First Offense DUI – What To Expect
A first offense DUI is defined at O.R.C. 4511.19 as a DUI with no priors within 6 years. A first offense DUI can be charged in three ways. The first charge is caused by testing over the legal limit of .08% B.A.C. (example O.R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(d)). These types of offenses are also referred to as “per se” violations. A second way to be charged is for violating the high-tier provision of Ohio’s DUI law. Ohio has also created a per se “high-tier” limit of .17% BrAC, sometimes referred to as a SUPER-OVI. The per se high-tier limits for a first offense DUI are set forth at O.R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)
- (f) The person has a concentration of seventeen-hundredths of one per cent or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s whole blood.
- (g) The person has a concentration of two hundred four-thousandths of one per cent or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s blood serum or plasma.
- (h) The person has a concentration of seventeen-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person’s breath.
- (i) The person has a concentration of two hundred thirty-eight-thousandths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of the person’s urine.
Appreciable Impairment Offenses: If you refuse to take a chemical test, the State will still be able to prove you guilty of a first offense DUI if they prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that you operated a motor vehicle in Ohio after having consumed some alcohol, drugs of abuse, or a combination of the two and their ability to operate the motor vehicle was appreciably impaired. How does a jury determine “under the influence?” The following is an excerpt from the Ohio Jury Instructions:
“Under the influence” means that the defendant consumed some (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (combination of alcohol and a drug of abuse), whether mild or potent, in such a quantity, whether small or great, that it adversely affected and noticeably impaired the defendant’s actions, reaction, or mental processes under the circumstances then existing and deprived the defendant of that clearness of intellect and control of himself/herself which he/she would otherwise have possessed. The question is not how much (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (alcohol and a drug of abuse) would affect an ordinary person.
The question is what effect did any (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (alcohol and a drug of abuse), consumed by the defendant, have on him/her at the time and place involved. If the consumption of (alcohol) (drug of abuse) (alcohol and a drug of abuse) so affected the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the defendant so as to impair, to a noticeable degree, his/her ability to operate the vehicle, then the defendant was under the influence. The Ohio jury Instruction cites language from State v. Hardy (1971), 28 Ohio St.2d 89, 57 O.O.2d 284, 276 N.E.2d 247; and State v. Steele (1952), 95 Ohio App. 107, 52 O.O. 488, 117 N.E.2d 617.
(A)(1) No person shall operate any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley within this state, if, at the time of the operation, any of the following apply:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.
At DaytonDUI we refer to the (A)(1)(a), appreciable impairment offense as the OTIS standard, derived from the popular OTIS character featured on the classic Andy Griffith program. OTIS was the stereotypical town drunk who often found himself in the Mayberry jail. OTIS was obviously intoxicated based on how he looked, walked, acted and talked. Viewers had no doubt that he was intoxicated. Law enforcement will attempt to prove impairment with the same evidence we use to judge OTIS.
Why Was I Charged With Two DUI Offenses? Often, the arresting law enforcement officer will charge both the per seand appreciable impairment cases, knowing that you cannot be convicted of both. In essence, the officer is hedging his bets, hoping that if your test is found to be faulty you can still be found guilty of being impaired. At your trial or sentencing hearing, your conviction will either be for the per se or appreciable impairment charge. Your DUI attorney will help you understand the pros and cons of any plea agreement and empower you to make choices that will benefit you on a short-term and long-term basis. Choosing the best DUI attorney for your case is the most important decision that you can make and should not be rushed or taken lightly.
First Offense DUI Felony Offenses: If your first offense DUI involves the death or serious physical harm to another, you may face felony charges. Aggravated Vehicular Homicide is a crime that results from the death of another caused by the defendant’s operating a vehicle while impaired (a violation of R.C. 4511.19) or while driving negligently or recklessly. The statute encompasses driving an automobile recklessly or negligently (called Vehicular homicide) whether or not alcohol played a part in the death. Aggravated Vehicular Assault is the crime of causing serious physical harm to a person while violating Ohio’s drunk driving statute.
A First Offense DUI Based On Drug Use: You can also be charged with a per se offense based on the concentration of illicit drugs in your system. To be convicted of a per se offense, the state must prove that a person operated a motor vehicle in Ohio and that at the time of operation, the person had a prohibited concentration of alcohol or drugs in their blood, breath or urine. Your DUI attorney will devise defenses particular to the specific evidential test you took. The admissibility of the results of these tests are dependant upon the arresting agency’s and testing organization’s compliance with the rules of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) as adopted and approved by the Ohio Department of Health. At DaytonDUI, we know how to defend a breath test case and employ sophisticated scientific defenses to win your DUI case. An oft’ quoted maxim that you should know is, “An arrest is not a conviction.”
