July 16, 2021 | DUI
You may plead guilty or not guilty if you are charged with a first-time DUI offense in Cincinnati. You may also choose to represent yourself or hire a DUI defense lawyer. You should strongly consider consulting a DUI attorney before deciding to represent yourself in a criminal matter.
The judge may not go lightly, even if this is your first drunk driving charge. Having no criminal record may help your case, but it will not give you an automatic pass on your DUI charge.
Prosecutors and judges in Ohio take DUI charges very seriously. They do not view a first offense as a “minor” criminal charge. Therefore, it is important that you understand the penalties you could face if you are convicted of a first offense DUI charge in Ohio.
Potential Penalties for a Conviction of a First-Time DUI Offense
If you plead to or are found guilty of a DUI, you could face one or more of the following DUI penalties:
- A fine between $375 to $1,075
- A minimum of three consecutive days in jail or a three-day driver intervention program
- A suspension of your driver’s license by the court for six months to three years
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
- Mandatory use of the orange and yellow license plates
- Administrative License Suspension for one year if you refused to take a BAC test (i.e., blood, breath, or urine) or a 90 day-license suspension for a prohibited Blood Alcohol Content
- Up to five years of probation
- An additional three days in jail and restricted license plates for a BAC of .170 or higher
The judge considers the relevant factors of your case when imposing sentencing. Thus, even if you enter a plea deal with a prosecutor, the judge has the final say in your sentence.
Mandatory Jail Time or Driver Intervention Program
A first-time DUI conviction has mandatory minimum penalties. One of the mandatory minimum penalties is three days in jail or three days at a driver intervention program.
Before you choose the driver intervention program, make sure you are aware of the requirements. First, the program is 72 consecutive hours. Therefore, you must stay at the hotel where the program is offered for the entire 72 hours.
You cannot leave the property during the program, but it is likely better than serving three days in jail. You are also responsible for the costs of the program and the hotel costs.
The minimum fine for a first offense DUI is $375. However, the judge could order you to pay up to $1,075. In many cases, judges impose at least a $500 fine for first-time DUI offenders.
Some jurisdictions impose higher fines, while other jurisdictions might impose longer jail terms or longer driver’s license suspensions. A criminal attorney that practices within a specific jurisdiction can usually tell you what the average sentence is for a DUI case similar to your case.
Defenses to Driving Under the Influence
Do not assume that you must plead guilty to a DUI charge; potential defenses include:
- The police officer did not have reasonable cause for the traffic stop
- The BAC test was administered improperly, or the machine was not calibrated correctly
- The field sobriety tests were not given correctly
- You have a health condition that gave a false reading for a BAC test
- You have a health condition that impaired your ability to perform the field sobriety tests
- Your civil rights were violated
Some of the above defenses could result in evidence being inadmissible in court. If the prosecutor cannot use the evidence against you, the court may dismiss the charges or acquit you.
What Should I Do if I am Arrested for a First Time DUI in Cincinnati?
Try not to panic. An arrest is not a guilty verdict. The first thing you want to do is protect your legal rights.
Two ways to protect your legal rights are to exercise your right to remain silent and your right to legal counsel.
Talking to the police or the prosecutor rarely works in your favor. The more you talk, the more information you give the police that could be used against you in court.
Seeking legal counsel is always in your best interest. Learning about your legal rights and options helps you decide what course of action is in your best interest.
Contact the Cincinnati DUI Lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
For more information, contact the DUI lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (513) 333-0014 or visit us at our Cincinnati Law Office.
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202