Q: Will I spend time in jail?
A: There are many factors that determine this answer. For every OVI client that walks in the door, six questions are asked:
- What was your BAC (blood alcohol content)? Note: .08 is beyond the legal limit, and above .17 is what is referred to as high tier. High tier and refusal to take the breathalyzer both automatically double your penalties.
- Did you have insurance? Note: While not necessarily relevant to your time in jail, if you did not have insurance at the time of the incident, the state, not the court, will automatically suspend your driver’s license.
- Was there an accident/was anyone injured? Note: Some judges may view an accident as an escalating factor when sentencing you.
- Were you cooperative? Note: Most judges give the police great deference. If you were “mouthy” or disrespectful to the officer, you may have picked up another charge, and the judge may use this as an escalating factor in sentencing.
- What is your traffic and criminal history? Note: If you are, say, 50 years old and this is your first OVI, and you have no other prior criminal or traffic history, you can likely expect the mandatory minimum sentence. However, if you are a 19-year-old, you have no job, this is your third OVI, you have other drug and theft charges, and maybe some domestic violence thrown in the mix — well, I would certainly not expect you to be home for dinner that night.
- What is your expectation? There are mandatory minimums and required sentences that the judges cannot deviate from under any circumstance. Such standards have been set by the legislature. Our goal is to minimize the entire sentence. Below are the expectations for each occurrence.
Q: What are driving privileges?
A: In many cases, the court will grant occupational driving privileges to individuals who are charged with an OVI. You should expect privileges to, from and in the course of employment, day care if you have children, school, medical appointments and church. Some courts will give you free time on one day for a few hours to complete necessary errands (banking, grocery, etc.). Make sure you do not deviate for any reason from these privileges. If you go to work and run out for lunch, you are outside of your driving privileges, and you could receive a probation violation.
Q: What is the look-back period between OVIs for escalation?
A: Up until fairly recently it was six years. Today, the look-back time period is 10 years. A first OVI in 10 years has certain mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, such as three days in jail, and most courts allow you to take a three-day Driver Intervention Program (DIP) in lieu of jail. However, if you are charged with a second OVI in that next 10-year span and convicted, it automatically makes your mandatory minimum jail time 10 days.