Drinking and Driving on Halloween Could Haunt You for Years


The annual Halloween Block Party in Athens, Ohio, draws thousands of people to Southeastern Ohio for several blocks of music and live entertainment. For more than 40 years, people have dressed up and partied during the Block Party typically held on the Saturday closest to Halloween.

With Halloween actually falling on a Saturday this year and a minimal chance of rain, a sizeable turnout is expected once again this year. Ohio University students comprise a sizeable number of attendees, but students from many other colleges and non-students alike also partake in the festivities.

Inevitably, local and state police are very busy during the Block Party. More than 100 people have been arrested during some years past. A significant majority of these arrests are alcohol-related.

While the misdemeanor offense of underage drinking is perhaps the most common criminal charge within the Athens city limits, it is important for people planning on attending the Halloween Block Party to keep in mind that authorities in many surrounding communities know that other Ohioans will be travelling to and from that area of the state this weekend. It is safe to expect police throughout the Buckeye State to set up several checkpoints in an effort to arrest alleged offenders for the more serious offense of operating vehicle under the influence (OVI).

Out-of-state visitors may know this criminal charge as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Whether or not you are a resident, a drunk driving conviction in Ohio can have serious long-term implications.

Even first-time OVI arrests can result in fines of more than $1,000, a driver’s license suspension, and possible jail time. People who are arrested in Athens or a surrounding community cannot assume that these criminal charges will not follow them back home—even if they live in a different state.

The absolute surest and safest way for Halloween Block Party attendees to avoid DUI arrests this holiday weekend is to avoid driving altogether. Ohio’s GoBus has several routes emanating from Athens, including such destinations as Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and even connecting to out-of-state locations like Chicago and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

While the GoBus has rather limited hours of operation, it could be in the best interest of some Athens partygoers who do not have sleeping arrangements to simply call a cab. The cost a couple hundred dollars that a taxi from Athens to Columbus would cost is still infinitely preferable to the thousands of dollars and many additional consequences a DUI charge would cost an alleged offender.

If you are arrested for OVI anywhere in Ohio on Halloween weekend, you should immediately seek legal counsel. An experienced Columbus DUI lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine the best possible defenses that may result in criminal charges being reduced or even completely dismissed.

Also posted in DUI, Holiday Arrests | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Drinking and Driving on Halloween Could Haunt You for Years

Ohio Bans Powdered Alcoholic and Caffeinated Substances

iStock_000015363472SmallOhio Gov. John Kasich signed legislation last month that banned the sale of powdered alcohol, making it the 15th state in the nation to do so despite federal approval earlier this year.

The substance, known as Palcohol, is a powdered substance that can be added to liquid drinks to make them alcoholic. Because of its similarity to powdered caffeine, lawmakers included the substance in a bill originally designed to ban the powdered caffeine, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The bill to ban powdered caffeine was drafted after an 18-year-old Ohio man died in May 2014. He ingested a large amount of the substance, which some consider to be highly dangerous. According to the article, a teaspoon of the substance is equal to the amount of caffeine in 25 cups of coffee.

The new law will make it a misdemeanor offense to sell products consisting solely or primarily of caffeine that is manufactured into a crystalline, liquid or powdered form. The second offense would be considered a third-degree misdemeanor.

Lawmakers argued minors easily could obtain and consume the powered substances, specifically the powered alcohol. This could lead to more reports of underage drinking and juvenile drunk driving offenses.

Additionally, lawmakers in favor of the ban argued the powered substance could make it difficult to determine what amount is safe to consume. For instance, if a person consumes a beer with a clear alcohol content label, he or she could determine a safe amount.

The powdered substance, however, could make it difficult to determine the actual alcohol level in a beverage. This presents a serious danger to those consuming the drinks, especially if he or she gets behind the wheel. The penalties could be much worse for an underage DUI.

In Ohio, the legal limit regarding a DUI for a driver younger than 21 years old is a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.02. This is a quarter of the legal limit for drivers who are of legal drinking age in The Buckeye State.

When an underage driver is pulled over with a BAC more than 0.02, he or she will be charged with Operating a Vehicle After Under Age Consumption. An OVUAC charge could be considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor and could be punishable by a class 6 driver’s license suspension.

Other penalties associated with an underage DUI charge in Ohio could include:

  • Thirty days of jail time or probation;
  • A $250 fine;
  • A drivers license suspension between 90 days and two years;
  • A court-mandated alcohol treatment program; and
  • A remedial driving instruction course.

For a second OVUAC conviction, the fine could be increased to $500, the jail sentence to 60 days and the license suspension to five years. If an underage driver has a BAC more than 0.08, he or she could face even stronger penalties.

If you or a loved one faces charges for DUI under the age of 21 in Columbus, Ohio, or the surrounding areas, contact Joslyn Law Firm. Our attorneys understand the complexities of DUI cases, and they can work with you to ensure your rights are represented. Call (614) 444-1900 o schedule a free consultation today. Begin protecting your future immediately.

Also posted in DUI, Local News, Proposed Legislation | Comments Off on Ohio Bans Powdered Alcoholic and Caffeinated Substances