The potential penalties for a second offense OVI in Ohio vary, depending on the amount of alcohol that was in your system, as measured by a blood, breath, or urine test.
OVI, or Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs, is also commonly referred to as drunk driving, DUI, DWI, or OMVI. The actual definition of OVI is found in Ohio Revised Code section 4511.19 (A)(1)(a) and the O.R.C. sections that follow.
Most persons charged with OVI are also charged with operating with a prohibited concentration of alcohol or drugs in cases where the police officer obtained a chemical test result (breath test, blood test, or urine test).
Under Ohio law, OVI penalties are divided into high-tier and low-tier offenses.
A low-tier OVI is when your breath alcohol content is below .17, or there is not a refusal.
A high-tier OVI is when your breath alcohol content is at or above.17, or you decline the test chosen by a law enforcement officer.
If you have refused the test requested by the officer and have a prior conviction within 20 years, it also is categorized as a high-tier OVI.
In Ohio, if you plead guilty (or no contest) to, or are convicted of a second offense OVI, you are facing mandatory jail, fines & a license suspension.
A second offense low-tier OVI in Ohio for someone over the age of 21, without a CDL, is a First Degree misdemeanor and carries a jail sentence between 10 days and six months. The ten days jail is mandatory and must be served straight through. A work release is not permitted.
The mandatory jail time on a second offense, high-tier OVI, is 20 days.
A second offense high-tier OVI is also classified as a First Degree misdemeanor, so the maximum jail time is six months.
Fines for all second-time OVIs range from a mandatory minimum of $525 to a maximum of $1625 plus court costs.
Many judges will assess a fine higher than the minimum, and a few will require you to pay the fine and court costs in advance before allowing you any driving privileges. Court costs usually range anywhere from $125 up to $300 or so.
All second offense OVI’s in Ohio carry a mandatory one-year license suspension. The maximum suspension is seven years.
Many judges will impose license suspensions longer than the minimum.
This court suspension is separate from the Administrative License Suspension imposed by the police officer at the beginning of your case, which most officers never tell you about.
You will, however, get retroactive credit for the ALS towards the mandatory court suspension once your case is concluded.
State law forbids a judge from giving you driving privileges for ANY reason, even for work, until after a mandatory hard-time waiting period. This period is 45 days on a second offense, OVI, unless you refused the test.
In a refusal case, the hard-time waiting period may be as long as 90 days.
You can request the judge to put your suspension on hold by granting what is called a stay. This is rarely ever granted in second offense OVI cases. Most of the time, it results in the judge replacing it with a court suspension with a hard-time waiting period.
Restricted plates (yellow with red lettering), also called party plates or family plates, are optional on second offense low-tier OVIs if you ask for driving privileges. They are mandatory on a second-tier OVI with a high test result, but optional if it was a refusal.
The restricted plates are required for the duration of your license suspension. On second offense OVI cases, judges commonly order treatment programs, assessments, probation, community work service, or SCRAM ankle monitors to prevent alcohol intake.
Second offense OVI charges carry a mandatory requirement for an ignition interlock device on your vehicle if you seek driving privileges.
Even if you do not seek driving privileges, the judge is required to immobilize your vehicle for 90 days if it was titled to you at the time of the offense.
Judges are typically open to having your vehicle towed from the storage lot to the location of your choice and having it booted there. This will save you storage fees, but you will be responsible for the cost of towing and placing a boot on the vehicle. This does not prevent you from using an alternate vehicle for driving privileges.
Additionally, any OVI conviction carries 6 points against your license. There will also be a $475 reinstatement fee owed to the BMV at the end of your license suspension.
Be aware that some insurance companies will hike your insurance premiums up, sometimes for years. So you may need to shop around for a new insurance company. OVI convictions may also cause you problems such as keeping or finding employment.
An OVI charge is a criminal offense that remains on your record permanently. You are prohibited by law from expunging an OVI or sealing the record of an OVI.
By law, judges in Ohio cannot deviate below the mandatory requirements if you plead guilty or are convicted of an OVI charge. The only way to avoid these penalties is to flat out beat the charge or negotiate a reduction to a lesser offense.
OVI charges involve many intricate nuances. Because of this, you are presented with two primary obstacles.
First, I can assure you from the thousands of OVI cases I have handled, that prosecutors have no incentive to plea bargain with anyone who lacks the wherewithal to prevail against them in the courtroom.
Secondly, even some lawyers lack this ability, and prosecutors can tell who they are. So, if you are planning on retaining an attorney, you will need one who handles these types of cases regularly.
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