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Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is prohibited by Ohio law. The laws permit prosecutors to pursue charges against anyone suspected of DUI for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). In Ohio, prosecutors take these cases very seriously. It must be made clear: there is no such thing as a minor drunk driving offense. A conviction for a DUI/OVI can come with very serious consequences. No matter the circumstances, defendants need professional legal guidance.

Conviction is not inevitable in a DUI case. At Groth & Associates, our highly experienced Toledo DUI defense attorneys are strong advocates for our clients. We firmly believe that everyone deserves their day in court. If you or your loved one was arrested for a DUI/OVI in Lucas County, Ohio, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team today to schedule a fully confidential initial consultation.

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In Ohio, drunk driving charges are governed by Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Code. Under state law, it is a violation to drive while ‘under the influence’. A driver who is too impaired to drive should not be on the road under any circumstances. For most drivers, the maximum allowable BAC level is

0.08. If your blood alcohol concentration is higher than that, you could be arrested and charged with a DUI/OVI offense.

What is 0.08? It depends entirely on the driver. There are many different factors that affect how a person’s body will process alcohol. Some of the most notable factors include sex, weight, tolerance, genetics, and time. Though, in every case, 0.08 may arise from a relatively small amount of alcohol. Drivers should protect themselves and everyone else by finding another form of transportation when they are consuming alcohol.

The maximum allowable BAC level in Ohio is even lower for certain drivers. Specifically, drivers who operate commercial vehicles can be arrested and charged with a DUI/OVI if their BAC is at or above 0.04. Drivers who are under the age of 21 (below the legal drinking age) can be arrested and charged with a DUI/OVI if their BAC is at or above 0.02.  


Ohio law sets out many penalties for a convicted DUI offender that can be imposed by the courts or by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Some of these penalties can include the following:

  • Expensive fines and court costs;
  • Potential time in jail;
  • Probation;
  • The loss of your driver’s license;
  • The mandatory installed of ignition interlock device on your vehicle; and
  • Alcohol education courses.

In addition to the court-imposed penalties, a DUI can affect many other parts of your life. Losing your driver’s license can keep you from attending work or school. If your job requires you to drive, you will be unable to perform your job duties and may risk losing your position. Having a conviction on your record can also hurt future job prospects. On top of that, a DUI/OVI conviction is likely to lead to significantly higher auto insurance costs. In defending yourself against these criminal charges, the totality of the consequences must be considered. In the end, the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction can be serious and our DUI defense lawyers will strive to help you avoid such consequences whenever possible.






If you have been pulled over on the suspicion of drunk driving in Toledo, it is important that you have a basic understanding of your legal rights. You need to take the proper steps to protect yourself. Many defendants unintentionally damage their own case by making serious mistakes in the hours and days following a traffic stop. When pulled over, you should keep the following five things in mind:

  • You should stop your vehicle as quickly and as safely possible in the given situation.
  • You should always remain polite and calm with the responding law enforcement officers. Do not get into an argument or try to present your case directly to them.
  • You should not consent to a search of your vehicle. Law enforcement officers do not have the authority to search your car without probable cause or a warrant.
  • You should always remain silent. If you are suspected of a DUI, do not try to talk yourself out of an arrest. You will not succeed. Much more likely, you will make statements that can be misinterpreted and used against you. There is no reason to make a statement or to make flippant comments.
  • If you are arrested for a DUI, you should contact an experienced Toledo DUI defense lawyer immediately. Your Ohio criminal defense lawyer will make sure that all of your other legal rights are protected.

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Ohio DUI/OVI FAQs and Answers

How Is DUI/OVI Defined Under Ohio State Law?

Under Section 4511.19 of Ohio Revised Code, a person commits a driving under the influence offense–called an operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) offense in Ohio–when they operate a motor vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both;
  • Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more.

Keep in mind that statute does not only address illegal drugs; a person under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter drugs may face an OVI charge and conviction, too.

Are the Penalties for DUI/OVI Different if I’m Under Age 21 or a Commercial Driver?

It’s important to note that while having a BAC of .08 percent or more, or being under the influence of alcohol or/and drugs, will result in DUI/OVI charges for someone who is age 21 or above and who is driving a standard passenger vehicle, this is not the case for those under age 21 and commercial drivers. In fact, a person under the age of 21 can be charged with and convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .02 percent, and a commercial driver can be convicted with a BAC of .04 percent. Not only are the standards different, but the penalties may be slightly different, too. For example, a commercial driver convicted of an OVI will lose their commercial driver’s license, and a person under age 21 may have additional charges assessed against them, such as minor in possession charges.

Do I Have to Submit to a Blood or Breath Alcohol Test if Requested to Do So?

If you are stopped by a police officer and asked to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test, you may be unsure of what your rights are and whether or not you must comply with the request. Ohio maintains a rule of implied consent – this means that at the time that you receive your driver’s license, you are giving your implied consent to submit to blood or breath testing if requested to do so by an Ohio police officer. While you can refuse to give your consent, there will be consequences of doing so.

