This year, in an effort to decrease car accident deaths related to impaired driving during the holiday season, Ohio state police and the Ohio Department of Public Safety (OSHP) are making an extra effort to catch individuals driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Ohio Holiday OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol offense) arrests increased 28 percent in the first holiday reporting period from December 23 to 26, and Ohio state police plan to continue the trend throughout the second holiday reporting period, starting Midnight on December 30, 2010, through 11:59 p.m. on January 2, 2011.
The 28 percent increase in Patrol OVI arrests during the first holiday reporting period correlates to a similar trend over the past year. According to the OSHP Activity Statistics Statewide report, year-to-date, troopers have made over 1,500 more total OVI arrests this year than last year. Police are looking for signs of impaired driving, failure to use seat belts and distracted drivers.
Ohio police attribute the increased OVI arrests to the state's lowest number of holiday fatalities in the past four years and a 43 percent decrease in fatalities from last year, regarding the first holiday reporting period. During the second holiday reporting period last year, 10 people lost their lives on Ohio's roadways with seven of the deaths involving an impaired driver. Ohio police efforts are made with good intentions but there are serious consequences for someone charged with an OVI in Ohio.
The most common OVI in Ohio is a First OVI offense, typically a misdemeanor of the first degree under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19 but may increase severity if someone is killed or injured as a result of impaired driving. An individual who reportedly operates any vehicle, under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination of alcohol and controlled substances, and their BAC was over the legal limit of .08% may be charged with First OVI.
Penalties for a First OVI conviction include a class five driver's license suspension under Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.02 for a definite period ranging from six months to three years that may be revised to allow certain driving privileges under Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.021 for occupational, educational or vocational purposes, in addition to attending court-ordered treatment or taking a driver's license exam.
A first OVI conviction provides for a maximum jail sentence of up to six months in jail. Further, for even the least serious OVI offense, a person who has been convicted is required to spend a mandatory 72 consecutive hours in jail (or three consecutive days). However, under the court's discretion, a Driver's Intervention Program may replace mandatory jail time.
Also, the court is required to impose a fine not less than $375 and not more than $1,075. The court may require other restrictions such as an Ignition Interlock Device. Other OVI offenses and penalties become more serious but include Second OVI, Third OVI, underage OVI and Felony OVI.
If you have been accused of an OVI offense in Ohio, it is important to understand your rights. Contact a Columbus DUI defense attorney if you have been charged with an OVI in Columbus or one of the surrounding areas within Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County. Also, you can call 614-444-1900 to schedule a free detailed consultation with Columbus OVI defense lawyer, Brian Joslyn of Joslyn Law Firm.