What Happens to First-Time DUI Offenders?

Being arrested and charged with DUI in Centerville can be a frightening, stressful incident. Many individuals who have never before broken the law, may have a bit too much to drink and then get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, despite the fact that good people do occasionally make poor choices, the consequences of such a choice could have long-term repercussions.  

Ohio uses the terms DUI and OVI—DUI is driving under the influence, while OVI is operating a vehicle under the influence. Ohio law allows a person to be charged with DUI or OVI when a chemical test shows a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher (and also specifies the level of other drugs that result in legal intoxication). If you are facing first DUI charges in Centerville, do not take these charges lightly. Contact a highly experienced Centerville DUI attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC today. 

Will I Go to Jail Following a First DUI Arrest in Centerville?

If you are arrested in Centerville and charged with DUI, one of three things will happen after you are booked (depending on your current condition, whether you have a prior criminal record, whether you harmed anyone in an accident that led to your arrest, your employment and other ties to the community, and the individual policy of the local police force): 

  • You may be held in a jail cell
  • Bail may be an option, depending on the circumstances
  • You could be allowed to leave on your own recognizance

If you are not given the opportunity to post bail or leave on your own, you will probably face a judge for your initial court appearance, usually within a few hours of booking. At that time, your bail will be set by the judge, or you will be released on your own recognizance. The sooner you contact a knowledgeable DUI attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz, the better the outcome of your arrest. 

Can a First DUI in Ohio Be Dismissed?

Whether your DUI can be dismissed will depend on the unique factors surrounding your arrest. In some cases, an experienced Centerville DUI attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal with the state. This plea deal would likely reduce your charges to lesser charges or reduce the penalties you are facing. Successful plea bargaining usually involves entering a plea to a lesser traffic offense like reckless operation, but can also result from any of the following: 

  • The underlying traffic stop or arrest could be challenged if it could be deemed an unreasonable stop or an unreasonable search and seizure. Probable cause must be present for a police officer to stop you in the first place—you must have committed some traffic infraction or otherwise given the officer reason to stop you. Once stopped, there must be compelling evidence that you are inebriated—such as a strong smell of alcohol, red eyes, or slurred speech. 
  • An officer’s interrogation could be challenged if you were not read your Miranda Rights, or if your request for an attorney is ignored. 
  • Your blood alcohol level or breathalyzer test may be challenged for a variety of reasons. The breathalyzer machine may not have been properly maintained or calibrated, or the police officer may not have followed procedure when obtaining the breath sample. Additionally, there are many different issues related to the specific individual that can create a falsely high breathalyzer reading.  

What Are the Penalties for a Centerville First DUI Conviction?

Even a first DUI conviction can cause significant problems, both in terms of criminal penalties, driver penalties, and long-term consequences.  A first-time offender is one who has not had a DUI conviction within the prior 10 years—or 20 years for those who refused a chemical test. Impaired driving offenses in Ohio are usually divided into two “tiers”—a low-level tier, and a high-level tier. 

A low-level tier includes those with a BAC of at least 0.08 percent, but less than 0.17 percent. A high-level tier involves a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher. A first DUI is a first-degree misdemeanor, regardless of whether it is a low-level tier or a high-level tier, however, the penalties differ. For a low-level first DUI conviction, you could face the following penalties:

  • Three days in jail (that could be substituted by three days of a driver intervention program that you pay for yourself), with the potential for up to six months in jail
  • A minimum driver’s license suspension of one year, with the possibility of limited driving privileges to and from work or school, with a maximum suspension of up to three years 
  • Minimum fines of $375, although judges often impose higher fines up to $1,075
  • At the discretion of the court, a low-level offender may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle or to display a restricted special license plate

A high-level first DUI conviction could result in the following penalties:

  • Six days in jail, with the possibility of three of those served in a driver intervention program at your own expense, up to a maximum of six months in jail. 
  • A license suspension of up to three years, with the possibility of limited driving privileges to and from work or school—or unlimited driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock device. Jail time can potentially be suspended with the installation of an interlock device. 
  • Fines as large as $1,075
  • If you are granted driving privileges, you may be required to display a restricted special license plate on your vehicle

How Can a DUI Attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz Help?

Ohio penalties for DUI offenses increased in 2017 under Annie’s Law (HB 388). For many, being arrested for DUI/OVI is their first brush with the law. As such, it can be an extremely difficult time. This one single mistake has the potential to change your life for a very long time, however, having a strong Centerville DUI attorney in your corner can change the trajectory of your charges. The Horwitz & Horwitz DUI lawyers have 45 years of combined legal experience. 

We use this experience—along with our knowledge of Ohio DUI laws and the skills gained in local Centerville DUI courts—to secure the very best outcome for your DUI charges. We never hand off your case to other staff members, rather we will be with you from start to finish. If you are seeking straightforward advice, compassion, and a high level of experience, contact Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC today. 

Related Link

What Happens When You Get an Underage DUI in Ohio?