Team HMW Wins  Top-Rated OVI & DWI Attorneys
  • NAOPIA 2022
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  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • AATA
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  • BBB
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • Expertise 10 Best Cleveland
  • AVVO CD 1
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  • CTLA
  • 10 Best
  • DUI Defense
  • American Institute of Trial Lawyers - 2022 Litigator of the Year

Cleveland DUI Attorney

Legal Defense for Your OVI Case in Ohio

Driving under the influence (DUI), also known as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), is a serious criminal offense. In the state of Ohio, DUI offenses can be penalized by some of the most serious consequences under the law, including mandatory jail time and excessive legal fines.

If you were accused of driving under the influence of drugs of alcohol, it is imperative that you retain representation from a reputable and experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. At HMW Law, our Cleveland DUI lawyers are ready to defend your rights. Backed by over 75 years of experience, we have what it takes to pursue a positive outcome for you.

Get your free initial case evaluation today. We have been selected as some of the finest OVI lawyers in all of Cleveland by the NAFDD.

Ohio First-Time DUI/OVI Penalties

Anyone who has been arrested for a first or multiple OVI offense will need to speak with a skilled Cleveland DUI lawyer who can improve the chances of securing a favorable outcome.

Without the right legal representation, you could be risking the following penalties for a first-offense DUI:

  • Degree of offense: misdemeanor 1
  • 3 days in jail or DIP (driver intervention program) for up to 6 months
  • Fines anywhere from $250 to $1,000
  • Alcohol/drug abuse treatment optional based on judge’s ruling
  • License suspension Class 5: 6 months to 3 years
  • Driving privileges granted 15 days after arrest

    Ohio Penalties for Multiple DUIs

    If this is not your first offense, potential penalties could include immobilization or forfeiture of your vehicle. With our Cleveland DUI attorneys on your side, you may be able to receive restricted driving privileges that will allow you to travel to and from important places such as work.

    • Second Offense
      • Degree of offense: misdemeanor 1
      • 10 days jail time or 3 days jail and 3 days DIP for up to 6 months
      • Fines anywhere from $350 to $1,500
      • Alcohol/drug abuse assessment and recommended treatment mandatory
      • License suspension Class 4: 1 to 5 years
      • Driving privileges granted 75 days after arrest
      • Restricted plates optional, interlock optional at owner’s expense
      • 90 days vehicle immobilization if registered to offender
    • Third Offense
      • Degree of offense: unclassified misdemeanor
      • 30 days jail time or 15 days jail and 55 days HAEM(house arrest with electronic monitoring) and/or CAM (continuous alcohol monitoring)
      • Fines anywhere from $350 to $1,500
      • License Suspension class 3: 2 to 10 years
      • Driving privileges granted after 1 year
      • Restricted plates optional, interlock required at owner’s expense
      • Vehicle forfeiture if registered to offender
    • Fourth Through Sixth Offense
      • Degree of offense: Felony 4
      • Up to 120 days in jail or 120 days in prison with an optional additional 6 to 30 months
      • Fines from $800 to $10,000
      • Alcohol/drug abuse treatment mandatory
      • License suspension class 2: 3 years
      • Restricted plates optional, interlock required at owner’s expense

    View some of our firm's previous OVI case results.

    Work with a Distinguished & Reputable Legal Team

    At HMW Law, our Cleveland DUI lawyers have experience in handling complex cases at all levels of court, including municipal, state, and federal trials. Prosecutors and judges in the legal community know and respect us for our zealous representation tactics, meticulous investigative techniques, and aggressive defense strategies.

    Our Cleveland DUI attorneys have proudly defended thousands of cases and are confident that we can bring the same level of tenacity to help reduce, dismiss, or gain acquittal for your charges.

    Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, we can exhaust every avenue of investigation to determine the strongest way to defend your rights, interests, and freedoms. From dismantling the prosecution to challenging OVI evidence, we know how to use even the most incriminating evidence as leverage to bring your case to a favorable resolution.

    Get the Representation You Need for Your OVI Case

    HMW Law understands that you may be faced with the reality of an incredibly life-changing criminal accusation. With our legal team on your side, you will receive the high-quality legal representation needed to get through this time. From license hearings to trial litigation, our Cleveland DUI attorneys can help you successfully navigate the complexities of the justice system. An arrest is one of the most overwhelming times in your life, but we stand ready to provide you with the answers that you need for your peace of mind.

