Being charged with DUI as an adult can be frightening and overwhelming. However, when you are under 21 years old, you face additional penalties and consequences for drinking and driving in Ohio. The best way to protect yourself is to understand the laws for this type of criminal offense is to call a Dayton underage DUI lawyer as soon as possible to defend you against the charges.

What Is Considered Underage Drinking and Driving in Ohio?

Ohio law prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. It is also illegal to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher while driving a vehicle. 

However, the BAC level is lower for drivers under the age of 21 years in Ohio (i.e., underage drivers). The legislature passed a zero-tolerance law for underage drivers. A person under 21 years old can be charged with underage drinking and driving in Ohio if:

  • Their BAC is .02% or higher by testing the person’s whole blood
  • Their BAC is .096% or more by testing plasma or blood serum
  • Their breathalyzer shows a reading of .02 grams or more
  • A urine alcohol concentration reading was 0.028 grams or more

The consequences of an underage drinking and driving conviction can impact a minor’s life for multiple years, including their choice of colleges, where they live, and the type of work they can get.

Criminal Penalties for Underage Driving and Driving in Dayton, OH

You face severe criminal punishments if you are convicted of underage OVI/DUI in Dayton, Ohio. The first offense is typically charged as a misdemeanor in the fourth degree. The potential DUI penalties for a fourth-degree misdemeanor include the following:

  • Up to 30 days in county jail
  • Maximum fines of $250
  • Driver’s license suspension for 90 days to two years
  • Required to complete an eight-hour remedial driving class
  • You must complete the written and driving exams for a driver’s license 
  • Optional alcohol and/or drug addiction 
  • Required to maintain SR-22 insurance and provide a copy of the SR-22 insurance bond to the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles

Subsequent offenses and aggravating factors could increase the charges for underage DUI in Ohio. The penalties also increase to higher fines and more jail or state prison time. If an underage driver has a BAC of .08 or more, they can face the same DUI penalties as an adult. 

Additional Criminal Charges Often Accompanied by an Underage Drink and Driving Offense 

The police officers may charge the underage driver with other offenses in a drinking and driving scenario. For example, if the minor refuses a chemical test, they can be cited for refusal. If so, the minor is subject to an administration license suspension (ALS) by the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles. 

A minor can also be charged with consumption of alcohol under the age of 21. By law, no person under 21 years old is to possess, order, or consume alcohol. 

A violation is usually a misdemeanor of the first degree. A conviction carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Because it is impossible to be guilty of driving and driving without consuming alcohol, this charge goes hand-in-hand with underage DUI charges in Ohio. 

What Should I Do if My Child Is Charged With Underage DUI in Dayton, OH?

Do not allow your child to speak to the police without a lawyer unless your lawyer tells you to do so. Your child might say something that could be used against them. You and your child should remain silent to avoid incriminating your child further. 

Contact an Ohio DUI lawyer immediately. A criminal defense lawyer can help you arrange for your child’s release from jail. Make sure that you and your child understand the charges against them and the potential penalties for a conviction. 

Consider any evidence that could prove your innocence. Look through videos and photos made with cell phones and tablets. Were there any eyewitnesses who can testify on your behalf? Give all the information to your lawyer.Your lawyer will discuss the legal options with you, including accepting a plea bargain and preparing for trial. The facts and circumstances of your case determine whether going to trial or negotiating a plea deal is in your best interest. In either case, having sound legal advice from an experienced Dayton DUI defense attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your legal rights after an arrest.

Contact the Dayton Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (937) 531-0435 or visit us at our Dayton law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402
United States