What are the penalties for a DUI in Ohio?

Very few charges have as many misconceptions about them as DUIs do. The range of possible penalties is huge and this means judges use a lot of discretion about what penalty they impose. Unlike almost all other misdemeanors in Ohio a judge’s hands are ties upon conviction for DUI, called an OVI in Ohio.

If an accused person pleads guilty to a second DUI in Ohio a judge must impose the following penalties:

3 days in jail or a certified 3-day Drivers Intervention Program

A 1-year driver’s license suspension

A $375 file plus court costs

These are the minimum possible penalties, so with an accident or other “aggravating facts” a Judge may impose more penalties. The most common additional penalty is probation. This can involve regular (often monthly) meetings with a probation officer. An “AOD” (alcohol or drug assessment) is another common penalty imposed. Yellow license plates and stringent driving privileges are also typical penalties.

The real danger is that some judges think these penalties are not enough and may go above the minimum jail-time. This is not common in some counties but it pays to know the lay of the land. 180 days in jail are possible as is a 3-year license suspension and a $1,075 fine for a first offense.

Most judges do not use additional jail-time or believe fines above the minimum are appropriate but DUI / OVI defense is a specialty even within the practice of criminal law. Make sure you feel confident your attorney knows DUI / OVI law before choosing your representation.