A Youngstown OVI lawyer is often kept busy defending underage drinkers. Anyone under the age of 21 is considered to be underage in Ohio. And, the legal blood alcohol content percentage for minors (i.e. underage people) is 0.02, which is a very low amount.
Underage drinking, sometimes referred to as UDD, is a very common offense, but it has some seriously hard penalties that go along with it. The reason for the harsh stance Ohio takes on this crime is that more than 10% of DUI-related deaths are caused by drivers under the legal drinking age.
The Ohio Revised Code addresses underage drinking in Chapter 4209.69. It says that no one under the age of 21 can pay for, order, consume, share the cost of, possess, or try to buy intoxicating liquor or beer of any kind. It doesn’t matter if you’re in public or on private property, it’s still illegal. The only exception to this is if the booze has been provided by a doctor, is for religious purposes, or the minor is under the supervision of his or her parent, spouse who is not underage, or other legal guardian.
The first time a minor is charged with underage drinking, he or she is likely to be required by the court to participate in a diversion program. The court will specify which one. If you are charged again, you will not be allowed to go through the program a second time.
Once you successfully complete the diversion program, your charges will be dropped. Your criminal record will be sealed, as well. But, if you fail to complete it, your charges will not be dropped and you will face further action from the court.
For those who are ineligible for a diversion program, their underage drinking charge will be a first-degree misdemeanor. They will have to serve both a suspension of their driver’s license and a jail sentence of up to six months, pay fines as high as $1,000, and possibly have to go through alcohol education classes and abuse counseling, and perform community service. They will also receive four points on their driver’s license when they get it back.
As with a DUI/OVI conviction received as an adult, an underage DUI conviction comes with other consequences besides legal ones. You could be expelled from school and find it difficult to find another university that will accept you. If you are allowed to remain in school, you could find it harder to get a student loan to pay for it, and if you can’t get a loan, you may need to drop out. Even then, getting a job with a DUI conviction is not easy. Many employers do background checks, especially if the job involves driving. If you already had a job offer in hand, that offer could be revoked because of your DUI. The military may not even be willing to take you on. And, your friends and family will look at you differently and may withdraw their support.
Driving under the Influence is not the only charge you are likely to receive if you are cited for OVI. As noted above, simply possessing alcohol when you are blow age 21 triggers a criminal charge. If you had passengers in your car, you can be charged with giving alcohol to minors. Used a fake ID to get into the bar? That gets you a possession of false identification charge. Then, there are the traffic violations that got you stopped in the first place … failing to maintain your lane, speeding, etc.
A DUI/OVI conviction is not something you should ignore or try to handle on your own. The penalties that come with it are too harsh and have too much potential to ruin your life for you to deal with it by yourself.
It is possible to get your charges reduced or dismissed! A Youngstown OVI lawyer who understands the ins and outs of the court system and can untangle the web of DUI law is the best way for you to get this kind of an outcome. Call Logue Law Group now for the kind of experienced assistance you need. (412) 612-2210.