Although only 10% of licensed drivers are under the age of 21, underage drivers are responsible for about 17% of fatal drinking and driving accidents. This is because underage drivers tend to be more reckless and are less likely to wear a seatbelt.
Ohio has zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. Drivers under the age of 21 will be arrested if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.02%. The BAC limit for drivers over the age of 21 is 0.08%.
An underage driver who has a BAC over 0.02% but less than 0.08% will typically be arrested for operating a vehicle after under age consumption (OVUAC). An OVUAC charge filed in juvenile court is different from an OVUAC charge filed in adult court.
An individual convicted of OVUAC in adult court will face a license suspension of between three months (90 days) and two years. Other mandatory consequences of an OVUAC charge include retesting for your license (written and driving exams) and required completion of an eight-hour remedial driving class. Additional penalties may include a possible jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $250. A second OVUAC offense is considered a third degree misdemeanor and leads to a license suspension of one to five years. Other potential consequences include a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500.
An individual convicted of OVUAC in juvenile court may face a license suspension of up to two years, a fine, required participation in an alcohol treatment program, and probation. In addition to an OVUAC charge, there is often an OVI/DUI “impaired” charge, which is based on impaired driving ability. The OVI/DUI “impaired” charge is based on impaired driving ability rather than the result of a chemical alcohol test.
An oft-overlooked effect of having an OVUAC charge on your record is being required to disclose the conviction on job applications, college applications, and requests for financial aid. Failing to report the conviction could lead to a loss of financial aid, perjury charges, and other consequences if it is discovered. Increased car insurance rates are an additional consequence of OVUAC. OVUAC convictions stay on your record permanently and cannot be sealed or expunged.
Every day in Ohio, many young people are charged with OVUAC, which is a serious criminal offense. Being charged with OVUAC can be a frightening experience. A conviction could result in severe penalties that put your future at stake. It is much better to have an OVUAC charge reduced to a lesser offense, such as a reckless driving charge, if possible.
Contact Maher Law Firm today to discuss your case with an Ohio underage drinking attorney. Our knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate underage DUI attorneys in Columbus, Ohio can help you fight for your rights and receive the justice you deserve.