What are the consequences of repeat DUI/OVI offenses in Ohio?
Columbus drunk driving attorneys explain what happens after DUI number one.
Nearly one-third of all DUI arrests and DUI convictions in the country involve repeat drunk driving offenders.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study also found that compared to a first-time DUI, people with a prior DUI conviction had a 4.1 times greater risk of being involved in a fatal auto accident. Still, another study found that the odds of being involved in a fatal accident increased with each additional OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) arrest.
All of these statistics add up to harsher penalties for repeat offenders. What does that mean for you if you face multiple OVI offenses in the Buckeye state? Keep reading to find out. And remember, it’s important to contact a Columbus DUI lawyer to learn about all of the possible consequences.
The Ohio OVI basics
Ohio OVI laws dictate that you can be taken into custody if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. If you’re under the age of 21, a BAC of .02 percent will automatically result in OVI charges. The limits on commercial drivers are even more rigid, with a BAC limit of just of .04 percent and up.
But what if this isn’t your first go-around?
Repeat Ohio OVI/DUI fines and jail time
- Second OVI offense: If you’re charged with a second DUI offense in Ohio within six years, you face a minimum ten-day jail sentence and fines and penalties ranging from $525 to $1,625. Your driver’s license could be suspended up to five years, with a $475 reinstatement fee, in addition to a vehicle immobilization period of 90 days. You’ll also be required to attend some form of treatment.
- Third OVI offense: A third DUI offense within six years in Ohio carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days. Fines and penalties range from $850 to $2,750, and your license suspension can last from two to ten years. You must attend an alcohol/drug addiction treatment program and forfeit your vehicle to the state. You’ll even have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) to get your driver’s license back. An IID is like a Breathalyzer connected to your vehicle dashboard that you must breathe into before starting your car.
- Fourth OVI offense: A fourth strike is a felony offense carrying a possible jail sentence from 60 days to one year, and a fine between $1,350-$10,500. The license suspension period can range from three years to life and your vehicle will become the property of the state (with you paying to transfer the vehicle’s title.) You’ll also be required to complete a mandatory drug/alcohol treatment program and your vehicle will be forfeited.
- Fifth OVI offense: Racking up five or more OVIs in 20 years automatically puts you on the Habitual OVI Registry. Being on this list allows the public to see your name, date of birth, home address and your OVI convictions. Your information remains on this list until you no longer have five convictions for OVI within the past two decades. A fifth conviction in six years is a felony with a two-month minimum jail sentence. It could also lead to a prison term of 60 days with the possibility of an additional six to 30 months.
The consequences—more than a criminal record
Fines and jail time might be relatively straight forward, but what about the consequences you can’t put a number on? While an OVI conviction may not directly affect your credit score, there’s a laundry list of unquantifiable effects of drinking and driving.
Between taking time off of work to head to court and coughing up the money for upfront fines, towing, increased insurance premiums, driver’s license reinstatement, court fees and bail money, you could face a hefty financial burden. This could mean getting behind on existing bills and inadvertently risking your credit rating. Depending on your employment, especially in the medical field, you could even be at risk of losing your job and your home.
Count on a Columbus DUI lawyer to defend you against a second or third DUI charge
Click here to learn about Stephen Palmer’s 19 years as a Columbus DUI attorney.