Getting a charge for operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) can have hard consequences. The penalties for an OVI conviction in Ohio include jail time, a lengthy license suspension and expensive fines, punishments everyone wants to avoid. However, if you have a charge for this crime you may eliminate your possibility of conviction or convert it into a lesser crime if you are eligible.
OVI in Ohio
The law considers a person to be impaired when they drive under the influence of any substance. When it comes to alcohol, the authorities determine a person commits the crime of OVI if they have more than 0.08 percent of blood alcohol content (BAC). The officer asks the driver to take a urine, breath or blood test to measure this, and the driver will get a criminal charge if their BAC is above the legal limit. But that charge does not necessarily lead to an OVI conviction.
Reducing your charges
If you got a charge for OVI, you have the possibility of reducing your criminal charges. In some situations, people may even have their charges dropped if all the circumstances are in their favor. But when the evidence is unclear or contradicting, the courts may not eliminate it but reduce it to a reckless driving charge, a lesser misdemeanor in Ohio.
Not everyone can have the prosecutor reduce their charges. Whether someone is eligible for this relief depends on their specific circumstances. In general, the situations in which the court will consider reducing the crime are:
- There were reasonable issues in obtaining the evidence
- There were issues with the chemical tests
- There is no sufficient evidence
- The BAC was barely above the legal limit
- It is the offender’s first OVI offense
- The offender had no prior convictions
- The offender didn’t cause an accident or damage
If eligible, a person can reduce their charge and face lesser consequences than those of an OVI. The penalties for reckless driving include a $150 fine, community service and a loss of four points on the driver’s license. The court may also impose a license suspension for 180 days, but this is not always the case.
Your right as a driver
You can ask the court to reduce your charge if the circumstances are in your favor. Having a reckless driving conviction may not be what you want, but it is better to have that than an OVI conviction. Remember, an OVI charge does not necessarily mean you’ll be convicted of this crime, and you have the right to fight for justice in court.