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When Does a DUI Become a Felony in Ohio?

In Ohio, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more can lead to a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). If you’ve never been accused of an OVI, you may not know that most first-time OVI charges are misdemeanors. These offenses carry significantly fewer or less severe punishments than felonies. For example, for a first-time OVI, you may face the following penalties:

  • 3 days to 6 months in jail
  • A fine of $375 to $1,075
  • Mandatory alcohol treatment program
  • Driver’s license suspension of 6 months to 3 years
  • Installation of the Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  • Mandatory yellow license plate

Second- and third-OVI punishments go up from there. For example, you may have to go to jail and be under electronically monitored house arrest, and you might have your license suspended for up to 5 years with a second conviction. A third OVI could result in license suspension of 10 years.

The misdemeanor becomes a felony on your fourth OVI conviction. If your fourth OVI is within 6 years of your previous offenses, you might be convicted of a fourth-degree felony. This conviction could lead to a prison sentence, lifetime license suspension, and a fine of up to $10,000. A second felony might mean 5 years in prison.

If this is your first OVI charge and someone was severely injured or killed as a result of your driving, you could face a first-degree felony. A charge of this nature results in a mandatory prison sentence of 10 years and a $20,000 fine, or a third-degree felony, which includes a mandatory prison term of 1 to 5 years.

Make sure your rights are protected. If you’re being charged with an OVI felony in Ohio, contact our Dayton DUI defense lawyers at Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC. Our criminal law experts can review your case in a free consultation.


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