After Tougher DUI Laws, Drunk Driving Still a Problem in Ohio

Ohio Drunk driving continues to be a problem, where laws regarding driving under the influence have grown increasingly stringent. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all Ohio residents avoid driving drunk or under the influence of a controlled substance.

In September 2009, the Supreme Court of Ohio upheld the constitutionality of a state law mandating 10 additional days of jail time for offenders who refuse blood alcohol content testing (or other chemical tests) and are convicted of a second DUI offense within a 6 year period. In other words, if a motorist is convicted of a DUI and then arrested for a second DUI within 6 years, and subsequently convicted, he or she will receive an additional and mandatory 10-day ail sentence for refusing a breathalyzer or other chemical test during the second DUI arrest. On a DUI conviction for a third offense within a 6 year period, an individual faces the possibility of an additional 30 days in jail for refusing a breathalyzer or other chemical test during the third DUI arrest.

Ohio, like many other states, imposes an “implied consent” law, which means that drivers implicitly agree to consent to chemical testing (whether blood, breath or some other form) if a police officer has probable cause to believe an individual is driving while intoxicated. This means that when you get behind the wheel, you are giving law enforcement the right to administer chemical testing if they believe you might be under the influence of alcohol or a drug of abuse.

Some of the tougher DUI laws implemented in Ohio, such as the one described above, simply impose greater penalties for drivers who do not abide by the implied consent law. Penalties are typically greater for repeat offenders; those who continue to be arrested for DUIs are more likely to spend time in jail and to lose their driver’s licenses for extended periods of time.

Ohio penalties for drunk driving also include an administrative license suspension (ALS) imposed by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, vehicle confiscation and mandatory alcohol treatment.

The problem, of course, is that the tougher DUI laws do not seem to be making a difference in the number of citizens who get behind the wheel while intoxicated. More than 40,000 Ohio residents have been convicted of a DUI offense five or more times, and although names of habitual offenders are supposed to be published on the Internet, a tiny fraction of those thousands of offenders have actually made it onto the list.