DUI/OVI convictions in Ohio can result in severe penalties. A first offense could result in a minimum of 72 consecutive hours in jail, a minimum fine of $375 plus court costs, and a license suspension of at least six months. Under Ohio law, the state may choose to enhance DUI penalties. These enhanced penalties are known as sentence enhancements, and they are used to add additional punishment in DUI cases.
Sentence enhancements for OVI are statutes that provide for increased penalties if certain aggravating factors exist. While the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08% in Ohio, an extremely high BAC level can lead to a longer jail term and higher fines. The enhanced penalty BAC limit in Ohio is 0.17%.
A refusal to submit to chemical testing can also lead to an increased sentence. According to Ohio’s implied consent law, if an officer lawfully arrests you and has probable cause to believe that you have been operating a vehicle under the influence, then you automatically consent to taking a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your BAC level. For a first offense, the refusal to take a test could lead to an administrative license suspension of one year. For the second offense, the refusal to take a test could lead to a license suspension period of two years. For the third offense, the refusal to take a test could lead to a license suspension period of three years. After you are arrested, you cannot refuse a test without possibly facing the consequences of that refusal.
The penalties increase in severity with each DUI conviction you receive. For example, a second DUI conviction in a six year period will result in a minimum fine of $525, up from a $375 minimum fine for a first offense. If you are convicted of a DUI/OVI for a third time in six years, there is a minimum fine of $850. If you receive a DUI conviction for the fourth time in six years or a sixth DUI conviction in 20 years, the offense will be considered a felony. The sentences associated with multiple DUI/OVI convictions are even worse if you had a high BAC limit or refused the blood test.
Speeding and/or reckless driving can also affect the penalties you face after a DUI conviction in Ohio. If you were driving more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit while under the influence, you may face harsher penalties.
If your DUI/OVI results in an accident that injures or kills someone, you will face both DUI charges and charges resulting from the injury of the other individual. Since you were driving under the influence, your offense could be elevated from a vehicular homicide or assault charge to an aggravated homicide or assault. Causing serious property damage because of a DUI/OVI could also lead to harsher penalties.
If you drive under the influence with a child (someone under the age of 18) in the car, you could be charged with both child endangerment and DUI. The penalties for a child endangerment conviction vary depending on the severity of the circumstances in the case.
If you have been charged with a DUI/OVI and are facing Ohio OVI penalties, get in touch with a driving under the influence lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. A skilled attorney with vast experience in DUI cases can evaluate all of the evidence and ensure that your legal rights are protected. The Maher Law Firm is a leading criminal defense law firm that focuses on DUI cases. Call 614.205.2208 or contact us online for a free consultation with an Ohio DUI lawyer.