Intoxicated driving is one of the most common criminal charges in Ohio.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that 19,008 people were arrested on OVI charges in the state in 2018 alone.
No matter the specific circumstances, an OVI charge is always a serious matter. Even a first-time OVI conviction could result in a defendant facing severe penalties.
Here, our Dayton defense lawyers give an overview of the Ohio OVI laws. We will also explain what to expect if you are facing a first-time intoxicated driving offense.
OVI Ohio First Offense: What Am I Facing?
Under Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19), it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Ohio has graduated penalties for OVI offenses. This means a defendant will face worse penalties with each intoxicated driving offense.
Still, a first-time OVI is not a minor issue. Among other things, the penalties for a DUI in Ohio first offense may include:
- Up to $1,075 in fines and fees;
- Other financial penalties and increased insurance costs;
- At least three days in jail or a three-day Driver Intervention Program;
- Up to six months in prison; and
- A license suspension of up to three years.
Administrative Penalties: Your License Will Be Automatically Suspended — Unless You Act
If you get charged with a drunk driving offense in Ohio, your license will be suspended before you get a hearing on your case.
You can take action to stop this. Contact an experienced OVI Ohio defense lawyer after your drunk driving arrest. You have 30 days to request a hearing to argue the automatic suspension.
You May Face Additional Penalties if Other ‘Aggravating Factors’ are Present
A history OVI offenses is not the only factor that impacts the criminal penalties in these cases. A defendant could be charged with a more severe OVI offense if:
- They were highly intoxicated — a BAC level above .17;
- The accident occurred resulted in significant property damage or an injury;
- There was a minor present within the vehicle; or
- Other traffic offenses, such as reckless driving, were committed at the same time.
Speak to a DUI Defense Attorney in Dayton, Ohio
At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our Ohio drunk driving defense lawyers have more than 50 years of experience protecting the rights of our clients.
If you or a family member was arrested for a first-time OVI offense, we can help. To arrange a free, no obligation analysis of your case, please contact our law firm right away.
With offices in Dayton and Springboro, we serve clients throughout the region, including in Montgomery County, Warren County, and Butler County.