ohio ovi law

Since you’re here, you’ve probably been charged with an OVI (operating a Vehicle Impaired) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and are considering contacting a Dayton DUI attorney in Ohio.

You’re in the right place.

If you’re ready to start your DUI defense, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud.

Get started today by calling (937) 222-1515 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.

If you’d like to know a little bit more about Ohio DUI and OVI laws, continue reading.

What Is the DUI and OVI Process in Ohio?

After a DUI or OVI arrest, the officer may question you about the incident.

Then, you may want to consider looking for a DUI attorney in Dayton, Ohio.

You have a right to remain silent and should exercise that right. Then, immediately speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney before talking to the police.

You will be asked to submit to one or more chemical tests.

Your license will be suspended if you refuse to take a blood, urine, or breath test and if you test over the legal blood alcohol content limit.

If you are a commercial driver or have received a DUI conviction in the last 20 years, you must submit to the tests.

✓ Our firm has achieved dismissals and penalty reductions for hundreds of people.

✓ We have more than five decades of combined experience to use in your defense.

✓ We have hundreds of 5-star reviews.

✓ We offer free, non-committal consultations.

What Is the Legal Limit in Ohio?

Ohio’s legal limits surrounding impaired driving are significantly more complex than other states. Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19 creates several different legal limits depending on the kind of test that is used. The following standards apply for determining when a driver is legally considered over the limit:

  • Individuals under 21 years of age cannot operate a vehicle if a breath test reveals a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher; and
  • Individuals over 21 cannot operate a vehicle with a BAC result of 0.08% or higher.

However, the legal limit for drivers who take a urine test is 0.11%. For a blood plasma or serum level test, the legal limit is 0.096%.

Furthermore, Ohio law establishes two categories of legal limits for alcohol testing—low tier and high tier. And high-tier test results lead to more severe penalties. For example, high-tier alcohol test results encompass:

  • A breath or blood test result of 0.17% or higher;
  • A urine test result of 0.238% or higher; and
  • A blood plasma or serum test result of 0.204% or higher.

It’s vital that you thoroughly understand these limits when navigating Ohio’s impaired driving laws.

Does My License Get Suspended After an OVI or DUI in Ohio?

Your driver’s license will be automatically suspended after an arrest.

You only have five days to fight this suspension.

If you do not, you could lose your driving privileges for at least 90 days.

If your charges included severe bodily injury to another or you had previous convictions on your record, the suspension could increase.

Schedule an administrative hearing with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

If you fail to do so within five days of your arrest, the license suspension will be automatic.

BMV hearings can be intimidating and frustrating.

A Dayton OVI lawyer can help you with the proceedings and fight your charges. Contact the team at Gounaris Abboud to get started today.

What Are the Penalties of an OVI?

The penalties of an OVI depend on the severity of the crime. Watch our video from our Ohio OVI defense attorney team below for a quick summary of possible penalties.

What Happens If I’m Charged with a Felony DUI in Ohio?

A DUI becomes a felony when an offender is arrested for the fourth time in six years or for the sixth time in 20 years.

There is a mandatory jail sentence of 60 days, and some offenders will face prison time.

Having a felony on your record is a severe penalty and it will affect many aspects of your life.

For example, a felony DUI could affect:

  • Your voting rights,
  • Employment opportunities,
  • Your current job (you could lose it), and
  • Restricted travel.

An OVI and DUI lawyer in Dayton, Ohio can fight felony and prior DUI charges. A felony DUI is severe, and we recommend seeking legal representation immediately.

What Should I Do If I’m Pulled Over for an OVI?

If you’re being tailed by an officer for an OVI in Ohio, here’s what to do:

  1. Pullover. Be calm and use your signal. At this point, anything you do can be used against you in a court of law.
  2. Provide your license and registration.
  3. Be polite. Do not give the officer any reason to believe that you are drunk or combative.
  4. Don’t make any statements or admit to drinking.
  5. Decide whether to take the breathalyzer test. The test can be used against you, but there are penalties for not submitting to a breathalyzer test. If you had bad results, you can fight the charges with an experienced Ohio OVI lawyer.

Can I Refuse the Breathalyzer Test?

ohio dui lawyers

Breathalyzer and blood tests determine if a driver has an illegal amount of alcohol in their blood and why they were operating a vehicle.

If the tests determine that the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) equals or exceeds 0.08%, they can be arrested for drunk driving.

Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test can have long-lasting penalties.

If you do not act quickly, you will be unable to fight to keep your license, regardless of whether you are convicted of OVI or DUI.

Refusal can result in the suspension of a driver’s license for up to one year through an Administrative License Suspension (ALS).

There is a small window of opportunity where you can appeal a license suspension.

Like any other OVI charge, you can also fight a breathalyzer test refusal in court with the help of a Dayton OVI attorney.

