It’s late August, and the fall semester has begun at the University of Cincinnati and most colleges and universities in Ohio. As your teenage daughter or son goes back to school, their whole future is ahead of them. But a mistake like getting arrested for underage drinking and driving can put all of your teen’s hopes and dreams into serious jeopardy.
The legal penalties for underage OVI
Ohio law treats underage OVI as a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250 and a maximum of 30 days in jail for a first offense. The judge will also issue a class six driver’s license suspension lasting between three months and two years. Your teen might be able to regain their driving privileges and stay out of jail if they install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
A second conviction within a year raises the crime to a third-degree misdemeanor. The potential sentence includes losing your license for one to five years, up to 60 days in jail and a fine of no more than $500. The teen has to complete at least 60 days of the license suspension before they can apply to get limited driving privileges back, which would likely only allow them to drive to school or work.
Educational and social consequences
Along with the courts, a college student charged with or convicted of underage OVI could face serious consequences at school. Depending on the severity of the charges and if they have a prior record, their university could suspend or even expel them. Even a short suspension could majorly disrupt your child’s education. Then there is the stigma attached to having a criminal record. Your teen’s friends and relatives might judge them harshly, and their relationships and sense of self-worth could be affected.
With all this in mind, taking the charges seriously is very important. Your child may have options for getting an OVI charge reduced or even dismissed. Working with an experienced defense attorney can bring these options to light and help keep an unfortunate mistake from following your teen for the rest of their life.