The state of Ohio takes operation of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol very seriously. Being charged and convicted of a single OVI can have devastating consequences. Unfortunately, many people make the same mistake twice.
In 2014, there were over 12,000 alcohol-related crashes in Ohio. Over 7,000 of the crashes involved injury to the driver or passengers. Law enforcement will not look the other way when they suspect anyone of driving while intoxicated.
Penalties for an OVI conviction in Ohio are very severe and may have long-lasting consequences for both your and your family. With each subsequent conviction, the penalties for drunk driving increase, and you will need a solid DUI defense as you proceed through your case.
Legal Limits in Ohio
It is not up to the driver to determine whether or not he or she is impaired, and thus unable to operate a motor vehicle correctly. Instead, law enforcement officers are tasked with this determination, and have a variety of ways to come to a conclusive answer.
Ohio uses a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) in order to determine whether or not the driver is legally impaired. It is illegal in Ohio to operate a vehicle when your blood alcohol content is .08 or above. How much time has passed, when you last ate, and your weight can all influence your BAC. However, none of these things are a defense to an OVI charge if your BAC is found to be at .08 or above.
Consequences for a Second OVI
A second conviction for OVI simply means more time in jail and more fines to be paid. Below is a quick comparison of the penalties for a first and a second OVI in Ohio.
First OVI Conviction
A first OVI conviction may result in a jail term of between three days and six months. A DUI attorney may be able to sway the judge in your case to impose a driver’s intervention program (“DUI school”) instead of jail time if it is your first OVI related offense.
Furthermore, it will cost you between $250 and $1,000 in fines and penalties for your first OVI. This does not include court costs or attorney’s fee.
Finally, your license will be suspended for at least six months but may be suspended for as long as three years, depending on the circumstances.
Second OVI Conviction
The penalties for a second OVI conviction are much worse. A second OVI may result in jail time between 10 days and 1 year. The judge in your case will have discretion to impose a jail terms he or she deems reasonable based on the circumstances of the arrest. Such circumstances include your BAC at the time of the OVI and the time period that has elapsed since your first OVI offense.
A second OVI conviction may result in a fine of between $350 and $1,500. This does not include court costs or attorney’s fee.
For a second OVI conviction, your license will be suspended for at least one year, but this period may increase to five years. Once your driver’s license is reinstated, your car will be outfitted with mandatory restricted license plates.
There is no reason to face a second OVI charge without the help of an experienced attorney. It is always advisable to speak with a professional OVI/DUI attorney after you have been charged with such a serious offense.