The Fines, Penalties and Consequences of OVI Convictions in Ohio

The Fines, Penalties and Consequences of OVI Convictions in Ohio
Most of us would agree that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is wrong and should not be done. Unfortunately, it is all too common and Ohio is no different. OVI, or Operating a Vehicle Impaired, is a serious criminal offense that carries considerable fines, penalties, and consequences. Understanding these repercussions can help drivers make informed decisions that keep them and others safe on the road.

A first time OVI conviction can result in a hefty fines of up to $1,000, suspended license for a minimum of one year with limited driving privileges, and a mandatory 72 hours in jail or completion of a three-day driver intervention program. Drivers who do not stay sober through suspension will face further penalties such as additional jail time, higher fines, and longer license suspensions. Drivers who choose to drive during license suspension can face charges of driving without a license which is an additional felony – resulting in prison time, and fines. Other possible consequences include having an interlock device installed on the vehicle, court and lawyer fees, and higher insurance rates.

When you factor in the personal consequences that come with an OVI conviction, such as a permanent criminal record, loss of driving privileges, and possibly loss of employment, it becomes apparent just how serious the ramifications are. Your ability to be mobile and go about your regular life is hampered and can take a great toll on your daily activities. Loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to own a firearm, may also result.

It is not only possible but likely a driver convicted of an OVI will be required to obtain an SR22 insurance policy. These policies are seen as much higher risk than other policies, resulting in substantially more expensive rates. Additionally, with an SR22 policy your insurance company will likely require increased security deposits and offer cheaper coverage, leaving less if an accident occurs.

Often, auto insurance companies, policy holders and other drivers pay the price for uninsured and underinsured drivers convicted of OVIs. Independent drivers may be forced to raise their rates in order to make up for losses associated with these drivers. But, auto insurance companies are also impacted and may need to pass on the cost of unchecked or underinsured drivers with increased premiums or dropping unwanted policies.

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Unfortunately, a single OVI conviction may lead to addiction and repeat offenses, complicating the consequences. Some may struggle with addiction and continue to drink and drive which results in an even greater charge of aggravated vehicular assault. Aggravated vehicular assault is a felony with far greater penalties, including 6- 18 months in prison, fines of $2,500- $10,000, and long-term license suspension. This charge can also cause higher insurance premiums and impact your driving record and employment status for years.

And due to high recidivism rates, repeat offenders will likely face longer sentences with harsher penalties, including additional jail time in a detention center and felony status. Furthermore, community service or court probation may be required for a guilty conviction.

OSOs, or Substance Abuse Disorder Board Assessments, are additional penalties that come with an OVI. If a substance abuse disorder is found to have contributed to the impaired driving, the court may require time in a treatment facility with the fines and other penalties already sustained.

In Ohio, a judge has the power to double the fines and penalties for OVI convictions. If double the fines and penalties are imposed, a driver may find themselves with an even greater financial burden to bear. Sometimes judges will use these increased fines to cover attorneys and court fees. Long-term license suspension, community control sanctions, compounding alcohol and drug abuse therapies, drug tests, jail sentences, jail alternative programs, restitution to victims, and vehicle immobilization may be factors as well.

In some cases, a court may require burn out license plates to be made available to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Burn out plates shift the cost of the conviction back to the offender. The plates contain etchings that create an optical effect when showing motion, making the identification of the offenders car easier by law enforcement, such that at the first sign of impaired or dangerous driving, penalties kick in again.

Lastly, a conviction of OVI could possibly lead to a driver being labeled as a Habitual Offender. A Habitual Offender is someone charged with three OVI charges within a six-year period. The hearing requires a longer suspension period of four years, as well as the physical manifestation of the Habitual Offender status in the form of a set of yellow license plates that must be displayed for two years after licence reinstatement.

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The consequences of a single OVI are serious and far-reaching, and go beyond the financial burden. From tangible losses like increased insurance rates, to the intangible losses of a criminal record, it makes sense to take a sober approach to driving. Taking pause and thinking of the consequences associated with an OVI can make a huge difference in personal, occupational and even communal safety.

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