June 20, 2022 | DUI
The primary Ohio DUI law is found in Ohio Revised Code §4511.19. The law states that you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is over the legal limit or the alcohol in your system impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Impairment is the inability to drive a vehicle with the same level of care as a reasonably prudent sober person.
Most DUIs in Ohio are misdemeanor offenses. However, that does not mean the charges are minor or should not be taken seriously. DUI penalties in Ohio can be severe, even when you are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge.
Penalties for First-Time DUI Charges in Cincinnati
A first-time DUI offense might not seem too serious. If you have a clean criminal record, you might assume that the penalties for a misdemeanor DUI conviction are nothing to worry about. However, the legislature set penalties for a DUI conviction that are severe enough to discourage most people from driving under the influence again.
The penalties for a first-time misdemeanor drunk driving conviction are significant. Without any aggravating circumstances for a first DUI conviction are:
- Administrative License Suspension (ALS) of 90 days
- Minimum of three days in jail or a driver intervention program for three days
- A fine between $375 and $1,075
- Court-ordered driver’s license suspension of six months to three years
- Up to five years of DUI probation
In addition to the above, you could face an ALS for one year if you refuse a chemical test for BAC levels. Also, if your BAC was .170 or higher, the court includes an additional three days in jail and mandatory restricted license plates.
The above sentences are minimum sentences. Factors and circumstances related to your DUI arrest and charges can increase the sentence. In addition to criminal penalties, you’ll also have a criminal record.
Penalties for Second-Time DUI Charges in Cincinnati
The penalties increase for a second DUI conviction. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties you can face for a second-time DUI conviction include:
- Minimum of ten days in jail (up to a maximum of six months)
- A fine up to $1,625
- Mandatory addiction assessment and treatment program
- Possible house arrest with electronic and alcohol monitoring
- Suspension of your driving privileges for a minimum of one year (up to a maximum of seven years)
The above penalties increase if there are aggravating factors present. For example, your past criminal record, refusing to take a chemical test, and your BAC level could result in stricter penalties.
Felony DUI Charges in Ohio
There are three ways that a DUI offense can increase from a misdemeanor to a felony DUI charge:
- You have three prior DUI offenses within six years on your criminal record – the fourth DUI offense is a felony charge
- You have five DUI offenses on your criminal record within 20 years – the sixth DUI is a felony charge
- You have a prior felony DUI conviction on your record – all future DUI charges are felonies
The lookback period for DUI cases is from the date of the prior DUI conviction to the current DUI arrest.
The penalties for a felony DUI conviction include a minimum of 60 days in jail. However, the judge could order you to serve up to one year in county jail or 30 months in prison.
If you had a high BAC level or refused a test, the minimum incarceration doubles to 120 days. A second DUI felony conviction results in 60 days to 36 months (however, one statute provides for a maximum of five years in prison for a second DUI conviction).
The judge may order fines and other penalties for the DUI conviction as well.
How to Fight DUI Charges in Cincinnati, Ohio
A lawyer can help you fight DUI charges. There are several DUI defenses an attorney might use, including:
- Challenging the chemical test results for BAC levels based on a variety of mistakes and errors
- Alleging you have a health condition that could cause high BAC levels
- Lack of reasonable suspicion for a DUI traffic stop
- Lack of probable cause for a DUI arrest
- Environmental and physical reasons for poor performance on field sobriety tests
- Mouth alcohol to explain the high BAC level on DUI breath test
- The alcohol in your system did not impair your driving abilities
- Illegal DUI sobriety checkpoint
- Police misconduct in a DUI case
The facts and circumstances of your case determine the DUI defense strategy. A DUI attorney can investigate your traffic stop and DUI arrest. They can also search for evidence that proves you are not guilty of the DUI charges.
Contact the Cincinnati DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202