Penalties for Underage DUI in Ohio
Drinking and driving carries with it penalties for those of legal drinking age, such as revocation of your driver’s license, fines, and jail time. The punishments for drinking underage while operating a vehicle in Ohio are even more severe. Not only do you face a license suspension and fines, but you will likely have to retest for your driver’s license. Those under 18 caught drinking and driving face time in a juvenile detention facility. Juvenile detention is no laughing matter, which is why finding the right attorney is vital. Hiring an Underage DUI attorney in Columbus, Ohio with experience is key because an OVUAC is a very serious offense.
OVUAC means Operating a Vehicle after Under Age Consumption. In Ohio, as in the rest of the United States, the legal drinking age is 21. If you 20 or younger and operating a vehicle in Ohio, please read this carefully.
The statistics are shocking. The number of licensed drivers under the age of 21 only comprises 10% of all drivers on the road, but accounts for 17% of all fatal drinking and driving accidents. Many factors such as a failure to wear safely belts and general reckless driving contribute to these numbers. Ohio has zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. You may be arrested if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is equal to or above 0.02%. Unlike drivers over 21 who are held to a BAC limit of 0.08%, the state has strict guidelines for those under 21 who are caught operating a vehicle while under the influence. Finding the right underage DUI/OVI attorney in Columbus, Ohio to explain the particulars of Ohio’s policies should help you in this situation.
According to a 2014 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study of trauma center data, 28.8% of 18-20 year olds who were involved in a vehicular accident reported a measureable BAC. Compare this to a similar sample size group (those over 65) and you will find that persons between the ages of 18-20 are twice as likely to test positive for alcohol in their blood after an auto accident. In fact, of those testing positive for alcohol in their blood, half of the 18-20 year olds had twice Ohio’s legal limit for those 21 and over (0.08% BAC). If arrested with that amount of alcohol in their system, those between the ages of 18 and 20 would face serious penalties.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 20, the immediate penalties for underage drinking and driving include fines, suspension of your license, and possible jail time of up to 30 days. If it is your first offense, the court can fine you up to $250 and suspend your license for up to 2 years. If your BAC is at or above .08, you may be charged with OVI rather than OVUAC making the potential penalties up to 6 months in jail and a $1075 fine.
As mentioned before, you may be forced to take a driving test to seek reinstatement of your driver’s license. Additionally, you will accrue points on your license that can accumulate over time with additional charges and result in the loss of your driver’s license. You accrue points on your license for moving violations such as: speeding, drag racing, DUI, willingly fleeing or evading a law enforcement officer, and willful or blatant disregard of the safety of persons or property to name a few. When you reach the point limit on your license of 12 points within 2 years, your Ohio driver’s license will be suspended.
In addition to fines and license suspension, drivers younger than 18 caught drinking and driving face time in a juvenile detention facility. In Franklin County, the juvenile detention center is designed to hold up to 132 juveniles who are delinquent or adjudicated delinquent. Some who are not detained must still be monitored using an electronic monitoring device, to ensure compliance with the court order. Spending time in the juvenile facility can have an impact on your future, which is why finding the right Central Ohio underage OVI attorney is important.
The lifelong consequences of an OVUAC charge are more permanent than a fine or jail time. If you are convicted of an OVUAC charge as a minor, it is still considered a serious offense and will have a lasting effect on your future. You will be asked to disclose the charges on your job applications, and it may disqualify you from certain professions such as teaching. This is why finding the right underage DUI attorney in Ohio is so essential. Working with an attorney to either reduce the charges or have the charges dismissed all together is the best way to protect your future.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you need the help of an attorney, it is better to find one who has experience with the laws surrounding underage DUI charges. Hiring an underage DUI attorney in Columbus Ohio will help you navigate this process. Not only will you have an advocate on your side, you will have an attorney who has experience handling cases much like yours.
If you are facing an OVUAC charge for an underage DUI, don’t hesitate to contact The Maher Law Firm today for a free consultation. We can evaluate your case and help protect your rights. We represent clients facing underage DUI charges in Columbus and throughout Central Ohio. Don’t hesitate to call us at 614-205-2208.