A DUI in Ohio is always serious business, but it is even more worrisome if you are arrested for a DUI and under 21. The legal drinking age in Ohio is 21, and the state has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. That means that you can get an underage DUI after having just a single alcoholic beverage, since the legal BAC limit for people under the age of 21 is just .02. Not only are you in trouble for violating Ohio OVI law, but you are also facing underage consumption charges.
The consequences for these two crimes are severe. If you are a minor, you will formally be charged with operating a vehicle after underage consumption (OVUAC) and be sent to be adjudicated in juvenile court. While charges adjudicated in juvenile court may be possible to get cleared from your record when you reach adulthood, the sentence (or disposition, as it is called in juvenile court) can still be quite serious. You face:
- a license suspension of up to two years,
- a fine,
- admission into a mandatory alcohol treatment program,
- years of probation, and
- up to five days confinement in a juvenile detention facility.
What If I’m Not A Minor?
Of course, you can be charged with an OVUAC in adult court instead of juvenile court. If you are over 18, but still not legal to drink, you face underage DUI charges in adult court. This situation is even more serious, as a DUI conviction in adult court cannot ever be removed from your record. If you cannot beat the charges or arrange a plea deal that does not involve a conviction, the charges can follow you for the rest of your life, making college admissions, job searches, and securing an apartment much more difficult. Plus, if your BAC was measured above the legal limit for people over 21 (.08), you face a minimum of 10 days in jail.
If you are convicted for an OVUAC in court, even for a first offense, you face:
- a license suspension of up to three years,
- a required license retest and completion of a remedial driving program before your license will be reissued,
- a $500- $1,000 fine,
- mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program, and
- up to a year in prison.
While these consequences may seem like enough, you can also face even harsher charges and punishments if simultaneously arrested for possessing a fake I.D., endangering a minor (if a passenger was not yet 18), or soliciting alcohol. All in all, the situation is very dire if police arrest you for a DUI and you are not 21.
Help from Cincinnati DUI Lawyers
Luckily, these consequences will only happen if you are convicted—and you have the right to a strong defense to fight to keep that from happening. With the help of an experienced Cincinnati DUI lawyer, you will have the best chance of fighting underage DUI charges successfully. At Luftman, Heck, and Associates, our Cincinnati DUI lawyers have years of experience helping young people get the best possible outcomes from their underage DUI cases. We believe that a mistake shouldn’t define you for the rest of your life and will do everything possible to keep your record clean. Call us today at (513) 338-1890 to set up your free consultation and find out what we may be able to do for your case.