FIRST TIME DUI OFFENDERS 

 

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All Ohio DUI/OVI charges have serious consequences, however, most drivers are not aware that even a first time offender faces mandatory jail time or in-patient treatment.  Unfortunately, Ohio judges do not have the discretion to go below the mandatory minimum sentences in an Ohio DUI/OVI case. 

MINIMUM PENALTIES FOR FIRST TIME DUI/OVI WITH LOW-TIER CHEMICAL TEST 

If a defendant is found guilty of a first time DUI/OVI in an Ohio court, at the minimum, he or she will be sentenced to all of the following: (1) three days jail or an Ohio Residential Drug Intervention Program (RDIP); (2) a $375 fine plus other financial sanctions; and (3) a one-year license suspension.  While courts are often generous and allow minimum fines and penalties for first-time offenders, the seriousness of the offense and the defendant's record will play a major role in whether this occurs.  If the offense is more serious than a normal, run-of-the-mill DUI/OVI, such as when a serious accident occurs or where the Defendant has a history of drug or alcohol dependency, then there is a good chance the judge does not allow minimum fines and penalties, and instead orders more jail time, community service, a longer suspension, reporting probation, or other more intensive penalties. 

MAXIMUM PENALTIES FOR FIRST TIME DUI/OVI WITH LOW-TIER CHEMICAL TEST 

Just as the judge cannot deviate below the minimum penalties for a first time Ohio DUI/OVI, the judge also has maximum penalties that she cannot exceed.  The maximum penalties are as follows: (1) six months in jail; (2) a $1075 fine plus other financial sanctions; (3) a three-year license suspension; (4) reporting probation with court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment for up to five years; (5) Special Ohio DUI / OVI license plates and ignition interlock. 

MINIMUM PENALTIES FOR FIRST TIME DUI/OVI WITH HIGH-TIER CHEMICAL TEST 

If a defendant is found guilty of a first time DUI/OVI in an Ohio court, at the minimum, he or she will be sentenced to all of the following: (1) six days jail or three days in jail and three days in an Ohio Residential Drug Intervention Program (RDIP); (2) a $375 fine plus other financial sanctions; and (3) a one-year license suspension.  While courts are often generous and allow minimum fines and penalties for first-time offenders, the seriousness of the offense and the defendant's record will play a major role in whether this occurs.  With a "high tier" test, not only is a judge required to impose at least six days in jail, but they are more likely to impose more jail time due to the seriousness of the offense.  An experienced lawyer can often advocate for you to have the charge reduced to reflect a "low tier" offense.  

MAXIMUM PENALTIES FOR FIRST TIME DUI/OVI WITH HIGH-TIER CHEMICAL TEST 

The maximum penalties for a "high tier" first offense are as follows: (1) six months in jail; (2) a $1075 fine plus other financial sanctions; (3) a three-year license suspension; (4) reporting probation with court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment for up to five years; (5) Special Ohio DUI / OVI license plates and ignition interlock.