The penalties for an underage OVI conviction in the state of Ohio can be even more severe than those for adult OVI. A driver has engaged in OVI when he or she operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit. The legal limit is set by the state, and in Ohio, as in many states, the adult limit is .08 percent. However, for drivers under the age of 21 – the age at which it is legal to purchase and consume alcohol – the limit is .02. One might wonder why the limit for underage drivers is not set at .00 since underage drivers aren’t allowed to have been drinking at all. To lend some perspective, some of the products we use in our daily lives, such as mouthwash, contain enough alcohol to trigger a .00 – .02 BAC.

Penalties for Underage OVI In The State Of Ohio

If an underage driver operates a vehicle while possessing a BAC of .02 – .08, the incident will be prosecuted as an underage drinking and driving (UDD) offense. For this offense, a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $250 may be imposed.
If the underage driver’s BAC is above .08, the incident will be prosecuted as an operating a vehicle under the influence offense. For a first offense OVI, a jail sentence of 10 to 365 days will be imposed, as will a fine of $500 – $1,000 and a license suspension of 6 – 36 months.

The jail sentence on an underage that is over a .08 is the same as an adult: 3 to 180 days in jail, a fine of $375-$1075 and a license suspension of 6months to 3 years.

For underage drivers, the ramifications often extend beyond those affecting adult drivers. Depending on the presence of alcohol in the vehicle, and the events preceding arrest, an underage driver charged with UDD or OVI may also be charged with soliciting alcohol, minor in possession, distributing alcohol to other minors, and possession of false identification. Additionally, an underage driver convicted of OVI or UDD may also face insurance-related consequences. Some insurance providers will cease to provide coverage after an underage driver is convicted of OVI or UDD. At the very least, the insurance company may raise its rates – sometimes dramatically, and for up to 5 years.

What To Do If You Have Been Charged With Underage DUI/OVI In Ohio

If you have been charged with underage UDD or OVI in the state of Ohio, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Columbus DUI attorney at Suhre & Associates, LLC as soon as possible. Besides fines, jail time, license suspension, and insurance issues, having an underage OVI conviction on your record could impact your ability to get a job or receive the education you need for your future. An attorney will discuss the specifics of your case, explain your legal rights, and explore the existence of defenses to the charges against you. With so much at stake, contact a skilled attorney at our office today to help you in this stressful time.