Surveys conducted by the American Addiction Centers show that most people feel okay to drive after having had just one drink. Even after one drink, however, you may have enough alcohol in your system to be at risk of operating a vehicle under the influence.

If you have been cited for a DUI/OWI in Ohio, you may be wondering if a DUI is a felony in the state. Most people think that first-time DUI charges are never felonies. However, if you kill or seriously injure another person while driving under the influence, you may face other felony charges. 

Why Does It Matter if a DUI Is a Felony in Ohio?

Depending on their severity, criminal charges are broadly classified into two categories: misdemeanor or felony. More severe crimes are punishable by more severe penalties.

A misdemeanor is any crime punishable by less than twelve months in jail. On the other hand, a felony is punishable by more than a year in prison or by death.

“More than a year” can mean anything from 366 days to life in prison. In Ohio, the sentencing guidelines for DUIs are different for first-time DUIs and felony DUI charges.

What Is the Penalty for a First Felony DUI Offense in Ohio?

For a first-time felony DUI offense in Ohio, the sentencing guidelines provide for a minimum of 60 days of incarceration. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was particularly high, or if they refused a breathalyzer test, the 60-day minimum doubles to a 120-day minimum.  

In addition to the minimum sentences, drivers convicted of a first-time DUI may face up to one year of local incarceration. Depending on the circumstances of the case and the driver’s criminal history, they may be sentenced to between one year and 30 months in prison.  

What Is the Penalty for a Second Felony DUI Offense in Ohio?

For second-offense felony DUI in Ohio, penalties are steeper. There have been conflicting interpretations of the language of the sentencing statute for second-offense DUIs. If you are facing a second-offense felony DUI, you should contact a reputable criminal defense attorney. 

When Is a DUI a Felony in Ohio?

There are some circumstances under which a DUI will constitute a felony in Ohio. If you are facing a felony DUI charge, you should engage the assistance of an experienced DUI defense attorney. An attorney may be able to have the results thrown out if the DUI blood tests or DUI breath tests were invalid.  

Subsequent Felony DUI Offenses

Once a driver is convicted of a felony DUI offense, whether it was their fourth in six years or sixth in twenty years, every DUI offense afterward is a felony offense. Here’s how a driver can end up with a felony DUI conviction in Ohio.

Four Offenses Within Six Years

A fourth DUI within six years is a felony in Ohio. For purposes of calculating the six years, the law uses the date of the previous conviction and the current arrest. 

For example, assume a driver was arrested for DUI in October 2012 and convicted in January 2013. The six-year time frame begins to run from January 2013. Assume the driver gets a second and third DUI in 2014 and 2015, respectively. 

Then, the driver has no problems until December 2018, when they are again arrested for DUI. Although it has been over six years since they were first arrested for DUI, their fourth arrest came within six years of their first conviction. Thus, it is a felony DUI. 

Six Offenses Within Twenty Years

A sixth DUI offense within twenty years is also a felony in Ohio. Like the 4-in-6 year period, the twenty years are counted from the date of the previous convictions and the current arrest. 

Experienced Ohio criminal defense attorneys can successfully challenge previous DUI convictions under certain circumstances. If the conviction is successfully challenged, it can be excluded from the count of prior convictions. 

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options if you have been charged with a felony DUI in Ohio. It is always in your best interest to have an attorney help you with your case. 

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

For more information, contact the DUI lawyers 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