First DUI/OVI Offense in Ohio – Penalties and Fines

Find out what will happen to you based on your First OVI arrest.

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If you are thinking about driving your car after having a cocktail in Ohio, think again. Ohio has some of the harshest DUI laws in the country. Even first time offenders of Ohio’s OVI laws will make you face steep penalties, minimum jail time, and license suspension. Having said that, we understand that many people will get behind the wheel after only a few drinks, and then are astonished to discover they fail a breathalyzer or road test following a road stop.

Seeing the penalties and fines for a first time DUI in Ohio should persuade you from driving after drinking, take a look:

Ohio First DUI - OVI

● Fines and penalties – $375 to $1,075

License suspension – six months to three years

● Convictions – first degree misdemeanor conviction

● Jail – minimum of three days, maximum six months

Beyond the penalties and fines listed, if convicted, the court may order you to attend a driver intervention program for three consecutive days. A driver intervention program isn’t free, it could cost up to $1000. If the full weight the law came to bear against you, you could be facing thousands of dollars in costs, months in jail, years in license suspension, and a conviction on your record.

How is a DUI Calculated in Ohio?

If you are pulled over on suspicion for DUI in Ohio, the police officer involved will likely give you a breathalyzer test or take you into jail for a blood or urine test. The legal limit for regular drivers over 21 is a blood alcohol content of .08%. For drivers under 21 it is .02%. And for commercial drivers the legal limit is .04%. Anything over those percentages means you were DUI and results in an automatic suspension of a driving license. Depending on how much you weigh, as little as three drinks can put you over the legal limit.

Can you just refuse to take the test? Yes, but refusing to take a DUI test in Ohio results in an automatic license suspension of one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and three years for the third offense.

What Rights do I Have During a DUI Stop in Ohio?

It does not matter what state you are in when you are stopped by the police, you have rights under the United States Constitution. Having said that, remember that how you act in front of an officer will affect the entire process. So make sure to demand your rights politely, avoid acting arrogant, and don’t give any attitude.

If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the officer will be a professional experienced in making DUI traffic stops. That means they will try to get as much information out of you as they can. They will try and check for slurring patterns or try to get you to say something you are not obligated to say. In fact, you are not obligated to say anything to the police, and you do have the right to be questioned with your lawyer present. Remember, you have rights under the U.S. Constitution. Were your rights violated during the stop. Let’s see:

● Were you seen driving by the officer?

● Was there probable cause to stop you in the first place?

● How long did the officer take to give you a breathalyzer?

● What kind of road tests did the officer administer? Standard tests or unacceptable tests?

● How was the weather when you were pulled over?

● Does the police report accurately report what you said?

● If you were arrested, did the Police read you your Miranda Rights?

How to Get Help for a First Time DUI in Ohio

You will not be able to effectively fight a DUI in Ohio without a good Ohio DUI attorney. In addition, it is important that you educate yourself on the Ohio’s DUI laws. You can find much of the information that will get you started at At there are resources that will inform you and help you with your Ohio DUI, including a Free Personal DUI Evaluation.

After consulting with an attorney and educating yourself regarding Ohio’s DUI laws, you will be in the position to make some decisions. You will know your chances are of winning your case, if you need to make a plea deal with the prosecution, or whether you need to plead guilty hoping a judge will be lenient. The decision will be yours to make, but it is nearly impossible to do without proper guidance and information.

A good Ohio DUI attorney will know exactly what to do after evaluating your case. Sometimes that includes attacking the police reports, or the alcohol level testing process and results; it may be that your rights were violated or there are other reasons your driving was impaired, a good attorney will know how to use those factors to help you.

Another reason it is important to have a good Ohio DUI attorney is because he or she may be able to work with the prosecution to reduce the charges of your case. If the prosecution does decide to reduce the charges in your case, it will most likely be in exchange for a plea of guilty to those charges.

What to do Next?

Of course the best practice is to not drink and drive in the first place. But if you are pulled over and arrested for DUI, the most important thing you can do is get a good Ohio DUI attorney, inform yourself on Ohio’s DUI laws, and make educated decisions on your case. If you have been arrested for a DUI for the first time in Ohio, get your DUI evaluated for free and get the answers you need to help you get the best result possible.

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