First Offense DUI Penalties: The following penalties are reserved for first offense DUI offenders. Obviously, it is in your interests to hire counsel who can assess your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your case. Be sure to discuss not only the mitigating factors that your attorney should know, but the not-so-good aspects of your case. Judges have discretion to look at many factors in fashioning a remedy and your attorney should be able to give you an idea of how to approach your case so as to minimize any potential penalties. Here are the range of possible penalties for a first offense DUI.
- Jail – 3 Days Minimum up to 6 Months or,
- Driver Intervention Program – For 3 Days
- Jail – 6 Days (If Blood Alcohol Concentration .17 or Above)
- License Suspension – From 6 Months to 3 Years
- Reinstatement Fee – $475.00
- Fine – From $375 to $1,075
Party Plates (Ohio’s Scarlet Letter)
When are yellow DUI plates required? If you are convicted of OVI in Ohio, yellow “restricted plates” are required in certain circumstances.
- If you are convicted of OVI as a first offense, the judge has discretion to order restricted plates as a condition of granting you limited driving privileges.
- If you are placed under and administrative license suspension, a judge has discretion to order restricted plates as a condition of granting limited driving privileges.
Is an Interlock Ignition Device Mandatory?
The device is not mandatory on a first offense OVI in Ohio. Judges have discretion to require the ignition interlock device on first offenses, but on subsequent offenses the IID is mandatory. It is important to speak with an experienced DUI attorney who is familiar with the Court/judge presiding over your case to get an idea of whether or not you will likely receive an ignition interlock device on a first offense. Be sure to talk with your attorney about aggravating factors in your case. Be aware that MADD is pushing for the requirement that all first-time DUI offenders must use an ignition interlock device in order to get the car to start. MADD is seeking to implement this mandate in the same way it coerced the states’ into adoption of a .08 alcohol standard, which is to tie the ignition interlock to receiving highway funds. The language stipulates that if states want about 5 percent of their regularly allocated safety money, they must enact a law that requires first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device if they want to continue driving. By seeking implementation in this way, MADD can avoid fights in more driver-friendly state legislatures. Given the long history of pandering to MADD, this commentator is not hopeful of a pro-driver outcome.
If you do not have a prior DUI/OVI offense getting your car back is relatively easy as Ohio DUI law does not authorize immobilization as a penalty for a first offense. Here are the steps you should take to get your car back.
- Locate the proper tow lot;
- Gather enough cash (or other proper payment) to pay towing and storage fees;
- Gather proof of ownership; and
- If you were placed under and Administrative License Suspension, get a licensed driver to drive your car from the impound lot.
If you have trouble with ANY of the items above, contact DaytonDUI and we will help get your car back. We have even gone as far as having our staff drive to the tow lot on our client’s behalf. It is to your advantage to move quickly in order to save storage fees.
What does a first offense DUI defense cost? We encounter many people who want a rational, economic justification for hiring an OVI attorney on a first offense OVI. The only study I could find on this topic was a 2006 Texas Department of Transportation study which calculated the costs of a drunk driving conviction “in that state showed the total costs of a DWI arrest and conviction for a first-time offender with no accident involved would range from $9,000 to $24,000.” [source] In a story from CNBC citing that study, they speculate that total costs, absent you losing your job, could range as high as $20,000. While projecting costs without knowing your particular circumstance is wildly speculative, here are some of the expenses you may realize:
- Court costs.
- Attorney fees.
- Loss of job.
- DUI “school.”
- Temporary loss of income.
- Car towing, impounding.
- Alternate transportation costs.
- Car ignition interlock device.
- Periodic blood testing.
- Monthly monitoring fees.
- Cost of incarceration.
- Increased auto insurance premiums
Obviously, if you were to lose your job and/or your career because of an Ohio OVI conviction, the lifetime costs skyrocket. Insurance premiums, damages caused by personal injury or costs of restitution for property damages also cause the costs to climb. Some of the expenses highlighted above can take years to come to fruition and the lingering effects of having a drunk driving conviction may be with you for life. The good news is that a good DUI attorney can significantly curb the financial detriments incurred in a DUI case. While predicting what an attorney can save you is just as wildly speculative as predicting costs, it is common for many of the costs to be subject to negotiation and/or reduction. A reduction of the charge will not only lower the possible maximum fines, but can also get rid of ugly mandatory punishments required by Ohio’s OVI statute. O.R.C. 4511.19. The best way to explore how much a vigorous DUI defense will costs in your case, contact Charles M. Rowland for a free consultation.
Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI defense.”
Find information on first offense DUI and other city-specific info at the following links: