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First DUI in Ohio

A first DUI in Ohio is one of the most frequently occurring criminal offenses. Your first OVI / DUI is a serious criminal offense that can potentially carry life altering penalties and consequences if convicted. You may have to serve jail time, pay expensive fines and fees and also lose your driver’s license.

An OVI charge in Ohio is also known as operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An OVI can be defined according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 4511.19) as anyone who operates a motor vehicle while they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit of .08 %.

If you are facing your first OVI / DUI charge, during the time of the stop you were likely required to participate in a blood, breath, or urine test which is used to determine your BAC. Your BAC indicates how impaired you are and will also be used to determine the severity of penalties that you will face if convicted. If your BAC is below .08, then you were below the legal limit and you should not be facing your first OVI / DUI. If your BAC is between .08 and .17, then it is considered “low.” If your BAC is .17 or above, then it is considered “high.” A “high” BAC will undoubtedly face more severe consequences than someone with a “low” BAC.

If you are facing your first OVI / DUI charge in Ohio, it is critical that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Regardless of what happened in your case, it is understandable that you are probably scared and overwhelmed by the OVI / DUI charge that you are currently facing. You do not have go through this experience alone. The Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys are here to provide their expertise, understanding and legal counsel to help you deal with charges that you are facing. The sooner you consult with a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorney, the better, as they will work diligently to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case. This could mean the difference between serving less jail time to a complete dismissal of charges altogether.

First OVI / DUI Penalties

Ohio first OVI / DUI penalty breakdown

  • BAC is between .08% – .17%
    first degree misdemeanor with at least 3 days in jail and at least $375 in fines
  • BAC is .17 or greater
    first degree misdemeanor with at least 6 days in jail and at least $375 in fines

A First OVI / DUI conviction in Ohio can result in harsh penalties including the loss of important freedoms and privileges. The penalties that you may face are dependent on the severity of the facts and circumstances of your particular case such as whether there were any injuries, property damage, and how high your BAC was at the time of the offense.

If you are facing your first OVI / DUI conviction in Ohio, you will most likely be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. This charge entails serving a minimum of 3 days and up to a maximum of 6 months in jail and paying a minimum fine of $375 and up to a maximum of $1,075. Instead of serving a jail sentence, you may be required by the court to attend a driving intervention program. The court also has the authority and discretion in determining whether you will have to install an ignition interlock device or use restricted license plates on your vehicle. You will also face a driver’s license suspension that could last from a minimum of six months to a maximum of 3 years. Your driving privileges will also not be available for the first 15 days after receiving your first OVI charge. You may be eligible for limited driving privileges depending on work, school, or court mandated treatments.

If you are facing your first OVI / DUI conviction in Ohio and the facts of your case indicate that your BAC is greater than or equal to .17%, then you will also be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. However, due to the fact that your BAC is higher, you will face serving a minimum of six days in jail and up to a maximum of 6 months in addition to paying a minimum fine of $375 and up to a maximum of $1,075. Due to the fact that your BAC was higher, you will also be required to participate in a mandatory 3 day driving intervention program. The court may also require that you receive an alcohol assessment, treatment or participate in an educational program, install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, or use restricted license plates. You will also face a driver’s license suspension that could last from a minimum of six months to a maximum of 3 years. Your driving privileges will also not be available for the first 15 days after receiving your first OVI charge. You may be eligible for limited driving privileges depending on work, school, or court mandated treatments.

If you are facing a DUI conviction in Ohio and the facts of your case indicate that you refused a breath, blood or urine test and you were charged with an OVI within the last 20 years, then you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Due to the fact that you refused to take a breath, blood or urine test, you will serve a minimum of six days in jail and up to a maximum of 6 months in addition to paying a minimum fine of $375 and up to a maximum of $1,075. You will also be required to participate in a mandatory 3 day driving intervention program. The court may also require that you receive an alcohol assessment, treatment or participate in an educational program, install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, or use restricted license plates. You will also face a driver’s license suspension that could last from a minimum of six months to a maximum of 3 years. Your driving privileges will also not be available for the first 15 days after receiving your first OVI charge. You may be eligible for limited driving privileges depending on work, school, or court mandated treatments.

