DUIs, also known as OVIs, are serious charges in Ohio. Whether it’s your first OVI or you’ve already been arrested for drinking and driving in Ohio, you face serious penalties if convicted, including mandatory jail time. Because of the severity of DUI related crimes and their consequences, it’s vital for you to take any of these charges seriously and contact an Ohio DUI lawyer right away.
Just because you’ve been arrested for an OVI doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be convicted. With the right attorney, you can successfully fight the charges and get the best possible outcome for your case.
How Much Alcohol Will Get You Arrested for an OVI in Ohio?
In Ohio, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of more than .08 or with any measurable amount of drugs in your system. If you are pulled over and a chemical test indicates that you are under the influence, you will be arrested. However, a chemical test isn’t the only way to show a driver is under the influence. If you fail a field sobriety test or law enforcement otherwise can demonstrate you were impaired, you can still be arrested.
Despite this, a BAC over the legal limit or a missed step during a field sobriety test don’t always mean you were out of control. Your OVI attorney can help develop a strategy to fight the evidence or possibly even get it thrown out in court. You should never drink and drive, but you don’t deserve to be arrested for driving safely, just because an officer suspects you are drunk or high.
Types of DUIs and Their Penalties
Every DUI offense has different consequences. The following are some of the most common OVI offenses in Ohio, along with the sentence you could face if convicted.
- Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay DUI Charges: Traveling to Ohio’s Lake Erie islands is typically fun for the entire family; however, law enforcement is always on the look out for people operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These charges are taken very seriously in Erie County and if convicted you can face harsh consequences.
- First OVI Offense: The first time you are arrested for a DUI, you don’t get the leniency you might be offered for other first-time offenses. A first-time DUI in Ohio can land you in jail for anywhere between three days and six months. You also will have your license suspended for up to three years and owe a fine up to $1,075.
- Second OVI Offense: The second time that you are arrested for driving under the influence, you not only face less leniency, but you also face harsher sentences. A second DUI is punishable by 10 days to six months in jail, a license suspension of up to seven years, and a fine up to $1,625.
- Third OVI Offense: If you are convicted of a third Ohio DUI, even more of your freedoms are at stake. Depending on your BAC when you are arrested, you could even be charged with a felony. At the very least, you face 30 days to one year of incarceration, a license suspension of up to 12 years, and a fine of up to $2,750. In addition, you may be sentenced to mandatory alcohol or drug abuse treatment, probation, and embarrassing yellow OVI plates.
- Felony OVI: If you are convicted of three or more DUIs in 10 years, five OVIs within a 20-year period, or have previously arrested for any other felony, your DUI may no longer be a misdemeanor charge. You will be charged with a felony and face the correspondingly longer sentences these charges carry, as well as an uphill battle defending yourself. A felony OVI conviction will mean a minimum of 60 days in jail, a license suspension of at least three years or possibly a permanent suspension of driving privileges, and a fine of up to $10,500. If you are facing felony DUI charges, you will need the help of an experienced Ohio OVI attorney to successfully fight the charges.
- Underage OVI: If you are under the legal drinking age of 21, a DUI is more complex and quite difficult to fight. Since the legal limit for underage drinkers is just .02 percent, any amount of alcohol at all can put you over the legal threshold. Depending on the amount you drank and you age at the time of your arrest, you face varying serious penalties.
- Wet Reckless: If you were just over the legal limit, you may be able to plead down to a wet reckless driving charge with the help of your Ohio DUI lawyer. A wet reckless carries no mandatory jail time, and you are less likely to face social consequences.
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID): Drugged driving is illegal in Ohio. Any measurable amount of illegal drug in your system or even an amount of legal drugs that could impair your driving could lead to your arrest for a DUID. These are punishable in the same ways that any other DUI charge would be.
If you are arrested for an OVI, you will be given a chemical BAC test. Under implied consent laws, you automatically lose your license if you do not consent to a blood, breath, or urine test administered by law enforcement. This administrative revocation of your license will last for at least a year, and it will cost significantly to get your license reinstated.
While it is your right to refuse, it’s important to realize that you will not necessarily beat DUI charges by refusing the test. Officer observations of drunken behavior, the smell of alcohol on your breath, and even the fact of refusing to take a BAC test can all be used as evidence against you in court. In addition, officers do have the right to use “reasonable force” to require you to take the chemical test if you refuse to consent.