If you face DUI charges in Ohio, defending against them to the best of your and your attorney’s ability represents your best course of action. The last thing you need is a conviction because that puts your freedom at stake, as well as leaving you facing fines and other penalties.

In Ohio, driving under the influence goes by the name of operating a vehicle under the influence and applies to either alcohol or drugs. Section 4511.19(A),(G) of the Ohio Revised Code sets forth the penalties associated with various OVI convictions, which can be either first-class misdemeanors or third- or fourth-class felonies depending on the circumstances.

First conviction

The first time a judge or jury convicts you of OVI, this represents a first-class misdemeanor. You face spending between three days and six months in jail, plus having to pay a fine of from $375 to $1,075. This assumes you had a low test result for alcohol or drugs in your system. You also could lose your driving privileges for 15 days.

Should your first conviction occur under circumstances where you refused to take the tests or tested high for alcohol or drugs in your system, however, you face spending a minimum of six days in jail. As with a simple OVI conviction, you can expect your maximum jail sentence to be six months, your maximum fine to be $1,075, and your driving privileges suspension to last for 15 days.

Second conviction

If you receive a second simple OVI conviction within a 10-year period, this is still a first-degree misdemeanor, but the judge could sentence you to 10 days in jail or five days in jail plus an additional 18 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring and/or continuous alcohol monitoring. Here you face paying a fine of between $525 and $1,625, plus losing your driving privileges for 45 days. You also face going to mandatory treatment for alcohol and/or drug abuse.

Should your second conviction within 10 years occur under circumstances where you refused to take the tests or tested high for alcohol or drugs in your system, you can expect your fine, mandatory treatment and loss of driving privileges to be the same as with a simple OVI second conviction, but here your jail sentence increases. Now the judge can choose to sentence you to 20 days in jail or 10 days in jail followed by 16 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring and/or continuous alcohol monitoring.

As you might expect, the penalties continue to increase with each OVI conviction you receive. Ultimately you could spend up to five years in prison and have to pay a fine ranging from $1,350 to $10,500. In addition, you could have to forfeit your vehicle.