The Buckeye state is no different than other states when it comes to drinking and driving — if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than .08%, you will be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence). However, just because a driver is charged with a DUI doesn’t mean that they will be convicted of a DUI.
Consequences of a DUI
If a driver is convicted of a DUI, they can face the following consequences including:
First Offense (first-degree misdemeanor):
- Driver’s license suspended for one to three years;
- Fines between $375-$1,075;
- Three days to six months in jail (the three days in jail can usually be suspended upon successful completion of the Weekend Intervention Program); and,
- Completion of other treatment or educational programs.
Second Offense Within 10 Years of First Offense (first-degree misdemeanor):
- Driver’s license suspended for one to seven years;
- Fines between $525-$1,625;
- 10 days to six months in jail (BAC between .08-.16);
- 20 days to six months in jail (BAC of .17 or higher); and,
- Alcohol monitoring and addiction assessment.
Third Offense Within 10 Years of the Previous Offenses (misdemeanor)
- Driver’s license suspended for two to twelve years;
- Fines between $850-$2,750;
- 30 days to one year in jail (BAC between .08-.16)
- 60 days to one year in jail (BAC of .17 or higher); and,
- Additional house arrest with electronic monitoring.
Consequences are much more severe if a driver is charged with a felony DUI including longer jail time, heftier fines, and a suspended license that could last an entire driver’s life.
Reducing DUI Charges
If a driver is facing a misdemeanor DUI charge and it’s their first offense (or first offense in 10 years after a previous offense), there is the possibility of a lawyer fighting down the DUI charge to another type of misdemeanor — reckless operation of a motor vehicle. This charge is usually a minor misdemeanor but if a driver already has another traffic conviction within the past year, then a reckless operation charge would be classified as a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If a driver has two or more traffic convictions within the past year and then receives a reckless operation charge, that charge will be classified as a misdemeanor of the third degree.
A reckless operation charge may result in up to four points on an individual’s driver’s license (a DUI usually results in six points). Additionally, if an individual is convicted of a reckless operation, their license suspension is discretionary, not mandatory like it is for a DUI. Fines for reckless operation are usually smaller too, with the average being around $150.
A second or greater conviction for reckless operation could result in a fine from $250-$500 and 30 to 60 days in jail.
In addition to the less severe consequences, having a DUI dropped to a reckless operation charge is critical for a driver’s future should they down the road be convicted of a DUI. Instead of having a previous DUI on their record, the driver will only have the reckless operation conviction which is a moving violation rather than a criminal offense.
What This Means for Your Driving Record
As previously shared, even if a DUI charge is reduced to a reckless operation charge, the BMV will still be aware of a driver’s driving record and keep track of points on their license. No matter how the points add up, if a driver has 12 points on their license within a two-year period, their license will be automatically suspended. To have their license reinstated, a driver must:
- Serve a six-month suspension;
- Complete a remedial driving course;
- Pay a reinstatement fee;
- Have a certificate of insurance (SR-22 in addition to mandated car insurance); and,
- Retake the written and physical driving exam.
Avoid a DUI Conviction on Your Record
DUI convictions can have a ripple effect of consequences. That’s why if possible, you don’t want to be convicted of one at all.
The team at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC has successfully argued down DUI charges to reckless operation of motor vehicle convictions. When you reach out to our attorneys, we’ll examine your case and see what we can do to help you. We are available day or night to assist you in your time of need. Contact us today at (937) 685-7006.