Although being charged with a DUI for the first time in Ohio is a criminal misdemeanor offense, it is still a serious charge that needs serious attention. A conviction can become a part of your permanent criminal record and you can face jail time and steep fines. The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in Ohio is .08% and being above that amount can have serious consequences that can change the course of your life. A Columbus DUI attorney can help see to it that the consequences are as minimal as possible.
A first-time offense conviction for a DUI in Ohio can come with a license suspension of one full year if you refused chemical testing at the time of your arrest. If you were tested and your BAC was above the legal limit, you can lose your driving privileges for three months. That would just be the result of an Administrative License Suspension by the BMV. The court can then choose to suspend your license for a period of six months to three years, and also may choose to place an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle. This would be like a breathalyzer permanently installed in your car that can measure your BAC before you choose to operate a motor vehicle. Losing your vehicle and driving privileges can lead to eventual high insurance premiums and a possible loss of work due to not having a car. The right DUI lawyer in Columbus may be able to save your license.
The fines you face for a DUI conviction in Ohio can also be steep and a good Columbus DUI lawyer will try to see to it that you receive the minimum fine of $375. The maximum fine would be $1, 075. The jail time you may face may seem relatively minimal, but can still be a frightening experience if jail is what a judge sentences you to.
You can spend three days in jail and if your BAC was unusually high, you can face an additional three days behind bars. There is also a possibility of up to five years on probation, as well as a three-day driver intervention program.
An unusually high BAC may also get your restricted license plates once you are permitted to drive again. The penalties for second and subsequent DUI offenses are even more severe and can become felony charges rather than misdemeanor. You can ill-afford a conviction whether this is your first or subsequent offense and an experienced DUI attorney in Columbus is needed to give you the best possible defense.