Many people like to have alcoholic drinks on the airplane. It helps calm the nerves and pass the time on a flight. However, you should never drive after drinking heavily on a plane. 

You can be charged for driving under the influence at the airport. A DUI on airport property could result in state or federal charges. It depends on whether the state, a municipality or the federal government owns the airport.

Ohio DUI Laws vs. Federal DUI Laws for Airport DUIs

Driving under the influence in Ohio is technically an OVI (operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs). Ohio Revised Code §4511.19 makes it illegal to operate a vehicle:

  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs if your driving abilities are impaired
  • With a BAC of .08% or higher
  • With certain levels of controlled substances in your system
  • With a BAC of .02% or higher, if you are under the age of 21 years

U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 36 CFR §4.23 is the federal DUI statute. It is illegal for someone to operate or be in physical control of a vehicle if their BAC is .08% or higher. 

The federal statute also makes it illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs if the substance prevents the driver from operating the vehicle safely. The federal code defers to state law if the state has more restrictive limits on BAC levels for DUI. 

Therefore, the airport police or any law enforcement officer with jurisdiction can arrest you for DUI after drinking on a flight if you violate the applicable laws. 

What Is the Punishment for a DUI at an Ohio Airport?

A DUI is a Class B misdemeanor if you are charged under federal law. The penalty is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. You also receive up to five years of supervised federal probation. 

The federal judge is aware of the state penalties for a DUI conviction. Therefore, the judge could defer to state law if the penalty for a drunk driving conviction is harsher than under federal DUI laws. 

Criminal penalties for an Ohio DUI conviction first offense is jail time of three days to six months and up to $1,075 in fines. Subsequent offenses within 10 years increase the penalty. 

In addition to jail time, fines, and DUI probation, being convicted of DUI after drinking on a flight could result in driver’s license suspension, a treatment program, and community service. The exact penalty depends on the facts of the case.

What Can Happen to Me if I Am Drunk on an Airplane?

It is not illegal to be drunk on an airplane. However, what you do while intoxicated could be a federal crime.

You violate federal law if you do any of the following while on an airplane:

  • Interfering with a crew member or flight attendant while they are performing their job duties
  • Assault or intimidate a flight crew member or flight attendant 
  • Considerably lessen a crew member’s or flight attendant’s ability to perform their job duties

The behaviors that qualify as interfering or intimidating are broad. For example, failing to follow instructions or refusing to sit down when asked could be considered interfering with a crew member or flight attendant. 

Shouting, yelling, or blocking the path of a flight attendant could be considered intimidating a crew member. Threatening or assaulting a crew member includes any physical contact made in a threatening manner or with the intent of causing harm.

Federal jurisdiction applies the moment all external doors are closed after passengers board. It continues until an external door is opened to allow passengers to disembark or until competent authorities assume control if the plane is forced to land.

The penalties depend on the charges and the facts of the case. You could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. However, the fines for most offenses range from $25,000 to $35,000.

What Should I Do if I am Charged with DUI After Drinking on a Flight in Ohio?

A DUI charge is serious. The penalties you face impact your freedom and finances. However, the collateral consequences could include losing professional licenses, being ineligible for some government aid, and higher insurance premiums. In addition, having a criminal record could make it more difficult to find a job.

A criminal defense lawyer investigates the circumstances of your DUI arrest. If the airport police or other law enforcement officer did not have probable cause, the DUI charge might not be lawful. Your attorney might raise other defenses, including challenging chemical testing, field sobriety tests, blood tests, and breath tests.

The most important thing to remember is that legal representation gives you the best chance of beating DUI charges in Cincinnati. If you are arrested for an airport DUI, contact a Cincinnati DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Contact the Cincinnati DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the DUI attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (513) 333-0014 or visit us at our Cincinnati law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States