The state of Ohio takes drunk driving, or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), very seriously.
For the past few decades, Ohio (along with other states in the nation) have been cracking down on drunk driving. Efforts have included increased enforcement, sobriety checkpoints, and the use of mandatory breathalyzer tests. Drivers risk being charged with an OVI or related offense after just one drink or even legal drug use.
More recently, Ohio has toughened its OVI laws further.
In 2017, the Ohio legislature passed Ohio House Bill 388—colloquially known as Annie’s Law—that made significant changes to OVI laws. The law went into affect just over a year ago, on April 6, 2017.
The law included the following changes:
- Increased the mandatory minimum suspension of a driver’s license from 6 months to 1 year for first-time offenders
- Allows unlimited driving privileges to be given to first-time offenders with ignition interlock devices installed in their car
- Allows drivers to reduce the time period of a license suspension by 50 percent if they install an ignition interlock device
- Requires first-time offenders with an ignition interlock device installed to obtain a specific driver’s license
- Allows judges to lengthen license suspensions, impose continuous alcohol monitoring, and increase fines for ignition interlock device violations
- Increases the minimum license suspension for second-time offenders from 1-5 years to 1-7 years
- Allows second-time offenders to apply for an ignition interlock device in order to avoid the mandatory 90-day immobilization (forfeiture of their car)
- Increases the minimum license suspension for third-time offenders to 2-12 years
- Allows third-time offenders to reduce their license suspension to one year with the installation of an ignition interlock device
Annie’s Law also strengthened OVI law with regard to multiple offenses. The law extended the “look-back period” from 6 years to 10 years. If you have been convicted of an OVI in the past, this is information you need to know.
The look-back period refers to the amount of time an offense remains in your criminal history. This is the period of time the court system considers when determining your charges and penalties. For example, if you were convicted of an OVI 5 years ago and are currently facing OVI charges, you would face charges as a second-time offender. If, however, your last OVI conviction was 11 years ago, the prosecutor may charge you as if you were a first-time offender. This is because the date of your previous conviction goes back farther than the look-back period.
The look-back period is designed to balance the rights of the defendant against the government’s desire to deter drunk driving. A look-back period that is too short may not identify those with multiple offenses; however, an excessively long look-back period unfairly punishes those would make one mistake years ago.
What penalties do you face?
The penalties for an OVI conviction, even for a first-time offender, are severe—but those for a second or later offense are even more punishing.
For a second OVI conviction within the last 10 years, the potential penalties include the following:
- A jail sentence of 10 days at minimum and 6 months at maximum
- House arrest with electronic alcohol monitoring
- Assessment by a community addiction services provider
- A fine between $525 and $1,625
- Immobilization of your vehicle for 90 days
- Minimum license suspension of 1 year to a maximum of 7 years
The penalties only increase for third, fourth, and further offenses. If you have been convicted of prior OVI offenses, you may face felony charges. A conviction of this type of felony could result in a prison sentence, thousands of dollars in fines, and criminal forfeiture of your vehicle.
Contact Us Today
If you are facing OVI charges, it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced Ohio OVI attorney—particularly if you have been convicted in the past. An experienced, knowledgeable OVI attorney can help you minimize the damage that comes with multiple convictions. Depending on your case, you may be able to reduce the penalties through installation of an ignition interlock device, reduce the charges, or even have the charges dismissed entirely.
Casper & Casper can help. We have extensive experience defending clients charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, and we do everything in our power to get our clients the best possible outcome.
Call us today to set up a free consultation and discuss your case with a qualified OVI lawyer. We have offices in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Dayton, and Middletown for your convenience.