Any DUI charge carries very serious consequences that could affect your life for years to come. However, if a driver is found to have a blood alcohol level that is above .17, he or she can be charged under even more strenuous circumstances. A DUI offense involving a high BAC level carries even steeper penalties than a normal DUI arrest.
In the event of a traffic stop, law enforcement may request that you provide a breath, urine, or blood sample to test your blood alcohol content(BAC). You have the right to refuse these tests and deny the prosecution physical evidence against you, but this option carries consequences. Ohio’s implied consent laws means that any driver on Ohio’s roads can face penalties such as a revocation of their driving privileges is they refuse to submit to a BAC test.
If a driver does provide a sample, any amount over .08 is grounds for a DUI arrest, formally known as OVI, but a BAC higher than .17 carries even steeper penalties. Any DUI arrest carries an automatic suspension of driving privileges, and for first time offenders facing an arrest for a high BAC level, they must wait 14 days before any driving abilities can be re-instated. They may also be required to install special plates or an immobilizing device on their vehicle.
In addition, a High BAC DUI arrest means that the offender faces a presumptive sentence of 6 months in prison. The fine for a first offense is a minimum of $375 that may be extended up to $1,075. The court may also extend any license suspension for up to 3 years. The offender may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device, which requires a driver to produce a clean breath sample before starting the vehicle. The costs for this device, which includes a monthly operation fee and installation and removal fall on the shoulders of the accused, and these can total into the hundreds of dollars.
Outside of a courtroom, any DUI charge can lead to other consequences. Your auto insurance rates will likely increase dramatically, and you may even be dropped from your coverage altogether. If you are employed in certain professions, such as a teacher, doctor, or pilot, your career could be threatened by a DUI conviction.
The potential penalties of a DUI, including High BAC offenses, increase greatly based on the driver’s prior offenses. The Department of Motor Vehicles’ website lists more specific details about DUI and DWI offenses in Ohio.