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DUI Defense

Will I go to jail for my first DUI in Ohio?

By March 13, 2024April 8th, 2024No Comments

OSHP data shows that between 2019 and 2021, there were 39,951 crashes related to OVI on Ohio’s roadways. 

Although the numbers have shown a decline in recent years, Ohio remains steadfast in its approach to combating drunk driving. That’s why a conviction for OVI, or operating a vehicle under the influence, can result in some serious legal penalties.

At Hiltner Trial Lawyers, a common concern voiced by individuals charged with their first OVI offense is whether they will be sentenced to jail time.

While getting jail time for a first-time OVI offense is possible, it’s less likely to happen if you have an experienced DUI/OVI defense attorney by your side, such as Max Hiltner and Andrew Stein. Continue reading to learn more about the potential consequences of an OVI charge in Ohio and discover the best strategies to safeguard yourself.

Ohio DUI/OVI Laws

In Ohio, there are several key regulations governing driving under the influence or public intoxication law.

It is illegal to operate a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08%. Additionally, the state allows for publicized sobriety checkpoints to deter and catch impaired drivers effectively. 

Moreover, Ohio mandates the use of ignition interlocks for convicted repeat offenders, ensuring an additional safety measure for preventing intoxicated individuals from operating a vehicle. These regulations work in tandem to uphold road safety and deter drunk driving incidents within the state.

Additionally, the enactment of Annie’s Law in 2017 brought about modifications to OVI laws in Ohio, resulting in stricter sentencing requirements.

Consequences for a First-Offense OVI in Ohio

The legal ramifications of an OVI conviction in Ohio vary based on several factors, such as the number of prior offenses on record and the degree of intoxication.

If you’re convicted of driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) level above .08%, you could be facing any of the following in accordance with Ohio’s law:

  • Maximum of 6 months in jail
  • Minimum of 3 days in jail or 3-day Drivers Intervention Program
  • Maximum of 5 years of probation
  • Fine between $375-$1,075 
  • License suspension (1-3 years)

In addition, if your BAC is above .17%, you could face double the minimum jail time (6 days).

Consequences for Second and Third DUI/OVI Offenses in Ohio

The repercussions escalate accordingly as the number of DUI/OVI convictions on your record accumulates. 

With each subsequent offense, the severity of penalties and legal consequences tends to intensify, reflecting a more stringent approach to addressing repeat instances of impaired driving.

A second-offense OVI carries the following potential penalties:

  • Maximum of 6 months in jail
  • A minimum of 10 days in jail or 5 days in jail and 18 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring 
  • Maximum of 5 years of probation
  • Fine between $525 and $1,625 
  • Suspended license (1-7 years)
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment
  • “Party Plates” if the offense is alcohol-related

And a third-offense OVI in Ohio could mean even higher penalties for anyone charged with the offense:

  • Maximum of 1 year in jail
  • Minimum of 30 days in jail or 15 days in jail and 55 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring 
  • Maximum of 5 years of probation
  • Fine between $850-$2,750
  • Suspended license (2-10 years)
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment

A fourth offense or subsequent OVI conviction is deemed a felony under Ohio law, carrying significantly more severe consequences. 

In such cases, individuals could face imprisonment for a maximum of 30 months, marking a substantial penalty escalation compared to previous offenses. 

This heightened punishment underscores the state’s stringent stance against repeated instances of impaired driving, emphasizing the need for stringent measures to safeguard public safety on the state’s roads.

OVI Defense in Ohio

Theoretically, if you’re pulled over for drunk driving in Ohio for the first time ever, and you’re really intoxicated, you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail. However, this outcome is unlikely if you have an experienced OVI defense attorney on your team, such as the Hiltner Trial Lawyers.

In many cases, police officers administering sobriety may improperly conduct sobriety tests, leading to incorrectly identifying people as intoxicated. Other times, Ohio law enforcement officers make arrests based solely on suspicion, bypassing the administration of a sobriety test.

Your reliable criminal defense attorneys in Ohio can leverage various forms of evidence, such as the following, to establish our client’s sobriety: 

  • Accident footage
  • Records highlighting improper test administration, or
  • A clean driving record

Sometimes, the mere prospect and threat of going to trial can be enough to get the charges dropped in court.

In other cases, when a client’s intoxication while driving is undeniable, the law provides many opportunities to get the charges or sentencing period reduced. With a fierce advocate like Hiltner Trial Lawyers, facing jail time for a first offense in OVI shouldn’t be too overwhelming and stressful.

Contact an OVI Defense Attorney in Ohio

If you’ve been pulled over for an OVI, the most important thing you can do to protect your future is to contact an experienced OVI defense attorney as soon as possible. 

Hiltner Trial Lawyers will answer your questions and clarifications, and you can gain valuable insight into your legal options to start building a strong defense strategy tailored to your case. 

We understand the gravity of your circumstances and are fully committed to standing by your side every step of the way. We don’t just handle cases; we live them with you. Our dedicated team will work tirelessly to tell your story with honesty and conviction, compellingly advocating for your rights and interests. 

With proven results throughout the years, rest assured we will exhaust every avenue to ensure you can return home to your family. Your well-being is our top priority, and we are here to provide the support and guidance you need during this challenging time.

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