The penalties for getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol are severe in Ohio. Motorists in the Buckeye State convicted for driving under the influence for the first time face up to six months in jail, and repeat offenders can lose their driving privileges for up to 10 years. Drivers who believe that refusing to submit to breath or blood tests will help them to avoid these penalties may be wise to think again. Violating Ohio’s implied consent law results in a mandatory driver’s license suspension, and the prosecutor involved could seek to pursue the case anyway if there is compelling evidence of impairment.
Drunk driving statistics in Ohio
In 2018, police departments in Ohio arrested more than 26,000 motorists for violating the state’s drunk driving laws. Many of these drivers were taken into custody after they caused accidents resulting in serious injury or death. Here are some other sobering 2018 statistics.
• Drunk driving accidents claimed 294 lives.
• Almost three-quarters of these fatal accidents involved a motorist with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher.
• These high-BAC motorists had previous DUI convictions 72.7% of the time.
• Motorists between the ages of 21 and 34 are the demographic group most likely to be killed in a drunk driving accident in Ohio.
OVI penalties in Ohio
These statistics show that individuals who consume large quantities of alcohol and have a history of drunk driving are responsible for most of the impaired driving deaths. This is why the OVI penalties in Ohio now focus on rehabilitation as well as punishment. In addition to traditional sanctions like jail time, fines, community service, and probation, offenders with substance abuse problems may be ordered to attend counseling sessions and have ignition interlock devices fitted to their vehicles.
OVI charges may be dismissed if the police officers involved initiated traffic stops without the requisite reasonable suspicion or conducted toxicology tests improperly. Drunk driving cases could also collapse if the equipment used to perform breath tests was poorly maintained or blood samples were mishandled. In rare instances, an affirmative defense like involuntary intoxication or necessity may be mounted.