In Ohio, if you are under the age of 21, arrested for a DUI, and asked to submit to a breath test, your legal limit is not the same as an adult. The legal breath test limit for anyone over the age of 21 is .08. The legal breath test limit for anyone under the age of 21 is .02, a significantly lower legal limit. If are under 21, submit to a breath test and blow above .02, you are likely to be charged with Operation of a Vehicle after Underage Consumption or OVUAC.
Contact the highly skilled Columbus underage DUI lawyers at our firm at (614) 500-3836 if you’ve been charged with underage drinking and driving.
Penalties for OVUAC
If you are ultimately convicted of an OVUAC, there are a number of mandatory penalties your judge may enforce. You will have a suspended license for a minimum of 90 days. The first 60 days of your suspension is considered “hard time,” meaning you will not be eligible for any driving privileges for the first 60 days of your suspension.
Additional mandatory penalties for an OVUAC conviction include:
- A fine of up to $250
- A possible jail sentence for up to 30 days
- Retesting for you license (both written and driving exams)
- Required completion of an eight-hour remedial driving class (no BMV credit)
- Requirement to maintain an SR 22 insurance bond on file with the BMV
An underage DUI charge is a serious alcohol-related offense. An OVUAC conviction carries a number of penalties that will immediately make your life difficult and follow you throughout the rest of your adult life. Therefore, it is critical that you give your OVUAC charge the attention it deserves.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for an OVUAC
If you get pulled over and suspected for an OVUAC, you should know that you do have rights. You have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, urine or blood test if there is no search warrant. Keep in mind that if you choose to refuse a chemical test, you will face a license suspension. Fortunately, a qualified Columbus DUI attorney may assist you in regaining driving privileges so that you can get to school and work if your license does get suspended.
Although you must provide the police officer with your name, driver’s license, and car insurance details, you do not have to answer any incriminating questions they may ask you. Examples of these types of questions include, “where did you drink?” and “how much do you think you’ve had to drink?”
It is in your best interest to remain silent and avoid saying or writing anything. It’s also important to inform the police that you’d like an underage drinking lawyer so that you’ll stop being questioned until they arrive.
Consult an Underage Drinking Lawyer
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we understand how stressful getting a DUI under 21 could be. That’s why a Columbus underage drinking lawyer at our firm will take an aggressive and thorough approach when representing you or any other client charged with an OVUAC.
The first goal on any OVUAC case is to get you driving privileges as soon as you’re eligible. The ultimate goal on any DUI under 21 case, prior to litigation, is to negotiate a reduction of the charge to a lesser offense, such as a reckless operation charge.
We may use some defense strategies such as:
- Probable Cause – A police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence in order to pull you over. Weaving, drifting, driving into crossing traffic, and straddling the center of two lanes may all give an officer a reasonable suspicion to stop you. If your stop was unconstitutional and there was no reasonable suspicion, your charges may get reduced or dismissed.
- Coerced Statements – The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to not make any incriminating statements against yourself. If a police officer used threats, isolation, or physical abuse to get you to admit a crime or say something you wouldn’t have said otherwise, a coerced statement defense may be used to improve your situation.
- Testing Errors – Often times, police officers do not follow the Ohio testing regulations when they administer chemical tests. When these regulations are disregarded, test results may be inaccurate. If your test was administered without adhering to correct testing procedures, the police officer was not properly trained to administer the test, the samples were not analyzed properly, or the results were incorrectly recorded, you could have a valid defense that may result in a charge reduction or dismissal.
Contact Our Columbus Underage DUI Lawyers Today
If you’ve been charged with an underage DUI in Ohio, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions or if you need one of our experienced Columbus underage DUI lawyers to fight for you in court, please contact us at (614) 500-3836.
OVUAC is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:
- A possible jail sentence of up to 30 days
- A fine of up to $250
- Requirement to retest (both written and driving) for your driver’s license
- Class 6 license suspension of 90 days to 2 years
- An SR 22 insurance bond requirement for a minimum of one year
- Required completion of an 8 hour remedial driving class
- Ohio Revised Code: Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs [Chapter 4511.19 (G)]