Ohio Penalties For Driving Under the Influence-First Offense

We are DUI-OVI attorneys with offices in Ashland, Ohio and offer free DUI consultations.

In Ohio, there are severe penalties for driving while intoxicated, even as a first offense. A driver who is stopped on suspicion of drunk driving must take a sobriety test. If the test shows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, the officer will confiscate and suspend the driver’s license immediately for a period of 90 days. For drivers under the age of 21, Ohio law states they are forbidden to operate a vehicle if their BAC .02 percent or more, but they are not subject to a license suspension until they reach a BAC of .08 percent.

If a driver suspected of drunk driving refuses to take a sobriety test, their license will be suspended for one year.

If convicted a first offense, it carries the following penalties:

  • A fine of between $375 and $1,075;
  • Suspension of your driver’s license between six months and three years, although limited driving privileges may be granted;
  • If the BAC is at least .08 percent, but less than .17 percent, 72 hours of incarceration are required. Jail time can be served at a participating driver intervention program, so long as the court agrees to the stipulation;
  • If the BAC is .17 percent or higher, the 72 hour incarceration is now mandatory, in addition to a 72 hour driver intervention program. If the driver refuses to attend the program, or the court deems they would not benefit from the program, they will receive a six-day jail term;
  • If the BAC is .17 percent or higher, the court will order an alcohol/drug assessment and may require treatment;
  • If the BAC is .17 percent or higher, a yellow DUI license plate will be required.

Ohio also uses Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) bracelets for second time offenders, although the court can order these for a first time offender as well. A SCRAM is an ankle bracelet that measures a person’s BAC through perspiration.

In Ohio, state laws permit the driver to petition the court for limited driving privileges during the time of suspension. A first offender who submitted to the breathalizer test cannot request limited driving privileges during the first 15 days of suspension. A first offender who refused the breathalizer cannot request limited driving privileges during the first 30 days of suspension. A driver who wants limited driving privileges must prove they have vehicle insurance before privileges will be granted.

A driver who holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL) will receive a suspension of their license for one year if they are convicted of a drunk driving offense. The driver does not have to be driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense to lose their CDL. You cannot obtain limited driving privileges during the suspension period for CDL purposes.

A drunk driving conviction will stay on the driver’s record forever. A driver abstract, used by insurance companies, will only go back three years but a drunk driving conviction can never be expunged from the actual driving record.