    Representing DUI Cases in Cleveland, OH

    Common DUI Defenses in Ohio

    Collect Official Paperwork From Your Arrest

    Obtain copies of police reports related to your DUI incident. You should also keep any citations, bonding paperwork, court information, license suspension paperwork, and the results from any tests that you have been administered. Keep these documents in safe and secure location. They could be vital to your case.

    Remember Specific Details Leading Up to Your Arrest

    You should be prepared to explain what you were doing before being stopped by police. If you were drinking, be ready to specify where and how much. Ask yourself: “Did the police explain my rights and the possible consequences of refusing to take a sobriety test?” Try to remember details about how the test was conducted. This includes whether or not you agreed to field sobriety testing, where and when was the test was performed, and what type of test was given (breath, blood or urine)?

    Statements Made by Law Enforcement About Your Arrest

    Just as a prosecutor will use whatever you say at the time of your arrest against you, your lawyer can do the same to the arresting officer as part of your DUI defense. What an officer said, or didn’t say, might have coerced you into self-incrimination.

    Call us today to receive close, compassionate legal assistance that you deserve from our Cleveland DUI lawyers. We will provide you with a risk-free consultation.


    • Members of the National College for DUI Defense
    • Membership in the National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD)
    • Founding member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association


    • National Advocacy for DUI Defense Top 100 DUI Attorney
    • National Honors in Trial Advocacy by the Order of Barristers
    • Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association

    Certified Training

    • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Certified Training
    • International Association of Chiefs of Police Certified Training
    • DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Certified Training
    Helpful Resources

    Cleveland OVI/DWI FAQ

    I thought it was a DWI – what is an OVI?

    Ohio often uses the term 'OVI', which stands for 'Operating a Vehicle Impaired', for drunk driving charges, but it is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘DWI’, which is ‘Driving While Impaired.’ OVI has begun to be used more frequently because it covers more than just driving under the influence of alcohol; it also includes operating a vehicle in any way, which might not be driving, and impairment caused by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol, not just alcohol.

    What are my rights if I get pulled over for an OVI/DWI?

    If you get pulled over for an OVI in Ohio, you have several important rights to keep in mind. Have your license, registration, and insurance documents ready to present, too. While you must comply with the officer's instruction to pull over, you do not have to admit to drinking or submit to any field sobriety tests without legal counsel. However, it’s important to know that you can lose your driver’s license immediately if you refuse to take a chemical test to record your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. If arrested, you have the right to remain silent, but you must clearly communicate this to the officer. You will also have the right to make a phone call, which should be used to call our attorneys or a loved one who can call us instead.

    Are field sobriety tests accurate?

    Field sobriety tests (FST) are used by law enforcement to determine if a person is impaired, but their overall accuracy is contested. According to various sources, these tests are not always reliable or scientifically proven methods for determining impairment. For instance, the test that requires a driver to stand on one leg can be contaminated by a leg injury, uneven ground, or everyday nervousness. The reliability of a field sobriety test is so questionable that sober individuals can still "fail" these tests while impaired drivers may "pass".

    How are blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels tested by the police?

    Police use three main methods to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels: breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests. Breath testing is the most common method used by law enforcement because breath analysis devices, often referred to as breathalyzers, are portable, quick, and non-invasive. During a breath test, the BAC is estimated from the concentration of alcohol in one's breath. Blood tests, while more accurate, are less commonly used due to their invasive nature and the need for medical personnel. Urine tests are less accurate than both blood and breath tests and are typically used when other methods are not available.

    Why was I charged with an OVI/DUI if my BAC level tested below 0.08?

    Even if your BAC tests below the legal limit of 0.08, you can still be charged with Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) or similar offenses in some situations. This is because the law considers not just the BAC, but also the level of impairment. If law enforcement officers have reason to believe that your ability to operate a vehicle has been appreciably impaired by alcohol, even if your BAC is below 0.08, they may charge you with an OVI. This could be based on observed behavior, performance on field sobriety tests, or other evidence of impairment. Additionally, certain states have lower BAC limits for specific populations, such as commercial drivers or individuals under the legal drinking age.

    What are the usual defenses against a drunk driving charge?

    Defenses against a drunk driving charge typically focus on challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the administration and results of field sobriety tests, or the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood tests. An attorney may argue that the police officer had no probable cause to make the initial traffic stop, which could potentially invalidate any evidence obtained thereafter. The defense might also scrutinize the administration of field sobriety tests, arguing that they were improperly conducted or that external factors such as uneven ground, poor lighting, or physical conditions affected the results. Finally, the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood tests can be questioned, with the defense arguing that the device was not properly calibrated or maintained, or that the test was improperly administered.

    What happens if I plead no contest to an OVI/DUI charge?

    Pleading "no contest" to an OVI charge means that you are not admitting guilt, but you are acknowledging that the prosecution likely has enough evidence to convict you. The outcome of a no contest plea is similar to a guilty plea; you will be convicted and sentenced for the OVI offense. The sentence can include fines, probation, mandatory alcohol education programs, license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, or even jail time. However, a no contest plea might have advantages in certain situations, so you should discuss the option with our Cleveland OVI attorneys.

    Can my OVI/DUI charge be reduced to a reckless operation charge?

    In certain circumstances, an OVI charge can be reduced to a reckless operation charge. This typically involves negotiation between your defense attorney and the prosecutor, and is more likely if it's your first offense, if your BAC was close to the legal limit, or if there are issues with the evidence against you. Having an OVI charge reduced to a reckless operation charge can have significant benefits, as the penalties for reckless operation are generally less severe than those for an OVI. To see if this option might be possible for your case, talk to our legal team today.

    Will I lose my driver’s license for one OVI/DUI conviction?

    If you are convicted of an OVI offense in Ohio, you will most likely lose your driver's license. The length of the suspension depends on several factors, with a heavy focus on whether it's your first offense. It’s possible to lose your license for years or indefinitely. It's also worth noting that an OVI conviction could potentially lead to the suspension of a professional license, which could impact your employment.

    What does physical control of a vehicle mean?

    Physical control of a vehicle refers to the ability to exercise direct influence over a vehicle's operation, even if the vehicle is not in motion at the time. This means you are in a position to start the vehicle and set it in motion. It's important to note that you can be considered in physical control of a vehicle even if you're not actually driving or operating it. For example, if you're sitting in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition, or even nearby in the car, you could be considered in physical control. You can even be considered to have “physical control” of a vehicle if you’re asleep in the back seat and the keys are in the front seat!

    Your OVI/DWI Defense Team Led by Attorney Henderson & Attorney Weatherly

    Proof of Our Success

    Read Our Client Testimonials

    Trying to navigate the legal system can be overwhelming, and attempting to defend your innocence when you're facing a prosecutor who has years of experience can be intimidating. But when you choose Henderson & Weatherly, you won't have to go it alone. We'll be right beside you every step of the way, providing the one-on-one legal attention you need.

    • “They have represented me on numerous types of cases over the years, and they have never lost a case for me.”

      - Chad
    • “This man knows what he is doing by far and is very well respected in the court room!”

      - Adam
    • “He is extremely personable, and competent and will work his butt off to achieve the best result in a stressful situation.”

      - Zach
    • “I have referred him to anyone that I have come into contact with that is in need of a top defense attorney, and they have all thanked me for bringing them to him.”

      - Charles
    • “The time & effort you put in defending me is commendable. I highly recommend you as anyone's attorney.”

      - Marlene

    Case Results

    Your Win Is Our Win
    • OVI Fourth OVI - Case Dismissed
    • OVI OVI - Case Dismissed
    • OVI Multiple Charges - Not Guilty
    • OVI OVI Charge - Not Guilty

    The Team HMW Difference

    What Sets Our Team Apart?
    • Unmatched Work Ethic

      Team HMW works harder than the competition. Period. You will not find another firm who works harder for you, your case, and your family.

    • Efficient Communication with Our Clients

      At our firm, you will never feel like just a case number. Team HMW is committed to keeping you informed through every step of the legal process.

    • Passion for Our Work & Clients

      Team HMW's number one priority is YOU. Our clients and their families are what drive us to push towards the best possible outcome. Your goals are our goals.

    • Team-Oriented Approach

      Team HMW approaches each case we take on as a team. This provides our clients with the benefit of not just one attorney, but an entire team who can help strategize on their case.

    • Decades of Combined Experience

      There really is no substitute for experience and Team HMW brings a vast array of experience to each case they handle.

    Contact Team HMW Today

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