital responsibilities. Pursuant to Ohio Implied Consent Law, your license was likely seized by law enforcement following the arrest. You should have received an Administrative License Suspension Form setting the terms of the suspension. We are often able to stay the suspension at your first court hearing which will allow you to drive immediately. Furthermore, it’s common for the errors on the form to result in termination of the suspension in its entirety.

DUI FAQs

What does DUI & OVI mean and is there a difference between them?

They are both acronyms. “DUI” stands for “Driving Under the Influence”, while “OVI” stands for “Operating a Vehicle while Impaired”. Both refer to drunk or impaired driving. In the State of Ohio there is no difference between them.

Can I be charged with DUI/OVI if the drugs were prescribed to me?

The short answer is yes. Whether the drugs are prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), or illegal, they may impair your driving ability due to side effects.  In the eyes of the law, it is your responsibility to know the effects of medication and whether they impair your ability to drive.

Will a DUI go on my permanent record?

Yes.  However, if you were arrested but the DUI charges were later dropped or reduced, only the dismissal or reduction will show.

How long will a DUI stay on my record?

In Ohio, a DUI conviction adds 6 points to your driving record. The points drop off after two years.  However, the DUI conviction itself remains on your record forever.  A DUI / OVI cannot be expunged under current Ohio Law.

Will a DUI conviction show up on my background check?

It depends. A DUI conviction will definitely be reflected in your traffic record. As a result, your car insurance provider will likely categorize you as a “high risk” driver. Your insurance rates typically increase, or your policy may be canceled or denied renewal. A DUI conviction may or may not show on a criminal background check, depending on the type of check that is run.

Do I need an attorney for a DUI charge?

Absolutely. Whether your charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction brings serious penalties. You face jail time, license suspension or revocation, fines, increased car insurance rates, and other collateral effects of which you may be unaware. At the very least, you should speak with a DUI Lawyer prior to deciding how to proceed.

 

What if I can't afford to pay a DUI Lawyer?

If you qualify as indigent, the court will appoint a public defender at no charge to you. While public defenders are licensed attorneys, their large caseloads might prevent them from providing the attentiveness necessary to attain the best resolutions to cases. It is almost always in your best interest to hire a personal DUI Lawyer.

Is it possible to win a drunk driving case after I was arrested?

Yes. Many charges are the result of faulty test results, faulty testing devices, and police mistakes. Police officers often improperly administer standardized field sobriety tests. Any of these can be a basis for excluding evidence, thereby strengthening your case .

 

I was never read my Miranda rights. Can my case be dismissed?

Unfortunately, your case will probably not be dismissed. However, once arrested, a Miranda warning must be given if there is to be a legally permissible interrogation while in police custody.  If you made incriminating statements in such a situation without Miranda warnings, we may be able to suppress the statements.  Suppressed statements cannot be used against you at trial.

Will I go to jail for a DUI conviction?

It depends. If this is your first offense, your chances of avoiding jail time are much greater. However, if you’re facing your second or subsequent conviction for multiple DUIs, Ohio law mandates a jail term. A case involving an injury or death also involves a jail or prison sentence. Even if there is strong evidence against you, an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to negotiate a resolution that avoids a jail sentence.

Is it legal to obtain a driver's license in any state if your license is revoked in another state?

Each state has its own motor vehicle laws that need to be consulted to determine the impact of an Ohio suspension/revocation.  There are several states that do recognize revocations and suspensions issued in the State of Ohio.

Is the police issued breath test (Breathalyzer) accurate?

This is a highly disputed topic in the legal community.  There are many things that can affect the accuracy of a BAC machine. A person’s metabolism, medical conditions, and machine calibration, are a few issues that may arise with regard to BAC machine accuracy. There are other reasons why breath tests could be inaccurate here.

Is the blood test administered by law enforcement accurate?

It may not be. Here are many possible errors. An alcohol swab should not be used to clean the injection site. Blood must be drawn correctly and stored in an appropriate vial with an anticoagulant.  The blood must also be maintained at a proper temperature to ensure an accurate analysis.

I was charged with a DUI. What now?

This is perhaps the biggest reason to talk to me. I will explain what happens next and what can be done to achieve the best resolution for your case. Being charged with a DUI does not make you a criminal; it makes you a person in need of a DUI Lawyer. Make sure you get the help you need by hiring Nathan Akamine, one of Ohio’s leading DUI lawyers.

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All DUI / OVI charges can be fought – whether you believe you’re innocent or not. With me as your DUI Lawyer, you could have your DUI charges reduced or even dismissed with or without going to trial. You’ve come to the right place.

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"I highly recommend Nathan to anybody in need of a defense attorney. He really helped a lot. He's very professional and kind. I am very happy with the service he provided."

-K.N.

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