Since it happens to a lot of different people from all walks of life, Ohio residents may be tempted to think that getting an OVI charge, which is Ohio’s terminology for a DUI, is not a big deal.
In fact, though, depending on one’s facts and circumstances, any drunk driving charge, even a misdemeanor, is very serious and can potentially land even a first-time offender in jail.
For instances, in many types of drunk driving cases, Ohio law requires judges to impose a mandatory minimum term in jail. The term in jail, which can be for well over a week, must be consecutive, meaning that a person cannot report to jail on days he or she does not have work but then return to his or her job as normal.
There are some exceptions to this rule, as judges do have some leeway to impose alternative punishments. However, these alternatives may not be much better than a jail term given what is required in terms of commitment and expense.
Furthermore, without regard to whether there is a mandatory minimum jail term, a judge in Ohio is free to send a defendant to jail for an OVI, even for a first offense with no aggravating circumstances. Additionally, a person is going to have to pay fines and other fees for things like probation, alcohol education classes and the like. They will also likely have to serve a license suspension.
In short, no one should take an OVI charge lightly, even if it came about under one-time circumstances that even the best, most law-abiding Ohio residents find themselves in. A person charged with an OVI can and is encouraged to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.