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Thomas Kollin

Facing your first DUI in Ohio: What to do next

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense, DUI/OVI

If you get a DUI in Ohio—a charge for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs—it is natural to feel worried and anxious about what to do next.

However, it is important that you understand the steps you should take so you can know your options during this difficult time.

What happens after a DUI?

In Ohio, a DUI is also referred to as an OVI, which means operating a vehicle impaired.

This means law enforcement is accusing you of driving a vehicle while your ability to do so was impaired by the existence of alcohol or drugs in your blood.

  • If you are over 21, you are over the legal limit if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.8% or higher.
  • If you are under 21, the legal limit is 0.2% or higher.

Being pulled over

After the police pull you over and they believe you are impaired, you will probably be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

You should know that you have the right to refuse to take this test. However, refusing to take the test can lead to an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

If you take the test and fail, you will be arrested and taken into custody at the police station, where you will be booked and may spend some time in jail.

You may be released on bail, meaning that you might be given the option to pay a certain amount of money to the court with the promise that you will return for your court hearing.

In the meantime, you can hire a lawyer to represent you.

Next steps to take

After this happens, hire an attorney as soon as you can, if you can. The court may offer you a public defender and you will have to choose whether you would prefer to have a private attorney represent you.

Stay calm. You are not the first person who is going through this and you will not be the last. However, take it seriously. The consequences of a DUI or OVI can be significant, depending on the circumstances.

  • Know your rights. You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
  • Do not speak with the police without your attorney present.
  • If you can, get a lawyer who works on DUI cases all the time. They can guide you through the process and explain what will happen step by step. In addition, they will be with you at every court hearing and available to answer any questions.
  • Attend all your court dates. Failing to appear in court is a serious matter and you do not want any additional charges added to your record. Missing a court date can also lead to an arrest.

Considering your options

After all of this, you will have to decide, usually with your attorney, if you plan on fighting the charges or pleading guilty.

You can also seek a plea deal or attend a diversion program if you qualify. Your attorney is the best person to ask about every one of these options.

Possible penalties

If this is your first DUI in Ohio, you may be looking at:

  1. The suspension of your license for at least 6 months and up to 3 years
  2. Fines ranging from $300 up to $1,000 or more
  3. Possible jail time, usually between three days to six months
  4. Classes related to the DUI charge and treatment programs to help avoid another one
  5. The possibility of having a yellow license plate placed on your vehicle or having to wear an interlock device on your car.

Every case is unique. The best person to give you an estimate of what they think your penalties will be is your own attorney.

Getting a DUI is a turning point in anyone’s life. It is serious, but with the right help and legal strategy, you should be able to get back to your normal life in a relatively short period of time.

The importance here is to learn your lesson and try to avoid getting another DUI in the future.