Drunk driving, known as operating a vehicle while impaired in Ohio, is a severe criminal offense, and it’s only getting more harshly punished. In fact, across the country, states have started cracking down on drunk drivers. With that said, the consequences of an OVI in Ohio could have a devastating impact on your life for years.
Some argue that the penalties are too harsh, especially when you consider OVIs are often an individual’s first criminal offense. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we’ve seen firsthand how traumatic an OVI conviction can be and work to reduce the potential harm on our clients’ lives.
An OVI’s Criminal Consequences
Being under the influence of alcohol or nearly any type of controlled substance or illegal drugs can result in Ohio OVI charges. If convicted, there are multiple criminal penalties you could face:
- License suspension
- Jail time
- Fines and restitution
- Community service
- Probation or parole requirements
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program
- Completion of a driver retraining program
The length of your sentence and the amount of any fines you might be ordered to pay will be dependent on a number of factors, including whether this is your first offense, your BAC at the time, if you are a repeat offender, and whether anyone was injured or at risk due to you driving while impaired.
Collateral OVI Penalties
But criminal penalties are not the only issue. In addition to jail time, fines, license suspension, and other penalties, people who’ve been convicted of an OVI in Ohio can expect to deal with:
- Immigration and citizenship issues
- Loss of firearm rights
- Child custody or visitation disputes
- Trouble finding gainful employment
- Difficulty finding safe, affordable housing
- Ineligibility for federal student loans
An OVI Stays on Your Record
What’s more, if you are convicted of an OVI in Ohio, even as a first-time offender, you are not eligible to have your record expunged. This conviction will show up anytime an employer, potential lender, or anyone else runs a criminal background check.
Should someone always be penalized for a one-time mistake?
Avoiding an OVI Conviction
Across the country, efforts have been made to reduce the number of convicted criminals and instead focus on rehabilitation. These opportunities should also apply to OVI arrests. And while OVI expungements currently are not available, an OVI arrest does not mean a conviction is a foregone conclusion.
If you are ruled not guilty, or the charges are dismissed, it goes a long way to clearing things up. In addition, by working with a lawyer, you can often negotiate a resolution that includes having your OVI dismissed later if certain conditions are met.
Get Help From an Ohio OVI Lawyer Today
Like it or not, the consequences of an OVI conviction in Ohio are unsympathetic. If you are found guilty, even as a first-time offender, you may be subject to punishments that could haunt you for the rest of your life.