Steve Palmer
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An OVI Defense Attorney Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions About OVIs In Ohio

If you have been charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVI) in the state of Ohio, you probably have a lot of questions. My name is Steve Palmer and I am a criminal defense attorney in Columbus. I have been helping good people who have found themselves in bad situations for over 25 years.

I work closely with all of my clients at Palmer Legal Defense to make sure they understand what is happening at every phase of their case. Here, I answer some of the most commonly asked questions. If you still have questions about your specific case, I offer an initial consultation appointment.

What happens if I refuse to take a field sobriety test?

Nothing. That means nothing bad. There is no mandatory requirement or consequence for refusing field sobriety tests after you’ve been stopped for a DUI or OVI in Ohio. In other words, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test, if asked to perform one.

Can I get my own blood test?

Yes. After an arrest for DUI, most people are released (if they can find someone to pick them up). Once released, the driver is free to go get a blood test to prove their BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) or that there were no drugs of abuse in their system. It’s not always too easy to find a place that will perform the test. Some folks have success going to a hospital. Others go see their family doctor (as soon as available). But if there’s a question regarding alcohol, the test must be completed ASAP.

Once the results come back, there may be issues trying to get them admitted as evidence. However, an attorney can usually still use a favorable test result for plea bargaining purposes.

What are reinstatement fees?

These are fees required by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to reinstate a driver’s license after a suspension. A schedule of fees can be found here. Sometimes this gets confusing. Anyone who has gone through a DUI with an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) has experienced this.

The BMV is always a few weeks behind. This means that people will receive notification of a suspension from the BMV weeks after the arrest date of the suspension. To make things even more confusing, people often receive additional notifications that look the same after their court case is over. These second notifications are typically related to the court suspension, not the ALS.

Confused? You’re not alone. Just be sure to read all notifications carefully and discuss what is happening with your attorney.

What is the “Financial Responsibility” on my ticket, and what if the officer marked “No?”

Let’s start by analyzing a Uniform Traffic Ticket.

About a third of the way down on the right side, the ticket contains the words: “Financial Responsibility Proof.” Directly below are 3 checkboxes for yes, no, and N/A. Financial responsibility is just fancy talk for car insurance. In both Columbus and the entire state of Ohio, all drivers must have insurance. And they have to provide proof of insurance when pulled over. If they cannot, the court system will tell the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles which will then send notice to the driver that their license is now suspended. This is commonly called an “FRA Suspension.” FRA is an abbreviation for “Financial Responsibility Act,” the law that requires drivers to have insurance.

Back to the question. If the police forget to ask for proof of insurance or the driver cannot provide it (lost, left it at home, dog ate it, etc.), then the ticket will generally be marked “no,” indicating that the driver did not provide proof of insurance.

This does not necessarily mean that the person is in “trouble” or that their license will be suspended under the FRA law. There will be an opportunity to provide proof of insurance later in court. Proof of insurance is a must for limited driving privileges. If a person is under suspension for DUI, they must show proof of insurance at the time of the offense and at times they want limited privileges.

As an OVI attorney, I try to assemble various documents at the start of the case, including proof of insurance (even if the box is checked “yes”). Then we have everything we need to solve client issues that arise.

Do You Still Have Questions?

I am available for consultation appointments and during this time I can answer any questions that you have about your specific case. Contact me to schedule your appointment by calling 614-224-6142 or by sending an inquiry through my website.