You’ve had a late night with good friends and just finished some drinks. Maybe you had a few too many, but you think you’re okay to drive. You start up the car and pull out of the parking lot. Fifteen minutes down the road you see the dreaded blue and red lights in your rear-view mirror. You thought you were driving safely, but it doesn’t matter because the breathalyzer test came back at 0.08. So you’re being arrested for DUI. What happens next?
Drunk Driving Penalties in Ohio
First, it’s important to discuss what Ohio considers a DUI. In Ohio, drunk driving is no longer called arrested for DUI, it is an OVI, Operating a Vehicle while impaired. This covers alcohol and drugs. The illegal Blood Alcohol Content in Ohio is anything 0.08 percent or higher. Some may think only operating cars while intoxicated that will land them an OVI. However, this covers all vehicles, including bikes and boats.
What to Expect if You Get Pulled Over
Should you get pulled over on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, expect a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer. In Ohio, you must consent to these tests. Just bear in mind that should you refuse, you risk arrest, fines, and/or a revoked license.
Should you consent and fail these tests, you will find yourself under arrest. Everything that happens from this point can vary on a case-by-case basis. Most first-time offenders will have their license suspended for a minimum of 90 days. All individuals arrested will face a minimum of 72 hours in jail.
Some people may get probation rather than jail time. In this case, you would be required to check in with a probation officer and adhere to any court mandates. This is all at your judge’s discretion. You will be fined anywhere between $250-$1,000. The court decides upon your hearing what your penalties will be.
Keep in mind that everything is subject to circumstances. For instance, your consequences could be more severe if your BAC is significantly higher than .08%. If you are under the age of 21 and get pulled over for drunk driving, your consequences will be much more severe than if you are over 21. Second and third-time offenders also have increased penalties.
Court Mandated Consequences
After you serve jail time, the court may mandate other actions, including but not limited to:
Some courts will require you to attend DUI classes. The course materials reinforce the importance of driving sober. The cost of these classes comes out of your pocket. Often, attending these classes is a stipulation before getting your license back.
One OVI on your driving record looks bad. Can you imagine multiple? They will follow you for the rest of your life. Even if no one got hurt, the courts want to ensure this doesn’t happen again. So, the court may require you to take an evaluation to ensure that you are not alcohol dependent.
Penalties Won’t Stop in the Courtroom
Drivers with an OVI on their record take a big hit in their pocketbook. Not only will you accrue court fees, but you’ll also see higher rates on your car insurance. Some insurance companies might see you as such a significant liability that they won’t insure you at all.
Drinking and driving is a huge risk, not only to your own life but also to the lives of others. If you’re worried about whether or not it’s safe for you to drive, odds are, it’s not. Be sure to ask someone to be your Designated Driver. If you can’t find someone to take you home, call a cab. A cab fee is far less than the fines you’ll pay with an OVI. If you’ve already seen the blue and red lights in your rear-view mirror, contact the attorneys at Rapier & Bowling and see how they can help you.