How to Prevent a Felony DUI Charge
The most obvious answer for preventing a felony DUI (driving under the influence) or OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) is to not drive after having too much to drink. There are many strategies to avoid driving drunk. If you have one or two DUI convictions, you need to take extra care not to tread into DUI felony territory. There are some key strategies to help you avoid driving drunk. They include:
- Take a taxi or public transportation if you’ve been drinking
- Drink at home
- Get a friend to take you home if you’ve had too much to drink and you suspect you may be over the limit
- Drink slowly and eat a full meal
If these strategies don’t work, it is important to know the difference between misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. Under the following circumstances, OVI/DUI is a misdemeanor offense if:
- No one is injured
- There is no extensive property damage
- This is your first DUI/OVI charge
A misdemeanor could result in up to a year of jail time. Costs and fines are substantial even for a first time, non-felony DUI/OVI. In Ohio, a first time DUI arrest and conviction will earn you an administrative license suspension (ALS) of 90 days, in addition to a court-ordered suspension, which will be between six months and three years. Penalties for the first time offense are set according to your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. If the BAC was between .08% and .17%, there is a mandatory three-day jail stay.
The first offense fine may go as high as almost $1,100, provided there is no property damage or injuries. Reinstating your license costs about $475. If you’re ordered to take substance abuse or rehabilitation classes, the cost is from $100 to $500. Installing an ignition interlock system in your automobile costs about $100 for installation and monthly fees between $65 and $100. The largest continuing expense from a non-felony, first time DUI will likely be insurance premium increases, provided they insure you at all. An OVI/DUI conviction on your record could increase insurance rates from $1,000 to $1,500 per year for up to three years.
However, if this is a second or third OVI offense, fines and jail time increase with each charge. Even if second or third offenses can still be classified as misdemeanors, the costs can increase dramatically with each offense.
A fourth or fifth OVI conviction in Ohio is a felony. The fourth conviction is a felony if the three previous convictions were within six years. The fifth conviction is a felony if the four prior convictions were within twenty years. Felony offenders face prison time and rehabilitation upon release. Fines alone are up to $10,000 for a felony conviction.
Need a traffic ticket attorney in Columbus, Ohio?
If you’re facing DUI or OVI charges in Columbus, Ohio, you need an experienced attorney who will review your case and create a strategy to either win the case or mitigate the potential damage to your record. This will protect your driving record, your license, and possibly even your livelihood. The skilled, trusted legal representation Probst Law Office offers the help you need to be sure you have the best representation possible in fighting DUI/OVI charges. Get the experience that you need and deserve when you hire Michael Probst as your attorney. Contact Michael today for your free consultation, or call now at 614-232-8890.