Is DUI a Serious Criminal Offense?
This is what we consider a quasi criminal offense because it is also a traffic offense. It is quite serious and the penalties get more severe the more you rack up.
You will face serious penalties if you get convicted of or plead guilty to driving under the influence in Ohio.
The others are allegedly causing a hit-and-run collision and allegedly killing or causing serious injury to someone by causing a crash. Reckless operation also brings a possibility of jail time, and the accused driver must appear in court to get sentenced. But the case is primarily handled much more like a traffic violation than a crime.
Police and prosecutors in this state call driving under the influence “operating a vehicle while intoxicated,” or OVI. The relevant statutes cover driving drunk and driving after using controlled substances. Drugs and prescription medications that people who get taken into custody under suspicion of DUI/OVI include amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Medications for ADHD can show up as amphetamines, while powerful prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin metabolize into chemicals that are practically indistinguishable from heroin.
When evidence of alcohol or drug use exists, expect an arrest, a preliminary court hearing called an arraignment, and a later pretrial, motion hearing, and a jury trial if no plea bargain is entered. During the arraignment, a judge reads the official charge and asks for a plea. Pleading not guilty or saying nothing allows the defendant to try to prove his or her innocence at a motion hearing and/or trial. Another option is to partner with a Columbus, Ohio, DUI attorney to work out a plea deal to a lesser offense with a less severe punishment.
A sentence for a first-time DUI/OVI offense can include all of the following:
- Up to 6 months in city or county jail
- A fine of as much as $1,075 plus court fees
- A driver’s license suspension that lasts from 1 to 3 years
- 6 points on the driving record kept by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Mandatory use of specially designed offender license plates (depending on the facts of the case and your prior record for similar offenses)
- Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, which is sometimes called a car breathalyzer (depending on the facts of the case and your prior record for similar offenses)
In Ohio, a license suspension imposed for driving under the influence places tight restrictions on a person’s ability to drive his or her own car. The suspension also suspends and potentially disqualifies the person’s commercial driver’s license, making it illegal for that person to drive a truck or bus for a living.
In addition to the DUI/OVI fine, the person who gets sentenced must also pay the costs for fulfilling any of the terms. This means, for instance, that the person must bear the cost of having an ignition interlock device installed, checked every week or month, calibrated, and, when necessary, repaired or replaced. There will also be high fees for getting a driver’s license reinstated, purchasing offender plates, and keeping car insurance.
If you have been charged with an OVI or DUI, you may have a legal ally at The Maher Law Firm. Our Columbus, Ohio-based DUI defense attorney has taken hundreds of cases all across Franklin County and the surrounding area. We always offer free phone consultations to potential clients, and we take most cases for a flat fee instead of charging by the hour.
To speak with a Franklin County DUI lawyer, fill out this online contact form or call us at (614) 205-2208.