Other Consequences of First DUI in Ohio

First DUI offenses in Ohio involve harsh consequences in addition to jail time and expensive fines and fees.

Your first OVI / DUI conviction in Ohio will unfortunately have a negative impact on all other areas of your life. An OVI / DUI conviction will permanently be on your driving record. You may also face increased vehicle insurance rates, difficulty keeping or finding a job, furthering your education, difficulty financially, maintaining professional licensures and keeping custody of your children.

Administrative License Suspension (ALS) in Ohio

An administrative license suspension is a civil penalty although it is imposed at an OVI stop. If you are stopped for drunk driving and refuse to participate in a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine requested by law enforcement OR you tested over Ohio’s legal limit, then the officer is permitted to take your driver’s license on the spot and your driving privileges will immediately be suspended from that point forward. This is referred to as an administrative license suspension.

If this is your first time refusing a chemical test, the administrative license suspension will last for one year.

If this is your first time testing over the legal limit, the administrative license suspension will last for 90 days.

An administrative license suspension can be appealed in Ohio. It must be appealed at the first court appearance, which is held within 5 days of being arrested or being issued the citation. Issues that are brought up on an appeal include whether the arrest was reasonable, whether the officer requested that the individual take a chemical test, whether the individual was informed of the penalties for refusal or failing a chemical test, and whether the individual refused or failed the chemical test. It is also important to note that the court can still suspend your license if it determines that your driving is a risk or threat to public safety.

If you are facing an administrative license suspension, you can obtain limited driving privileges by filing a petition for up to 30 days after your initial appearance in court for the OVI charge. Limited driving privileges typically are for work, medical or educational reasons.

Reducing Your DUI Charges is Possible

Depending on the facts and circumstances of your particular case, it may be possible to have the OVI / DUI charges reduced, or even dismissed. Perhaps there are mitigating circumstances involved such as only sitting in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition or the breathalyzer malfunctioned.

Sometimes a first OVI / DUI can be reduced to a reckless operation charge. This depends on a variety of different factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • If there was a breath test performed, how high or low the result of your BAC was;
  • If there was an accident, injuries or poor driving;
  • If you were cooperative and police with the law enforcement officer who stopped you;
  • The judge’s attitude or stance on OVI / DUI charges;
  • The prosecutor’s attitude or stance on OVI / DUI charges.

It is also important to be aware that even if the facts are in your favor, your charges may not be able to be reduced. This is why selecting the right experienced and knowledgeable attorney is so important. The Cincinnati DUI lawyers with Luftman, Heck & Associates are highly experienced and familiar with all of the local courts and prosecutors that you would otherwise be dealing with in your case. They will be able to properly advise you of what to realistically expect with regard to the outcome of your first OVI.

First DUI cases are commonly occurring criminal offense throughout the state of Ohio. If you are facing your first OVI / DUI charge, it is critical that you immediately contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys. A first OVI / DUI charge can be an overwhelming and anxiety-inducing experience, and you do not have to go through it alone. Although every case is different, it is crucial that you obtain an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate attorney as soon as possible who will fight vigorously for your legal rights and best interest. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your options will be regarding your sentence. The Cincinnati Criminal Defense team has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with first OVI / DUI offenses. Their knowledge, experience, and compassion for your case will help you receive the justice you deserve.

Facing Your First DUI in Ohio? Contact Cincinnati DUI Lawyers with LHA.

If you have been pulled over for an OVI, whether it’s your first time or a subsequent time, you’re likely stressed, angry, and worried about your future. The best thing to do is to call the experienced Cincinnati DUI lawyers with Luftman, Heck & Associates. In Cincinnati, attorney Brad Groene can walk you through your legal options and begin building a defense to reduce the penalties you face. Get the justice you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at or email us at advice@cincinnaticriminalattorney.com. We are available 24/7.
Cincinnati DUI Lawyer Brad Groene | Luftman, Heck & Associates