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OVI / DUI FIRST OFFENSE IN OHIO, Laws, Violation Penalties 

First-Offense DUI / OVI In Ohio

Most people do not expect to be charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio). If you were recently charged with a first offense DUI / OVI in Ohio, you likely have many questions. You may wonder what happens in court and what are the consequences of a DUI / OVI conviction. You may also wonder if there is any way to avoid a DUI / OVI conviction on your permanent record, whether a DUI lawyer can really help, and if it makes a difference which DUI lawyer you choose. With the overwhelming nature of the situation, you may wonder what are the first steps you should take.

First Steps For A First Offense

The first step for a first offense Ohio DUI / OVI is to educate yourself. This website is a good way to do that. You can learn about the court process and the possible consequences, including the license suspensions. You can also read about the officer’s DUI / OVI investigation and the different types of DUI / OVI charges and DUI / OVI tests.

In addition to the information on this website, you may also want to read the ‘Ohio DUI / OVI Guide.’ That guide is a quick read and answers many of the questions people have when charged with a first offense DUI / OVI in Ohio. The guide is available for sale from online retailers, and the e-book version is available as a free download on this site. You may also want to contact a Columbus, OH DUI lawyer for your first offense DUI / OVI in central Ohio.

Sentences For First Offense DUI / OVI In Ohio

In Ohio, OVI is categorized by Ohio Revised Code section 4511.19 as a first-degree misdemeanor with unique sentencing. The sentence includes a mandatory jail term of at least three days (or a driver intervention program) and a possible jail term of up to 180 days. There is a mandatory driver license suspension of at least one year and a possible driver license suspension of up to three years. There is also a mandatory fine of at least $375 and a possible fine of up to $1,075. A first offense DUI / OVI in Ohio also results in six points on your driver’s license.

In addition to those mandatory penalties for a first DUI / OVI conviction, there are other possible penalties, including yellow license plates, an ignition interlock device, secure remote alcohol monitoring (SCRAM), and community control (probation). Outside of the sentence imposed in court, an OVI conviction also has some secondary consequences. For a chart summarizing DUI / OVI penalties, please see the DUI / OVI sentences page of this website.

Pleading Guilty Or Not Guilty For A First Offense DUI / OVI Charges In Ohio

Before you can be subjected to the penalties for a first offense DUI / OVI, you must be found guilty. If you plead guilty, there is a 100% chance you will be found guilty. The judge will then impose the sentence, and the DUI / OVI conviction will become part of your permanent record, which cannot be expunged or sealed. If you plead not guilty, you at least give yourself a chance of avoiding the DUI / OVI conviction.

Can A Lawyer Help With A First Offense DUI / OVI?

A lawyer can help, but not everybody needs a lawyer. Some people intend to plead guilty to the DUI / OVI at the first court appearance and ask the judge for leniency. For those people, a lawyer may still be helpful but may not be necessary.

Other people intend to contest the DUI / OVI and try to improve the outcome of the case. For those people, a lawyer is probably necessary. To credibly contest a DUI / OVI, one needs, at a minimum, a good understanding of Ohio DUI / OVI substantive law, rules of evidence, rules of criminal procedure, and Constitutional law. One should also have a working knowledge of the various tests used in DUI / OVI cases: field sobriety tests, breath tests, blood tests, urine tests. It would also be beneficial to have litigation and trial skills.

Does It Matter Which Lawyer I Hire For A First Offense DUI / OVI?

It only matters if the outcome matters to you. There are hundreds of attorneys who will handle your DUI / OVI case. There are a handful of attorneys who have expertise in DUI / OVI defense. Those attorneys complete specialized training specific to DUI / OVI defense and use that training in DUI / OVI litigation. Those attorneys typically get better results for their clients than attorneys who do not put in the effort to undergo specialized training.

Ohio DUI Laws: The Basics

Ohio DUI laws prohibit operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The offense is referred to as OVI, and motorists can be charged with this crime in any of the following situations:

  • Drivers are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs while operating any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley.
  • Drivers have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
  • Drivers have above the allowable amount of amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, or marijuana in their blood, blood serum, plasma, or urine.

Ohio Revised Code section 4511.19 details the specific amounts of each controlled substance that could result in a DUI conviction. But remember, if you are found to be under the influence of any combination of drugs or alcohol that causes impairment, you can still be charged even if the level of a specific substance in your body does not exceed the allowable measurable limits.

What Happens When You Are Arrested for a Ohio DUI?

If you are stopped for impaired driving and you undergo chemical testing that shows you are over the legal limit for alcohol or drugs, a law enforcement official can take your license immediately. Your license suspension will begin right away and last for between 90 days and five years depending on whether you have any repeat offenses. This suspension is an administrative suspension. It happens automatically even before a criminal conviction.

If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving and you refuse to take a chemical test, a law enforcement officer can also take your license immediately, and an administrative suspension will go into effect. This occurs because of Ohio’s implied consent laws, which indicate you give implied consent for a BAC test with probable cause when you drive on state roads. The suspension for a refusal to test is between one and five years. In addition to the administrative suspension, you will likely face criminal charges and be subject to additional penalties if convicted.

Penalties for an Ohio DUI

The penalties imposed under Ohio DUI laws vary depending on whether you have any prior drunk driving convictions, as well as depending on whether you are a high-level offender or refused BAC testing. The tables below show the potential consequences you can face.

Penalties for a First Offense

Here are the potential penalties you could face for a first offense under Ohio DUI laws.

Penalties Low Level BAC of .17% or higher
Minimum Incarceration 3 days or Driver Intervention Program (DIP) 3 days or DIP and 3 days of jail or 6 days of jail
Maximum Incarceration 6 months 6 months
Probation Maximum 5 years Maximum 5 years
Fine $375 to $1,075 $375 to $1,075
License Suspension 1 to 3 years. 15 days minimum of no driving privileges or 30 days minimum for BAC test refusal. 1 to 3 years. 15 days minimum of no driving privileges or 30 days minimum for BAC test refusal

Penalties for a Second Offense

Here are the potential penalties you could face for a second offense under Ohio DUI laws.

Penalties Low Level BAC of .17% or higher
Minimum Incarceration 10 days or 5 days plus 18 days house arrest with monitoring 20 days or 10 days of jail plus 36 days of house arrest with monitoring
Maximum Incarceration 6 months 6 months
Probation Maximum 5 years Maximum 5 years
Fine $525 – $1,625 $525 -$1,625
License Suspension 1 to 7 years. 45 days minimum of no driving privileges or 90 days minimum for BAC test refusal 1 to 7 years. 45 days minimum of no driving privileges or 90 days minimum for BAC test refusal

Penalties for a Third Offense

Here are the potential penalties you could face for a third offense under Ohio DUI laws.

Penalties Low Level BAC of .17% or higher
Minimum Incarceration 30 days or 15 days plus 55 days of house arrest with monitoring 60 days plus 30 days of jail and 110 days of house arrest with monitoring
Maximum Incarceration 1 year 1 year
Probation Maximum 5 years Maximum 5 years
Fine $850 up to $2,750 $850 up to $2,750
License Suspension 2 to 12 years. 180 days minimum of no driving privileges or 1 year minimum for BAC test refusal 2 to 12 years. 180 days minimum of no driving privileges or 1 year minimum for BAC test refusal

If you are convicted for a fourth or subsequent offense, you will be charged with a felony offense.

Can You Get DUI Charges Dropped in Ohio?

If you are arrested for impaired driving, prosecutors will proceed with a case against you in most situations if there is sufficient evidence. But you will be convicted only if the prosecutor proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

It may be possible to get charges dropped if there isn’t sufficient evidence for a case to proceed. The evidence against you is typically collected by law enforcement. If the police violated any of your constitutional rights, evidence collected due to that violation should be inadmissible. If you can convince the court your rights were violated and that the evidence should be suppressed, you may be able to get the charges dropped due to insufficient evidence.

You could also try to negotiate a plea agreement to face lesser charges. However, unlike in many states, you cannot participate in a pre-trial diversion program to avoid criminal conviction under Ohio DUI laws.

Get Help From an Ohio DUI Lawyer

Ohio DUI laws are very strict, so you need to make sure you have a knowledgeable advocate on your side helping you to navigate the criminal justice system. Your attorney will work with you to try to identify the best legal strategy that could result in the minimum penalties given your situation. Contact a DUI lawyer ASAP for help.

Ohio’s OVI/DUI Laws and Violation Penalties

Ohio’s OVI/DUI Laws

Ohio uses the term “operating a vehicle under the influence” (OVI) instead of “DUI.” This article explains Ohio’s OVI laws and the penalties you’ll face for a first, second, third, and felony conviction.

Ohio’s Blood Alcohol Limit

In Ohio, a driver can be convicted of a “per se” alcohol OVI for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater (or urine alcohol concentration of .11% or more). A driver can be convicted of a per se alcohol OVI without proof of actual impairment—a BAC that’s above the legal limit is enough.

Per Se OVIs Based on Controlled Substance Use in Ohio

A person can also be convicted of a controlled substance per se offense for driving with a concentration of at least:

  • 100 nanograms per milliliter of blood of amphetamines
  • 50 nanograms per milliliter of blood of cocaine
  • 2,000 nanograms per milliliter of blood of heroin
  • 25 nanograms per milliliter of blood of LSD, or
  • 20 nanograms per milliliter of urine of marijuana.

As with alcohol per se offenses, the prosecution doesn’t need to prove actual impairment to get a controlled substance per se OVI conviction.

OVIs Based on Alcohol or Drug Impairment

In Ohio, prosecutors can also get an OVI conviction by proving the driver was operating a vehicle while actually “under the influence” of any controlled substance, alcohol, or combination of the two. To prove impairment, the prosecution needs to show the actual adverse effects on driving ability that the substances ingested had on the driver.

Evidence of impairment might include things like swerving on the roadway, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and a loss of balance or coordination. Oftentimes, prosecutors will present evidence of poor field sobriety test performance to prove the driver was under the influence.

Ohio’s First-Offense OVI/DUI Penalties

OVI penalties depend on the number of OVI convictions the offender has had within the past 10 years. A first DUI is a misdemeanor and generally carries:

  • Three days to six months in jail
  • $375 to $1,075 in fines, and
  • A period of license suspension of one to three years.

These penalties are even more severe if the driver had a BAC of .17% or more.

Ohio’s Second-Offense OVI/DUI Penalties

A second DUI within 10 years is a misdemeanor and generally carries:

  • 10 days to six months in jail
  • $525 to $1,625 in fines, and
  • A period of license suspension of one to seven years.

As with a first offense, these penalties are even more severe if the driver had a BAC of .17% or more.

Ohio’s Third-Offense OVI/DUI Penalties

A third DUI within 10 years is a misdemeanor and generally carries:

  • 30 days to one year in jail
  • $850 to $2,750 in fines,
  • A period of license suspension of two to 12 years.

As with a first and second offense, the penalties for a third offense are even more severe if the driver had a BAC of .17% or more.

Aggravated or “Super” OVI Charges in Ohio

A driver with a BAC of at least .17% will be subject to increased penalties. Sometimes, these types of OVIs are referred to as “aggravate” or “super” OVI charges.

  • First aggravated offense: For a first aggravated

 

Getting Help

If you or a loved one has found yourselves in need of legal counsel for DUI/OVI related charges please contact the lawyers at DUI OHIO today. You can reach our office by calling 888-DUI-OIHO (888-384-6446) or fill out the form on this page. 

Navigating a First-Offense DUI/OVI Charge in Ohio

Navigating the legal intricacies of a first-offense DUI/OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) charge in Ohio can be overwhelming. From understanding court proceedings to potential penalties and the role of legal representation, it’s essential to grasp the basics to make informed decisions. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through the process.

Understanding First Steps

The initial step after facing a first-offense DUI/OVI charge is education. Familiarize yourself with the court process, possible consequences, and license suspensions associated with the charge. Resources such as the Ohio Government website can provide valuable insights into the legal landscape. Additionally, consulting with a DUI lawyer in Ohio can offer personalized guidance tailored to your case.

Sentencing for First Offense DUI/OVI

In Ohio, a first-offense DUI/OVI is categorized as a first-degree misdemeanor with specific sentencing guidelines. Mandatory penalties include a minimum jail term of three days (or participation in a driver intervention program), potential fines ranging from $375 to $1,075, and a driver’s license suspension of at least one year. Additional penalties such as yellow license plates, ignition interlock device installation, and community control may also apply.

Pleading Guilty or Not Guilty

Deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty significantly impacts the outcome of a DUI/OVI case. Pleading guilty ensures a conviction, resulting in permanent record inclusion. On the other hand, pleading not guilty provides an opportunity to contest the charges, potentially avoiding a conviction. Seeking legal counsel can help determine the most appropriate plea based on the circumstances of your case.

Role of a DUI Lawyer

While not everyone may require legal representation, a DUI lawyer can be invaluable for those contesting the charges. A competent lawyer possesses in-depth knowledge of Ohio DUI/OVI laws, evidence rules, and trial procedures necessary for a credible defense. Choosing an experienced DUI lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Ohio’s DUI/OVI Laws and Penalties

Ohio’s DUI laws prohibit operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, encompassing various scenarios such as exceeding blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits or impaired driving due to substance use. Penalties for first, second, and third offenses vary, ranging from jail time to fines and license suspensions. Aggravating factors such as high BAC levels can exacerbate these penalties.

Can DUI Charges be Dropped in Ohio?

Prosecutors pursue DUI cases based on available evidence, and securing a conviction requires proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Insufficient evidence or constitutional violations by law enforcement may lead to charges being dropped. Negotiating plea agreements for reduced charges is also a possibility, although pre-trial diversion programs aren’t available in Ohio.

Navigating the Legal Landscape

Understanding Ohio’s DUI/OVI laws, penalties, and legal procedures is crucial for individuals facing first-offense charges. Whether seeking legal representation or exploring defense strategies, proactive engagement with legal counsel can significantly impact case outcomes. Navigating the legal landscape with knowledge and informed decisions is key to addressing a first-offense DUI/OVI charge effectively.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one has found yourselves in need of legal counsel for DUI/OVI related charges please contact the lawyers at DUI OHIO today. You can reach our office by calling 888-DUI-OIHO (888-384-6446) or fill out the form on this page. 

Get Help Now

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