You may have been out on a Friday night with a few friends and had a few beers to celebrate. Or you go to your family’s holiday party and drink one too many spiked eggnogs or cocktails. Before you know it, on your way home, police pull you over. Maybe you were swerving a bit and didn’t notice.
When your blood alcohol level registers as .08, you know what that means: you’ll now face OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) charges. If this is the first-time police have charged you with drunk driving, you won’t know exactly what to expect. You know you’ll receive consequences, but how stiff are they in Ohio?
A first-time OVI offense
With a first-time OVI conviction in Ohio, you will face these penalties:
- A fine between $375 to $1,075
- A minimum three-day jail term or three days in Ohio’s driver intervention program (DIP)
- A driver’s license suspension of one to three years
- A $475 driver’s license reinstatement fee
As of early 2020, first-time OVI offenders can choose to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle and avoid having their license suspended. This means that in order to operate their vehicle, these drivers can’t be intoxicated. If the device registers a driver as having a .08 alcohol level too often, the driver will need to keep the device operational in their car for a longer period of time.
Underage drinking and driving
Some who are under the age 21 still drink alcohol, like perhaps when they are celebrating Ohio State’s latest win. If they decide to drink and drive, they can face drunk driving charges even if they only consumed one beer. That’s because Ohio has a no-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. If you are under 21, your blood alcohol content only needs to be .02 to face OVI charges.
You also will face these penalties:
- A fine of up to $250
- Spending up to 30 days in jail
- A minimum 90-day license suspension
- Possible probation and mandatory drug and alcohol treatment
- Possible required installation of an ignition interlock device
Any time, you face drunk driving charges in Ohio, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review your case and advocate for reducing the charges against you, so you can avoid an OVI conviction.