While there are consequences for refusing consent, doing so can also protect you – if you are indeed intoxicated, it can be much harder for the prosecution to secure a conviction if they do not have actual proof in the form of blood/breath alcohol test results that you were impaired beyond the legal limit.

What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Blood or Breath Alcohol Test?

If you refuse to submit to blood or breath alcohol testing and therefore breach the state’s implied consent law, you will face an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension for a first offense.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI/OVI?

The penalties for an OVI charge in our state depend on whether or not the offense is a first offense, second offense, or subsequent offense. What’s more, while .08 percent is the legal limit, you could face harsher consequences if your BAC is .17 percent or above. That being said, for a standard, first-time DUI offense, the penalties can include:

  • Up to six months in jail;
  • Fine of up to $1,000; and
  • License suspension.

You may also have to pay a license reinstatement fee, could be ordered by a court to attend alcohol education classes, and may face additional penalties if you refused to submit to breath or blood testing.

Will I Have to Get an Interlock Ignition Device Installed in My Vehicle if I Am Convicted?

Interlock Ignition Devices (IIDs) are used to reduce the risk of an individual operating their vehicle after having an alcoholic beverage. If you are facing a first-time or second-time OVI conviction, then it is unlikely that you will have to submit to an IID installation unless there are exceptional circumstances. However, if you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense, the installation of an IID will be mandatory.

Can I Get a DUI/OVI Charge Reduced to a Lesser Offense?

In some cases, having the charges against you dropped or securing a conviction of innocent isn’t realistic. In these cases, it may be possible to have the charges against you reduced in exchange for a plea of guilty. Talk to your attorney about pleading down to a wet reckless reduction, where an OVI charge is reduced to a charge of reckless driving. While a reckless driving charge is still serious, the penalties are less severe.

Is it Better to Plead Guilty or Not Guilty When Facing DUI/OVI Charges?

How you plead when facing DUI/OVI charges in Ohio is a very personal choice that depends on a number of different factors, including the evidence the prosecution has against you and how that evidence was obtained. Most of the time, entering a plea of not guilty at your arraignment hearing is strongly advised. However, you should always consult with an attorney before entering a plea of guilty or not guilty; your attorney can provide you with more information about your options and which course of action is most advisable.

What Should I Look for in a DUI/OVI Attorney?

Hiring a DUI attorney is absolutely essential if you are facing drunk or impaired driving charges in our state. However, how do you know what to look for in a lawyer, or how to find a lawyer?

Start with conducting an online search for someone who works in your area. A local attorney will have a relationship and history with the prosecutors, police officers, and judge relevant to your case. This can prove extremely advantageous. Working with a local attorney also makes communications much easier in many cases, as travel time is significantly reduced.

Next, you want to make sure that the attorney you’re considering has experience working in cases like yours, especially if you have any special circumstances (i.e. commercial driver, high BAC, under 21, minor in the vehicle, etc.).

Finally, read the attorney’s reviews and ask about their case outcomes.


Defending a DUI/OVI charge can be complicated and challenging. There is no one correct legal defense strategy in these case: every drunk driving arrest is unique. You deserve a strong, fully personalized defense from a skilled Toledo DUI defense attorney.

In some cases, drivers are arrested on wholly false charges. These case should be fought back against aggressively. In other cases, law enforcement officers violate the rights of defendants during the arrest. The evidence that obtained may be invalid, tainted, or otherwise inadmissible. In other cases, the best way forward is to focus on reducing punishment. This includes keeping you out of jail and potentially saving your driver’s license. If you are facing DUI charges, a Toledo attorney can help by:

  • Challenging the police officer’s account of the traffic stop and/or arrest;
  • Challenging the accuracy of any blood or breath tests;
  • Proving the traffic stop was in violation of your 4th Amendment rights;
  • Demonstrating there is another reason why you displayed signs of drunkenness, such as a medical condition or fatigue.

Furthermore, a skilled Toledo DUI lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to try to agree to a favorable plea bargain that will limit the consequences of a conviction. At Groth & Associates, we explore every possible way to limit the charges and penalties that you face for your conviction. Our Toledo criminal defense lawyers give every client the full and undivided attention that their case needs and deserves. Remember, prosecutors have the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We will thoroughly review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and formulate a defense strategy that is best suited for your specific situation.


If you were arrested for a DUI/OVI in Ohio, you need immediate legal assistance. DUI cases can be extremely serious and DUI offenders can face harsh penalties. It is critical to have a qualified and well-experienced Toledo lawyers on your side to help protect your rights.

At the Groth & Associates in Toledo, we have helped many clients facing DUI charges and can build an aggressive defense in your case. We will work tirelessly to protect your legal rights. If you have been arrested for DUI, please call us as soon as possible at 877-375-7001 as soon as you can.

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