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First Offense OVI

First Offense OVI

In First Offense OVI

first offense oviOhio defines a first offense OVI at O.R.C. 4511.19, as a DUI with no priors within ten (10) years.  A first offense OVI is 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. In addition, you can violate the high-tier provision of Ohio’s OVI 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 OVI 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.

First Offense OVI: 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 OVI 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.

First Offense OVI: R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a)

The “appreciable impairment offense” reside at Ohio Revised Code 4511.19(A)(1)(a) which states,

(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 drank until he 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 OVI Offenses?  

Often, the arresting law enforcement officer will charge both the per se and 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.  In addition, your OVI 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 OVI 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

First offenders also face the following penalties. 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


First Offense OVI: Immobilization

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 OVI 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:

  • Fines.
  • Court costs.
  • Attorney fees.
  • Bail.
  • 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

Fight Your First Offense OVI Charge

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. In addition, the conviction follows 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.  Please note, a reduction of the charge lowers the possible maximum fines. Also it but rids you 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.

Charles Rowland


Charles M. Rowland II has been representing the accused drunk driver for over 20 years. Contact him at (937) 318-1384 if you find yourself facing a DUI (now called OVI) charge.

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