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DUI / OVI Defense Attorney

Driving under the influence is one of the most common charges we defend our clients against in Columbus Ohio.

Despite how common it is, DUIs (or OVIs as they’re known in Columbus, Ohio) can result in some serious legal penalties. That’s why it’s vital that you have an experienced defense attorney on your side.

At Hiltner Trial lawyers, we’ve successfully defended people with DUI / OVI charges time and again.

Call 330-475-3164 for a free consultation

“Max was very helpful and professional. His reliability is second to none. He was able to get my case dismissed from court over the phone which meant we didn't have to go to court. This saved me a lot of time and money. Overall it was a very positive experience!”

- Alex D.

DUI / OVI Cases in Columbus Ohio

There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks with your friends every now and then.

But getting behind the wheel while you’re intoxicated is not only dangerous, it can lead to some serious legal consequences.

In Ohio, the penalties for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence (OVI) depend on if it’s your first, second, or third offense within the last 10 years.

While possession is a misdemeanor, drug trafficking if a felony charge with serious consequences.

1. First-Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio

Low-level OVIs can face the following penalties on the first offense:

  • Maximum 6 months in jail
  • Minimum 3 days in jail or 3-day Drivers Intervention Program
  • Maximum 5 years of probation
  • Fine between $375-$1,075 
  • Suspended license (1-3 years)

But it’s important to note that high-level OVIs (when your blood alcohol level is greater than .17%), can result in double the jail time.

2. Second Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio

Low-level OVIs can face the following penalties if it’s your second offense in 10 years:

  • Maximum 6 months in jail
  • Minimum 10 days in jail or 5 days in jail and 18 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring 
  • Maximum 5 years of probation
  • Fine between $525-$1,625 
  • Suspended license (1-7 years)
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment

Again, high-level offenses can result in double the jail or house arrest time.

3. Third Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio

Low-level OVIs can face the following penalties if it’s your third OVI in 10 years:

  • Maximum 1 year in jail
  • Minimum 30 days in jail or 15 days in jail and 55 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring 
  • Maximum 5 years of probation
  • Fine between $850-$2,750
  • Suspended license (2-10 years)
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment

And again, a high blood alcohol level can result in double jail or house arrest time.

4. After a 4th Offense, the charge becomes a felony.

At Hiltner Trial Lawyers, we have successfully defended many people with DUI / OVI charges.

Call 330-475-3164 for a free consultation

FAQs about DUI/OVI in Columbus Ohio

What is considered operating a vehicle while intoxicated?

In Ohio, non-commercial drivers are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more. (Generally speaking, this is equivalent to three drinks an hour for women and four drinks an hour for men, although this estimation varies widely according to age, body type, and experience with alcohol.)

What about implied consent, breathalyzers, or blood and urine tests?

Ohio’s implied consent law requires all drivers arrested for an OVI to submit to chemical testing to determine the blood alcohol level. When the officer suspects you of drunk driving, the officer will choose which type of test you’ll have to take: blood test, breath test, or urine test. However, if you refuse to submit to your test, your license could be automatically suspended for one year.

What about a sobriety test?

Police officers across the country use field sobriety tests when making DUI stops and arrests. The three main tests are:

  • Walk and Turn Test – The officer will ask you to take nine steps in a straight line, heel to toe, and turn around to walk back the same way without using your arms for balance
  • The One Leg Stand Test – The officer will ask you to stand on one leg with the other leg six inches off the ground
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test – The officer will stand in front of you and move an object for you to follow with your eyes

Other tests exist, as well, but each comes with its own problems and potential for misleading results.

Can an OVI be related to drugs?

Yes, in Ohio you can be charged with an OVI if you have a certain concentration of amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, or PCP in your body, or a mix of these with alcohol.

How Hiltner Trial Lawyers Can help

At Hiltner Trial lawyers, we have a long record of success. We have helped countless clients avoid jail time, get their sentences reduced, or be acquitted entirely.

Here are some of the cases we’ve tried in recent years:

Hiltner represented a young doctor facing an allegation of drinking and driving. If convicted, the young doctor could have suffered serious career repercussions. During the stop, the man admitted to having several drinks, performed all field sobriety tests, and was arrested. At the station, he refused to submit to an alcohol test. At trial, Hiltner played video of the stop and the trooper admitted that the sobriety tests he administered were not done properly. Again, after being confronted with the video, the trooper admitted that the young doctor actually passed most of the field sobriety tests. Hiltner put on no witnesses or testimony. The court reached a not guilty finding instantly.

A 63 year-old woman in poor physical health was involved in a traffic accident while driving her disabled husband home from dinner. Both cars were totaled by the force of the impact. The arresting officers mistook her disorientation from the accident for intoxication and charged her with causing the accident and a DUI. Our client admitted she was at fault for the accident, but maintained for the last six months that she was not intoxicated and hadn’t been drinking. The officers testified that she failed the field sobriety tests, had slurred speech, red-bloodshot-glassy eyes, strongly smelled of alcohol, and refused the breathalyzer test. Hiltner explained to the jury that in order for them to find our client guilty, they’d have to believe that a loving spouse who retired to take care of her severely ill husband, would put his life in danger by drinking and driving. The jury agreed, and the client was not only found not guilty of the DUI, but also not guilty of causing the accident entirely.

A young woman was charged with her 4th lifetime OVI. She was pulled over for driving the wrong way on the freeway. A police officer observing the young woman immediately pulled her over. The woman admitted to sometimes drinking and taking prescription medications, and at the scene she failed all field sobriety tests and refused a breath and chemical test. The young woman was adamant that she wasn’t intoxicated and refused to accept any plea deals. Hiltner prepped fully for trial and showed up the morning of the trial with the young woman. However, instead of proceeding to trial, the State chose to dismiss all charges instead of risking trial. 

A young professional was pulled over in the early morning hours for a report of an intoxicated driver. Several vehicles had reported the vehicle due to reckless driving to authorities before she was finally stopped. During the stop, the woman admitted to drinking several drinks. She also failed all field sobriety tests. She had also just been convicted of an OVI/DUI less than 6 months prior to this stop. She was facing a minimum of 30 days in jail, losing her children, job, etc. Hiltner worked up the case and found several crucial weaknesses in the State’s case. Less than one month after Hiltner was hired, all charges were dismissed against the woman except for a minor traffic infraction which resulted in a small fine.

A young business professional and well-respected member of the community was stopped and cited for an OVI (DUI). His career, livelihood, and reputation hung on the outcome of this case, so Hiltner was trusted to handle it. After months of negotiations and a pending motions filed by Hiltner, the prosecutor agreed to amend the OVI charge to a minor misdemeanor charge of failure to control a vehicle for a minimal fine.


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Contact Max Hiltner for help with a DUI / OVI in Columbus Ohio

DUI / OVI charges are unfortunately more common than they should be. But just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean that you have to face life-changing consequences. Schedule a free consultation with Max Hiltner and learn how we can defend against your OVI charges in Columbus Ohio. Contact us today.
Call 330-475-3164 for a free consultation

“Max Hiltner is dynamite in the courtroom by connecting with the jury, recalling facts and cultivating good relationships with the opponents and presiding judge. He is professional, dedicated, honest and cares about the livelihood of his clients and their families. He excels in negotiating and hiring experts necessary for a well rounded defense. Max was one of my lawyers that stood between me and a life sentence. Without him on my team I would still be in prison. He will fight for you.”

- Colleen O.

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