Operating a Vehicle After Underage Alcohol Consumption
Under most circumstances, people under the age of 21 are prohibited from consuming alcohol in Ohio. Just like older drivers, young people can also be charged with Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI), which is commonly known as drunk driving.
Although the people involved are younger and less experienced, investigations for underage OVI offenses are just as intensive. Unfortunately, young offenders are not handled with “kid gloves.” Drivers under the age of 21 can still be subjected to field sobriety tests, including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk-and-Turn, and One-Leg-Stand. They can also be asked to consent to Blood-Alcohol-Content (BAC) testing.
Individuals under 21 are only permitted to have a blood-alcohol level of .02 when operating an automobile. The level is slightly higher than zero to account for trace amounts of alcohol, which can sometimes be detected due to the use of things like cough medicine or mouthwash. By comparison, someone who is legally old enough to drink cannot drive with a BAC level of .08 or higher.
Underage OVI is classified as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. It results in a class six license suspension, which is between three months and two years. If a defendant has a prior OVI conviction within one year of the offense, it is a third-degree misdemeanor with a class four license suspension of between one and five years. Potential penalties for underage OVI can include drug/alcohol treatment, probation, or even jail time. Unlike older drivers, people who are below the legal drinking age are always required to wait sixty days before they are eligible to request driving privileges.
Underage OVI cases can arise in different ways. Maybe a teenager got stopped at a checkpoint after leaving a party. Perhaps a student was swerving and the officer smelled marijuana after pulling them over. There might have even been a car accident that resulted in injuries and a driver's blood was drawn at the hospital. Regardless of the circumstances, you should contact Fogt Law Office.
Fogt Law Office Can Help.
Attorney Fogt has helped guide many young people through the difficult legal challenges of underage OVI charges. Being convicted of such a serious charge can have major long-lasting consequences, so it is vital to hire the right counsel. If you or someone you care about is facing an OVI, reach out to our office to discuss the case. Call (937) 254-2600 or email [email protected] today.
“No person under twenty-one years of age shall operate any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley within this state, if, at the time of the operation, any of the following apply:
(1) The person has a concentration of at least two-hundredths of one per cent but less than eight-hundredths of one per cent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person's whole blood.
(2) The person has a concentration of at least three-hundredths of one per cent but less than ninety-six-thousandths of one per cent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person's blood serum or plasma.
(3) The person has a concentration of at least two-hundredths of one gram but less than eight-hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person's breath.
(4) The person has a concentration of at least twenty-eight one-thousandths of one gram but less than eleven-hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of the person's urine.”