How Long Will an OVI Stay on My Record in Ohio?

In Ohio, an OVI conviction stays on your driving record permanently. This can result in severe repercussions for your insurance premiums and job opportunities, especially if driving is a job requirement.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me If I’m Charged with an OVI or DUI?

An experienced OVI attorney can review your case, advise you on the best legal strategies, represent you in court, negotiate for reduced charges or penalties, and guide you through the legal process. They will help protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process.

Recent Case: OVI Charge in Dayton, Ohio

Gounaris Abboud, LPA shares a recent OVI case dismissal. The Ohio OVI lawyers at our criminal law firm have the experience you need when fighting an OVI charge in Dayton, OH, and Springboro, OH.

OVI Charge in Dayton Ohio

OVI Dismissed for Lack of Probable Cause to Stop

THE FACTS: Our client is a health professional in the Dayton area. Our client left work and met a few coworkers for dinner and had one 6-ounce glass of wine with a full entrée and dessert. Our client’s entire meal lasted two and half-hours.

Client left the restaurant at approximately 9:00 p.m and was subsequently pulled over by law enforcement for alleged “marked lanes’ violations. Our client was polite and respectful to the law enforcement officer and provided his license and registration. When asked if he had anything to drink, he was truthful and said he had one glass of wine with his dinner.

The officer immediately asked our client to step out of the vehicle to perform a Field Sobriety Test. Our client is a 55-year-old male with a prior knee injury. He advised the officer that he has a prior ACL tear and cannot hold up his right foot without feeling pain. The officer nonetheless required our client to perform the HGH, Walk-in-Turn, and One-Leg Stand tests and determined that our client exhibited clues on each test that suggested impairment.

Client was arrested for O.V.I./D.U.I. and was transported to the Police Station and was asked if he would submit to a breath test, to which he refused. Our client was provided a 2255 BMV form and was advised that his license was suspended for a period of one year.

THE DEFENSE: The criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud was able to file a “Motion to Preserve” all the evidence and also filed a “Motion to Suppress Evidence”. The Motion to Preserve Evidence, Ordered Law Enforcement to preserve any cruiser camera video. The Motion to Suppress challenges the officer’s Probable Cause to Stop and Arrest Client for an OVI/DUI.

A Hearing was conducted where the Officer was questioned in Court about his observations of the alleged Marked Lanes Violation. The officer watched a copy of the cruiser cam video and admitted that he could not observe the Marked Lane Violation on the Video.

THE RESULT: The Court agreed with Gounaris Abboud, that the Officer could not have observed a traffic infraction and thus, did not have Probable Cause to Stop Client. As such, the State dismissed the charges against our client.

What Happens If I Fail the Breathalyzer Test?

Law enforcement severely punishes those who fail the breathalyzer test.

Penalties can result in the following:

  • Loss of driving privileges,
  • Jail time,
  • Heavy fines, and
  • Community service.

The stigma from a DUI or OVI conviction can:

  • Affect your reputation,
  • Strain your relationships, and
  • Present employment challenges for many years.

If the police suspect that you are driving while intoxicated, they will give a breathalyzer test.

The law requires you to take the test; failing to comply can result in severe penalties.

You can fight your breathalyzer test results with a Dayton DUI lawyer.

Many things can affect your results and cause a false positive, such as:

  • Swishing an alcoholic beverage in your mouth
  • Acid reflux,
  • Sneezing,
  • Coughing,
  • Recently eating,
  • Chewing tobacco,
  • Using mouthwash,
  • Burping, and
  • Vomiting.

Ohio law requires police officers to observe an arrestee for 20 minutes before giving a breath test to ensure that other factors don’t throw off test readings.

These tests take place at the police station, so a defendant has likely been in a squad car for a long time.

Because of this, it is often impossible that an officer provides enough observation.

Schedule a free consultation with our Ohio DUI lawyers right away. We’ll start fighting your test results.

Contact Gounaris Abboud

Call 937-222-1515

Contact our firm to discuss your OVI/DUI charge today. During a free consultation, we’ll discuss the specifics of your case and come up with a strategy together.

We have helped hundreds of people in Dayton fight OVI charges.


“They did absolutely everything possible to help reduce the sentence and charges faced. They both put their heart into their work and care like nobody else.”

Karis F.


“I have never been in the situation I found myself in ever before and it was scary and confusing, but Nick and his staff were wonderful with answering my questions.”

Melinda Q.


“I thought I was in a no win situation until I met these gentleman. They are smart, aggressive, dedicated, connected and CAN GET THE JOB DONE.”

James O.

About the Founders

What makes our firm different? The answer is simple. Our distinguished lead attorneys, Nicholas G. Gounaris and Antony Abboud, make our firm stand out from the rest.

Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nick Gounaris is a founding partner at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. He’s also a distinguished attorney whose reputation is built on dedication, success, and relentless advocacy for his clients. He has extensive experience in complex litigation and has handled a range of cases in municipal, state, and federal courts. 

Part of his success lies in his well-rounded legal background. Earlier in his career, he served as a prosecutor, magistrate, and acting judge. These valuable experiences give him a unique perspective that allows him to understand and navigate intricate legal issues and deliver invaluable assistance to his clients.

Moreover, Mr. Gounaris comes from a family with a rich, 50-year history serving the Dayton community. His father, George J. Gounaris, was also a respected attorney and judge. Growing up in a legal family helped foster a strong sense of dedication and service, and this family legacy continues to inspire his commitment to his clients and the community.

Mr. Gounaris’ legal acumen has consistently earned him accolades and recognition from his peers and the legal community. He was featured in the Super Lawyers® list for Criminal Defense consecutively from 2011 to 2021, a recognition only given to those who display exemplary skill and lauded efforts in the courtroom.

His commitment to excellence also earned him a “Superb” 10.0 rating by Avvo, the nation’s leading attorney rating website. Further recognitions include being named a Nationally Ranked Top 10 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDA) in 2014 and 2015 and receiving the 10 Best Client Satisfaction Award for Criminal Law by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys in 2014 and 2015.

Antony Abboud

Anthony “Tony” Abboud is the other founding partner at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, and is also a renowned legal practitioner.

Mr. Abboud’s exceptional legal expertise has earned him a place on the Super Lawyers® list, an honor bestowed on no more than 5% of the state’s lawyers. Additionally, his consistent track record earned him the prestigious distinction of Super Lawyers Rising Stars between 2011 and 2014. He has also received a Superb 10.0 rating from Avvo.

Recognized by the National Association of Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Mr. Abboud is also a proactive member of several local attorney organizations. These include the Ohio State Bar Association, Dayton Bar Association, and the Dayton Bar Committee for Criminal Justice.

With extensive experience—including serving as an acting magistrate and an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Vandalia Municipal Court—Mr. Abboud excels in delivering successful defense strategies. His unwavering dedication to his clients and passion for justice will ensure your case is in competent hands. 


Can I Be Charged with a DUI or OVI if I Was Doing Drugs?

Even if you are not legally drunk, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI or OVI in the state of Ohio.

When an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he will note aspects of your behavior and appearance, such as:

  • Slurred speech,
  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Hazardous driving, and
  • Incoordination during field sobriety tests.

A drunk driving charge can result from substances such as solvents, mouthwash, over-the-counter drugs, and other products. These can give an impression of a drunken appearance or behavior.

You can fight these charges.

Contact a Dayton, Ohio DUI lawyer at Gounaris Abboud, LPA to start building your defense.

What Happens if I Was Charged with a DUI from a Blood Test?

Many DUI charges result from a blood alcohol content test. This test analyzes the percentage of alcohol in the person’s bloodstream (their BAC level).

If the police ask you to submit to a blood test, you do not have to comply. However, under implied consent law, you could be penalized for your refusal.

Although blood alcohol tests are usually accurate, errors can occur.

An experienced Dayton DUI attorney can examine your case and try to get your charges dropped.

What if I Was Charged with a DUI After a Field Sobriety Test?

Field Sobriety Tests (FST) are voluntary coordination tests that an officer administers when they suspect driver impairment.

The only standardized tests that have some relevance in establishing legal intoxication are:

  • One leg stands,
  • Heel-to-toe tests, and
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN).

In Ohio, the tests listed above are evidence that they were administered objectively and scored according to standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

How Accurate Are Field Sobriety Tests?

The accuracy of field sobriety tests is an ongoing debate.

Under laboratory conditions, the three standard tests were only able to predict blood alcohol content above 0.10% in ⅔ to ¾ of the cases tested.

Another test challenged police officers’ ability to judge impairment accurately. Sober ‘suspects’ were given a battery of FSTs, and trained officers deemed 46% of them as intoxicated.

Dayton DUI/OVI lawyers can challenge field sobriety test results that are inaccurately done by officers.

Save Your Driver’s License & Fight for Your Future! Contact a Dayton OVI Attorney Today.

You have a narrow window of time to save your license. Act now, and we may be able to help you fight to keep your driving privileges. As for handling your DUI or OVI charges in court, no case is too complex for our skilled defenders.

From start to finish, the experienced and awarded Dayton DUI lawyers at Gounaris Abboud, LPA can help you preserve your liberties.

If you’ve been arrested or cited in Dayton, you will be required to appear in the Dayton Municipal Court located at 301 W. Third Street in Dayton, Ohio.

The Municipal Court in Dayton is the largest Municipal Court in Montgomery County and has five full-time judges and two full-time Magistrate Judges.

To start your defense, contact us online or at (937) 222-1515 today.