It may be tempting after a person in Northern Ohio gets arrested for drunk driving to just do they what they need to do to get the matter over with, including a quick guilty plea.
Before taking this approach, though, Portage County residents, or those just passing through the area, should understand how serious the penalties for even one drunk driving case, called in OVI in Ohio, can be.
Ohio has a mandatory jail term for drunk driving
For one, unlike some other states, Ohio has a mandatory minimum jail term of 72 hours for any drunk driving offense. This mandatory penalty also applies to drugged driving offenses.
There may be some alternatives to literally sitting in jail, but the point is that even one offense with no aggravating circumstances is not going to be a slap on the wrist.
Other minimum penalties also apply
Additionally, a first time offense also calls for a significant monetary fine and a 6-month license suspension. A person convicted will also have to take some type of alcohol education class on their own time and at their own expense.
Additional convictions, other circumstances will increase the penalties
It’s important to keep in mind also that these minimum penalties only apply when there are no aggravating circumstances, like a high blood alcohol content, an accident and the like. More severe penalties would apply in these situations.
Likewise, if a person has a prior drunk or drugged driving conviction, even from several months or years ago, additional penalties may apply.
Those facing a possible OVI conviction should be aware that they may receive significant penalties above and beyond just having to deal with a criminal record. They should evaluate their legal options carefully.