What Happens When You Get an Underage DUI in Ohio?

Being stopped on suspicion of DUI is a frightening experience for anyone, but especially so when you are under the age of 21. You may have no idea what will happen next, what you are facing, or how it will affect your future. To be sure, there are somewhat different rules for underage DUI than for DUI charges for adults. The BAC limit for an adult is 0.08 percent, while the BAC limit for an underage individual in Ohio is 0.02 percent—equal to having a single beer. 

Officers who encounter an underage driver who appears to have been drinking will likely issue a field sobriety test followed by a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine). The charge for an underage driver is OVUAC (Operating a Vehicle after Underage Consumption) when the BAC is between 0.02 to 0.08 percent. If the BAC is over 0.08 percent, the minor will be charged with DUI/OVI per se, accompanied by an Administrative License Suspension.  

What Are the Long and Short-Term Consequences of a Centerville Underage DUI?

A first-time underage DUI is a fourth-degree misdemeanor offense with the possibility of up to 30 days in jail and $250 in fines. The minor’s driver’s license will be suspended for a period of three months to two years. The court can issue the driver unlimited driving privileges during the suspension period when the underage driver has an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. Minor drivers who agree to the ignition interlock device requirement can have their jail sentence suspended and the overall suspension period reduced. 

An offender who is under the age of 18 and holds a probationary or instruction permit may be required to retake the licensing exams and may order the driver to only drive when supervised by a parent or guardian. A yellow license plate, alcohol treatment, and probation may also be included in the penalties. While it is unlikely that a judge would sentence a first-time underage DUI offender to any jail time, the judge may want to make an example of the offender. 

In the long-term, an underage DUI could potentially cause issues when applying for college, while the driver’s license suspension could result in an inability to get to school and work as needed. Having a highly skilled DUI attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz can make the difference between the level of adverse consequences you will face. We apply the same thorough process used for DUI clients over the age of 21 as we do for underage DUI individuals. We obtain all the evidence, conduct a thorough investigation, seek to exclude evidence when possible, and negotiate with the prosecutor for the best outcome. 

Are There Certain Factors That Help Determine the Outcome of an Underage DUI?

On the positive side, if you have never been in any prior legal trouble, are possibly willing to plead to a lesser charge, and have a good attendance/grade high school or college record, the judge may be willing to take it easy on your first DUI offense. Further, if your attorney can show there were errors on the part of the police or errors in your breathalyzer or chemical test, you will probably have a much more positive outcome—perhaps even having the charges dropped entirely. If, on the other hand, you do have a prior criminal record, are not employed or in school, and there were no errors by police, your sentence may be as harsh as the law allows. 

How Long Will Your License Be Suspended for a DUI Under 21?

Following an underage DUI arrest, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will immediately suspend your driver’s license. You have a small window of time to request limited driving privileges or to appeal the suspension. An underage DUI conviction will result in a license suspension from a minimum of 90 days up to a maximum of two years. The amount of time your suspension will last can potentially be shortened by one or more of the following: 

  • Having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle 
  • Requesting a provisional license for work and school
  • Having Ohio DUI license plates.

Once your suspension has ended, you will be required to file financial responsibility vehicle insurance, pay a $475 reinstatement fee, and retake the driver’s license exam. Having a highly experienced underage DUI attorney for the administrative appeal process—as well as for your criminal charges—can make a significant difference. The administrative appeal process can provide your attorney with valuable information that can be used in your criminal case. 

Will a Centerville Underage DUI Ruin Your Life?

While a Centerville underage DUI certainly does not have to ruin your life, it can make your life very difficult. The DUI charges can affect college admissions, job searches, and even securing an apartment. If your BAC was measured above the legal limit of 0.08 percent (for those over 21), you face a minimum of ten days in jail, which could affect your current work or school. Remember—these consequences will only happen if you are convicted. You have the right to have a strong defense attorney who will fight for your future. The Horwitz & Horwitz attorneys have twenty-five years of experience helping young people achieve the best possible outcome for their underage DUI charges. 

How a Horwitz & Horwitz DUI Attorney Can Help

When charged with a Centerville underage DUI, it is normal to be anxious about how these charges will affect you now and in the future. You need reassurance and compassion from your attorney—combined with the drive and determination to fight for you. The Horwitz & Horwitz attorneys bring all these things to the table. We never hand off your case to other staff members. The attorney you speak with will be by your side from start to finish. We believe in you and believe you should not pay such a high price for what was likely a one-time error in judgment. Don’t wait—contact the skilled, knowledgeable DUI attorneys from Horwitz & Horwitz.

Related Link

What Happens to First Time DUI Offenders?