The Ohio police can take action against you for operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI) for three reasons. The first is that they notice obvious impairment as you drive and conduct a traffic stop. The second is that you cause a crash, requiring that they check you for chemical impairment. The third involved failing a chemical test without ever having displayed signs of impairment at the wheel.
In any of these scenarios, a driver could face jail time, fines and the temporary loss of their license. The amount of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream plays a major role in the criminal penalties that they face.
When someone has a very high level of alcohol in their body, Ohio will increase the penalties for their OVI offense.
How Ohio handles high-BAC OVI charges
The legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% for the average driver. Some drivers, like teenagers and those operating commercial vehicles, are subject to stricter limits. Having a significantly higher BAC can lead to more penalties than the typical OVI charge would carry.
Test results showing a BAC of 0.17% or higher will increase the penalties you face. A typical first-time OVI offense can lead to up to three days in jail and fines of up to $1,075. A judge may assess a fine closer to the upper limit of that range for a high-BAC OVI offense. The mandatory jail time doubles to six days.
Drivers with a high BAC will need to attend a three-day driving intervention course. They may also need to undergo alcohol education, install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles and install license plates that will allow the police to quickly identify them on the road.
Defending against a high-BAC OVI charge is possible
Maybe you did have a beer, but you know that one drink would never have raised your BAC to the level that the test displayed. Perhaps you didn’t have anything to drink at all, and you think that a medical issue, like diabetes, may have affected the chemical test.
There are numerous potential defense strategies available to those facing OVI charges in Ohio, ranging from challenging the traffic stopped itself to undermining the perceived accuracy of the chemical breath test. Reviewing the evidence against you and learning more about Ohio laws can help you respond to a pending OVI charge.