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  • 3912 Prospect Avenue East
  • Cleveland, OH 44115
  • Phone: (216) 696-0900
  • Fax: (216) 696-8800

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Zukerman, Daiker & Lear Co., L.P.A.

Attorneys at Law

Dui / Traffic

Alternatives to DUI / OVI in Ohio

Often attorneys talk about DUI / OVI charges being reduced. What does the term "reduced" mean? If an attorney can show to a prosecutor that the case for a given defendant charged with a DUI / OVI may not be that strong, the prosecutor may offer to reduce the charge. Typical reductions include either a charge of Physical Control or a charge of Reckless Operation of a Vehicle. A common question, however, is why these are considered reduced charges.

A DUI / OVI is a misdemeanor of the first degree. It carries a maximum penalty of up to a $1,000.00 fine and up to six (6) months in jail. For a first offense, there is a mandatory penalty of three (3) days in jail, a fine of $250.00 or more, a mandatory license suspension, and six (6) points are assessed to any person convicted of this offense. If a person is convicted of multiple DUI / OVI offenses, the mandatory penalties escalate. In addition, if an offender has three or more prior offenses within a six year period immediately preceding the current offense, he or she will be charged with a felony. Further, an offender who has five or more higher offenses within a twenty year period, will also be charged with a felony. Instead of three (3) days in jail, it is ten (10), or thirty (30), or more depending on the number of offenses, and the number of years in which they were committed. That is a big reason why reductions, or dismissals are so important, if you can get them. Plus, no one wants to have a DUI / OVI on their record, and a DUI / OVI can never be expunged.

Offenses such as Physical Control or Reckless Operation of a Vehicle are generally misdemeanors of the first degree themselves, with the same potential penalties as a DUI / OVI, but neither charge carries mandatory penalties such as jail time, fine, or license suspension. Also, multiple offenses do not escalate the penalties. This includes DUI / OVI offenses. Try this hypothetical situation. Two people are charged with a DUI / OVI. One decides to retain counsel, the other pleads to the offense. The one who enters a plea is convicted, while the one who retains counsel receives a reduction and is convicted of Physical Control. Each serve similar penalties because reductions from DUI's / OVI's are benefits in and of themselves, so sentences are typically not altered. Each has the same fine, and must complete a driver's intervention program in lieu of three (3) days in jail and also endures a license suspension for six months. The one without counsel gets six points on his license for the DUI / OVI, the one with counsel doesn't get any, and may not have higher insurance rates as a result either.

One year later the two are charged again, each with a DUI / OVI. Again, one decides to enter a plea while the other retains the same attorney he had before. This time both are convicted despite the best efforts of the defense attorney, unless he is a repeat offender in the City of Cleveland for both cases. The man with counsel is convicted of his first DUI / OVI, and serves the exact same penalties as were imposed upon him after last year's case was reduced. The only difference is that now he has a DUI / OVI on his record, and six points instead of zero are assessed to his license. The man without counsel is now being convicted of his second DUI / OVI. He is sentenced to ten (10) days in jail, is required to attend a treatment program for substance abuse, his fine is increased, his suspension is at least one (1) year, his vehicle is impounded, and he is required to display restrictive license plates upon expiration of his license suspension.

Reductions offer people who can get them a second chance. If an attorney can get a reduced charge for their client, that client not only is allowed to live without the stigma of having been convicted of a DUI / OVI, but also can avoid the very serious consequences stated above if that person is ever charged with a DUI / OVI again.

Disclaimer � Copyright 2007 Zukerman, Daiker & Lear Co., L.P.A. All rights reserved.

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