If you are charged with a DUI/OVI (i.e. driving under the influence/operating a vehicle while intoxicated) in Ohio and already have a DUI/OVI conviction on your record, be prepared for a fight. Many prosecutors are not lenient on defendants who already have a DUI/OVI conviction. Furthermore, the penalties, under Ohio law, become more severe with each conviction. For example, the amount of the monetary fines increase, the length of jail time increases, and the length of an administrative license suspension increases. In fact, a second or subsequent DUI/OVI conviction may result in:
- Jail time;
- Having to forfeit your vehicle;
- Having to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle; and
- Having to register as a DUI/OVI habitual offender.
Escalating Scale of Punishment
If you are convicted of a second DUI/OVI within six years, you will have to serve a minimum mandatory jail sentence of ten consecutive days. If you refused to take a Breathalyzer test or took the test and had a high BAC, the amount can double to 20 consecutive days. The license suspension can be between one year to up to five years. You will also have to undergo mandatory rehabilitation treatment, have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and your vehicle will have to remain immobile for up to 90 days.
The penalties only get worse for a third Ohio DUI/OVI conviction within six years. If you are convicted three times, you’re looking at 30 consecutive days as a minimum mandatory jail sentence. Once again, this amount can double to 60 days if you refused to take a Breathalyzer test or had a high BAC. Your license will be suspended for at least two years and up to 10 years. You will also have to undergo mandatory rehabilitation treatment, have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and relinquish your vehicle to the authorities.
A fourth DUI/OVI conviction in six years is quite serious since the offense escalates to a felony. This means you’re looking at a minimum 60-day jail sentence with even more possible if you had a high BAC and refused to take a Breathalyzer test. All of the other penalties mentioned above will also be enforced.
What to Do If You Have Multiple DUI/OVI Convictions
If you are facing DUI/OVI charges and have a record of past DUI/OVI convictions, you can still fight the new charges. You are not required to simply accept the guilty plea and face a damaging sentence. Each time you are charged, you have the same defenses available to you and your Constitutionally-protected rights are never waived.
You may be able to challenge the arrest entirely. For example, an investigation needs to be conducted into whether the stop was necessary and whether the officer followed the necessary steps when administering the Breathalyzer test. If they failed to follow protocol, that evidence could be thrown out.