OVI / DUI Underage Offenses In Ohio

Underage DUI / OVI Cases In Columbus And Central Ohio

Individuals under 21 charged with drunk driving offenses in Ohio face some different rules than individuals over 21. While the blood alcohol limit for people 21 and over is .08, the limit for people under 21 is .02; one-fourth as much. It is clear why there is little tolerance for an underage person to drive drunk. The tough penalties associated with underage drunk driving, however, can be devastating for a young person. If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI/OVI in Columbus or central Ohio, a skilled DUI / OVI attorney can help.

Investigation Of Ohio Underage DUI / OVI

Although the alcohol limit is different for people under age 21, the DUI / OVI investigation is essentially the same. Officers who encounter an underage driver looks for clues that the driver is under the influence while the vehicle is in motion and during personal contact with the driver. If clues of intoxication are observed, the officer administers field sobriety tests. If additional clues are observed, the officer arrests the driver and administers a breath test, blood test, or urine test. The officer then charges the driver with DUI/OVI, Operating a Vehicle after Underage Consumption (OVUAC), or both.

Charges For Underage Drunk Driving In Ohio

If a person under 21 has an alcohol test result over .02 but under .08, they are ordinarily charged with Operating a Vehicle after Underage Consumption (O.V.U.A.C.). If the test result is over .08, the charge is OVI (DUI) “per se”, and there is an Administrative License Suspension. In addition, there is often a charge of OVI (DUI) “impaired”. That charge does not depend on the result of a chemical alcohol test; it’s based on impaired driving ability. The charges will be filed in adult court or juvenile court, depending on the age of the driver. If the charges are filed in juvenile court, the court process is slightly different.

Sentencing For Underage DUI / OVI

Sentencing for a person under 21 depends on the charge and the court. If the person is found guilty of DUI / OVI, the penalties are listed on the “DUI / OVI Sentences” page of this website. If the person is found guilty of O.V.U.A.C. in adult court, the sentence for a first offense may include a jail sentence of up to 30 days, a fine of up to $250, a license suspension of up to two years, yellow license plates, alcohol treatment, and probation. For a second O.V.U.A.C. conviction in adult court, the jail sentence may be up to 60 days, the fine may be up to $500, and the license suspension may be up to five years. If the person is convicted in juvenile court (“adjudicated”), the sentence (“disposition”) may include a license suspension of up to two years, alcohol treatment, a fine, and probation. For an OVI, the disposition can also include confinement for up to five days in a detention facility.

A person convicted of O.V.U.A.C. must wait a mandatory 60 days to get limited driving privileges. Additionally, a person convicted of O.V.U.A.C. must re-take the driver’s license test and periodically provide proof of insurance with the Ohio B.M.V. A conviction for O.V.U.A.C. can also enhance a later conviction for O.V.I. so the later conviction carries tougher mandatory minimum penalties, and it could lead to being listed in the habitual offender registry.

Strategies for Underage DUI / OVI Defense

When I represent a person under 21 for charges of OVI and/or OVUAC, I apply the same thorough process used for clients over 21. We obtain the prosecutor’s evidence, conduct an investigation, seek to exclude evidence, and negotiate with the prosecutor. If we do not reach an acceptable agreement, we have a trial.

Attorney For Underage DUI / OVI In Columbus And Central Ohio

My practice is focused on DUI / OVI defense, and I have experience representing clients under 21 in adult court and juvenile court. For more information about me, please see my profile, and for details about my practice, please see the firm overview. You can also see what clients say and review my past case results. I limit the number of cases I accept so I can provide outstanding service to my clients. If you would like to discuss how I can help with your underage DUI / OVI or OVUAC, EMAIL ME or call me at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free consultation.