Being charged with a DUI in Ohio if you are under the age of 21 is different than if you are over the age of 21. The official name for this offense is Operating a Vehicle after Underage Consumption (OVUAC) and you can face different penalties than an adult, although the general arrest and court procedures are indeed similar. However, this does mean that hiring a Columbus DUI attorney who has experience defending underage clients is of the utmost importance.
If you are under 21, drinking in Ohio and in the 49 other states is illegal. However, many young people do drink, and like adults, they choose to drive afterwards and may soon need a Columbus DUI lawyer. When under 21, the legal limit for your Blood Alcohol Concentration cannot be more than .02% under the state’s zero tolerance laws. If you are then charged with an OVUAC, you can face an Administrative License Suspension with the Ohio BMV.
This means it is possible to lose your drivers license for up to two years. If the sentence is less, you still must wait two months to get minimum driving privileges and can end up with yellow license plates. You may also be required to take your drivers’ exam again and if you are charged and convicted with another DUI as an adult, you may be forced onto the state’s habitual offender registry. You can also end up subject to more severe penalties as an adult if you were previously convicted as a minor.
Your DUI lawyer in Columbus will warn you that it is not only your license at stake in this matter. You can also face fines of up to $250 and even face the possibility of 30 days behind bars. If you are under 21 and are convicted for an OVUAC twice, then you may have to pay $500 in fines, spend two months in jail and can lose your driving privileges for up to five years.
As a young person, your entire life is ahead of you and a OVUAC charge can have a devastating and life-altering effect in your future. It can interfere with school in the here and now and job prospects in the future, and can also be an emotionally trying experience for both you and your parents. You may already regret your decision to drink and drive, but you may not have to regret it for years to come with the right DUI lawyer in Columbus by your side.