in ohio how many dui do you have to have beforeit a felony
Ohio has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the US. There’s a zero tolerance policy for intoxicated drivers, and getting caught can have serious, life-altering consequences. But how many DUI offenses before it becomes a felony in the Buckeye State?
Without a doubt, getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above the legal limit is dangerous, risking your safety, and the lives of others. DUI offenses in Ohio can put people behind bars. But just how many infractions until the crime is considered a felony?
In the state of Ohio, you can receive a DUI for any Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above .08%. If convicted, the court will impose a sentence depending on whether it’s a first or a subsequent offense. For a first-time DUI offense in Ohio, you could face a six-month sentence in jail, a six-month license suspension, fines, and fees upwards of $1,000.
If that’s not a wake-up call, you’re probably wondering when Ohio considers a DUI a felony offense. Like all other states, the Buckeye State draws the line at a fourth offense. If youre caught driving while intoxicated four times within a six-year period, you can expect to face more significant criminal penalties.
A fourth DUI charge in Ohio is classified as a fourth-degree felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to prison for up to 18 months, have your vehicle seized, and your license permanently revoked. You also wont be eligible for early release with Ohios direct file policy.
The Ohio Revised Code defines a fourth offense as any DUI within six years of a prior offense. So, if the time frame is, say, seven years, it may not be counted as a fourth offense. You may be held accountable for the DUI, but it won’t be a felony.
Ohio lawmakers have also created aggravated vehicular homicide if someone is killed due to drunk driving. This is a more serious felony offense than a fourth DUI, and it can sometimes, like a fourth or subsequent DUI, result in a prison sentence.
In addition to prison, exceeding the legal BAC limits has some serious financial implications. Besides the staggering fines, if convicted, you will likely be responsible for the costs of the prosecution of the case, your legal costs, probation fees, DUI discipline therapy, alcohol assessment fees, vehicle impoundment, and more.
Ohio also has an Automated Driver’s license Suspension Law. This means you will lose your license if you are pulled over and register a BAC level of .08% or higher on a Breathalyzer test, a test where you blow into a device to measure your BAC.
So, in Ohio, it takes four DUIs within a six-year period for the offense to become a felony. But along with stiffer penalties if convicted, the penalties for getting caught driving while intoxicated can be severe even before the fourth offense comes into play.
Not only do you risk your freedom, you also risk the respect of your family, your peers and the community. You also risk your insurance rates skyrocketing, your drivers license being suspended or revoked, and your record permanently tainted with a black mark.
In addition, Ohio is an implied consent state, meaning that when you get your driver’s license, you agree to submit to a Breathalyzer, blood, or urine test when pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. Refusing a Breathalyzer test could mean an additional six-month license suspension and more court-mandated fees on top of any jail time or fines you’re facing.
But the most significant consequence of all is the risk of killing someone or hurting them seriously. Every year, millions of people are injured or die after collisions involving drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When it comes to DUI offenses in Ohio, theres no getting around the penalties. The jarring effects of being charged with impaired driving far outweigh any temporary pleasures alcohol or drugs can bring. It pays to remember, you have more to lose than your vehicle, your drivers license, and your freedomyou could also lose your life. Is it worth it?
What about the medical costs and other damages associated with a DUI-related accident? If youre convicted, these will also be your responsibility, and thats something that could haunt you for the rest of your life. Not to mention the emotional toll it takes on you, your family, and your friends.
It is important to understand that each Ohio DUI offense comes with an increasingly harsh set of penalties. For those caught four times or more within the six-year limitation period, the crime becomes a felony. And not only could you serve time in prison but you face serious financial repercussions.
Altogether, DUI offenses and subsequent convictions are incredibly costly, both in terms of social cost and financial burden. This is why state lawmakers and those in the fight for safer roads have worked hard in recent years to offer an alternative, an opportunity to make amends while learning about the risks of driving under the influence.
Ohios Alcohol Intervention Program (AIP) was created as a way for DUI offenders to reduce the risk of repeat offenses in the future. This court-mandated, therapeutic program is aimed at teaching offenders about the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking.
But the reality is that driving under the influence is serious business, and the best defense against any type of DUI is not to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Period. Not only do DUI offenses and subsequent convictions come with a hefty fine, you could also face jail time, and could even lose your life if someone else is hurt or killed as a result of your reckless behavior.
No matter the level of intoxication, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated can have fatal consequences. Before you even consider driving, do yourself a favor and ask yourself if it’s worth the potential life-altering repercussions. All it takes is one mistake to cost you everything.