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Willoughby OVI/DUI Attorney

Fortress Law Group is here to represent you if you have been charged with an OVI or a DUI. Our Willoughby OVI/DUI attorneys will protect your rights and vigorously defend you.
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OVI/DUI Attorney in Willoughby

An OVI or DUI charge can be serious and bring severe penalties. Ohio laws are clear regarding these crimes. You need someone on your side who understands the legal process and your rights in such matters.

The team at Fortress Law Group will look at all the evidence and details of your arrest to build an effective defense.

Though you could face jail time and fines, we can explore ways to help you avoid or lighten the consequences.

OVI/DUI Definitions in Ohio

In Ohio, the charge of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) is the name for what many people commonly call “DUI” or driving under the influence. There is no separate “DUI” offense in Ohio, so OVI would be the applicable charge. In either case, the charge means you were found to have operated a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

At Fortress Law Group, we defend good people accused of bad things. Contact our team today for a case evaluation.

Penalties For OVI/DUI In Ohio

It’s important to understand the penalties you could face if you are guilty of an OVI or DUI. The consequences become more serious for multiple offenses. For example, the mandatory minimum penalty for a first-offense OVI charge in Ohio is 3 days in jail, a 6-month suspension of your driver’s license, and a significant fine. The minimum 3-day stay in jail could be replaced with an alternative program.

For a second OVI offense, the minimum license suspension or revocation is 1 year. Depending on the details of your second OVI offense, you may be charged with a more serious misdemeanor or felony, which may lead to several months of jail time, license suspension for several years, and a significant fine.

For the third OVI offense, minimum license suspension or revocation is 2 years, with possible vehicle confiscation. There is mandatory alcohol education, assessment, and treatment for each of these offenses, and an ignition interlock device (IID) may also be installed.

Be aware that other charges can accompany an OVI or a DUI offense. If you have minors with you who also have alcohol in their possession, you could face stiffer penalties. These include child endangerment. Repeat OVI offenses can result in felony charges and prison terms.

What You Should And Shouldn’t Do At A Traffic Stop In Ohio

A competent Willoughby OVI/DUI defense attorney will review your arrest and determine the best course for you. But before you ever face this situation, you should understand how to act when a police officer pulls you over. Your actions can significantly affect whether you are charged with an OVI or a DUI and what the penalties might be.

First, pull over safely to the side of the road as soon as an officer signals for you to do so. You shouldn’t volunteer any information to the officer. Remain calm, and be polite.

Officers will often request drivers perform roadside tests such as walking in a straight line (the Walk and Turn), standing on one foot (the One Leg Stand), or following the movement of the officer’s finger with your eyes (the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus), but you can refuse these roadside tests.

Contact Fortress Law Group today for a consultation if you face OVI or DUI charges.

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Why Choose Fortress Law Group?

Extensive Experience – Established in 2009, our firm has represented thousands of clients in various kinds of criminal cases. Our criminal defense attorneys make sure each client is diligently represented and protected throughout the trial.


Professional and Reliable – We value the trust and confidence each client gives us. The criminal justice system is complex, but we are dedicated to guiding you throughout the process to ensure your rights are protected.


Comprehensive Criminal Defense – Our team of attorneys is knowledgeable and up to date with all the relevant case laws and procedural rules in court and will ensure all your bases are covered.


Flexible Consultation Times – Facing a criminal charge is a serious matter. You must communicate with a lawyer as soon as possible. That’s why our communication lines – online and via phone – are available for clients to reach out to us at any time.

OVI/DUI Defense Strategies

When you work with a Willoughby OVI/DUI attorney from Fortress Law Group, we will look at the most effective defense methods to help you win your case. One of the most common approaches will be to show that the police stop was illegal and that the officer didn’t have the proper cause to make a traffic stop.

We might also consider whether the officer improperly administered a field sobriety test. It’s also possible that the officer incorrectly interpreted the results of the test. In addition, the breath machine may have been faulty. In any of these situations, our attorneys will aggressively pursue dismissal of your case.

Why Hire An Attorney?

If you are charged with an OVI or a DUI, do not assume that you are guilty and that you will face harsh consequences. We have successfully defended many clients who faced the same situation you are experiencing. Our team will apply our many years of experience defending against impaired driving charges to build and argue your case.

We will diligently review the facts and evidence in order to explore your legal options. Begin by contacting Fortress Law Group today to schedule a case evaluation so we can discuss your goals and needs.

We defend good people accused of bad things.

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Related FAQs


Is there a difference between DUI and OVI?

Operating a vehicle while impaired is a serious offense that endangers the lives of yourself and others on the road.

DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” while OVI stands for "operating a vehicle while impaired.” Despite meaning essentially the same thing, the state of Ohio refers to any act of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs as an OVI.

What happens if I get a second OVI charge?

OVI charges include impairment by any drugs or alcohol. You could get a first conviction for alcohol and a second conviction for marijuana later, even if you had no alcohol in your system at the time of the second arrest.
Ohio carries a range of penalties for a first, second, and third offense, including:

  • First offense. License suspension of one to three years, three days to six months in jail, $375-$1,075 in fines
  • Second offense. License suspension of one to seven years, ten days to six months in jail, $525-$1,625 in fines
  • Third offense. License suspension of two to 12 years, 30 days to one year in jail, $850-$2,750 in fines

What arguments can I make against an OVI charge?

An OVI defense attorney with our firm, Fortress Law Group, can review your arrest report and determine if the officer had a reason to perform the traffic stop in the first place. We can also look for evidence to support whether the officer properly administered the field sobriety test, interpreted the test results correctly and whether the breathalyzer was functioning properly.

What about getting an OVI conviction under 21?

An underage driver with a BAC of over .02% convicted of an underage OVI offense would face penalties for a fourth-degree misdemeanor. An experienced Ohio OVI lawyer like Matthew C. Bangerter can help you avoid up to 30 days in jail, up to $250 in fines, and a suspended license between three months and two years.

Do I need an OVI defense attorney?

Arguing your own case or using a public defender could result in an undesirable outcome for your trial. An experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney knows what to look for in the arrest procedures and evidence.
OVI and DUI attorney Matthew C. Bangerter is well-versed in forensic applications in evidence. He can review your bloodwork and breathalyzer report to find any inconsistencies. Contact his offices at Fortress Law Group in Cleveland Metro at (440) 340-1740 to schedule a case review.

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Matthew C. Bangerter, Esq.

As a former Assistant Prosecutor in Lake County Ohio, Cleveland criminal defense attorney Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ. has experience with the strategies used by prosecutors to pursue their cases. As a member of the Ohio Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Board of Directors of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he takes his profession as a Cleveland criminal defense attorney seriously and ensures that he is up to date with the latest case law and trial strategies.

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Whether you’re charged with a DUI, misdemeanor, or felony, the prospect of facing trial is stressful. Worse, there’s also the possibility of jail time if things don’t go well for you in court. To help you face these legal adversities, you need an attorney who can work on an effective defense strategy and make sure your civil rights are upheld throughout the process. A Willoughby criminal appeals attorney at Fortress Law Group, LLC provides clients with comprehensive legal representation from trial to appeal, if needed.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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