Getting a DUI in Ohio, like anywhere else, is a serious crime that will result in at least minor penalties for the offender. A first offense may only be a misdemeanor, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have severe consequences, some of which have lasting effects. Repeat offenders and anyone else who commits a DUI with aggravating factors (such as severe property damage or injury) can face felony charges and lengthy jail terms.
Here’s an overview of some of the basic information you need to know, courtesy of a DUI lawyer in Cincinnati, OH.
In most states, you’ll hear the crime of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol referred to as a DUI or DWI. Even here in Ohio, you’ll hear those terms commonly used, even though the correct terminology for the state is actually “operating a vehicle while under the influence,” or “OVI.” The terms DUI and DWI are often used interchangeably with OVI, so if you see these terms thrown around, you’ll find they often refer to the same thing. OVI, though, specifically refers to drunk drivers, and is not as likely to be used when a driver is under the influence of, say, prescription drugs.
Blood alcohol content rules
In all states (with the exception of Utah, which recently lowered its limit to .05 percent), the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers is .08 percent. This means if you are pulled over and are found to have a BAC of .08 or above, you can be arrested for committing an OVI.
However, there are different standards for drivers under the age of 21, as well as for commercial drivers. Drivers under the age of 21 cannot have a BAC of .02 or higher, and commercial drivers cannot have a BAC of .04 or higher.
Police will often use breathalyzer tests to determine the BAC of a driver after pulling them over. The driver blows into the device, which then measures the BAC based on the alcohol content in the driver’s breath. Ohio has implied consent laws as well, meaning that if you obtain a driver’s license you automatically consent to BAC testing if an officer pulls you over on suspicion of OVI. Refusal to take the test will result in license suspension.
So what types of penalties do you face if convicted of OVI in Ohio?
The penalties and their severity depend on a variety of factors, including the presence of significant property damage, serious injuries or deaths, the existence of any prior offenses and the BAC level at which you tested.
First offenders can face jail time of three days to six months, or special DUI classes. There are also possible fines of up to $1,000 and license suspension of six months to three years. All penalties increase with the presence of more aggravating factors.
For more information about OVI in Ohio and the potential penalties you face if convicted, contact a trusted DUI lawyer in Cincinnati, OH with Herzner Law, LLC.
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