Types of Felony OVI Offenses in Ohio
Because of Ohio’s punitive stance on OVI offenses, it can be easy to think that all such offenses are felonies with serious consequences, However, this is not true. Though the penalties can nevertheless be harsh, most OVI offenses are misdemeanors of varying degrees – especially if it is your first or second offense and no bodily harm or other meaningful damages were caused.
Felony OVI convictions are reserved for repeat offenders and those offenders whose OVI violations caused other criminal damage. If your OVI is related to any of the following offenses, you are facing a misdemeanor charge, not a felony:
• First OVI
• Second OVI
• First OVI with high BAC
• Second OVI with high BAC
• Physical control OVI
• Reckless driving
• Underage OVI or OVUAC
• OVI hit and run with minor damage
You can verify this information in chapter 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code, though some felony charges are addressed in other sections. If you are unable to locate your particular offense or case circumstances, you could be facing a felony. An experienced Columbus OVI attorney will be able to sort by the details of your case, explain your charges, and show you your defense options.
The most shared scenario for a felony OVI charge in Ohio is when a repeat DUI offender is arrested for a later OVI offense. If you are convicted of three or more DUIs within six years, it is a fourth-degree felony. This charge comes with serious penalties, including:
• A fine up to $5,000
• Up to 18 months in prison
• 30 days of mandatory jail time
• Three years of administrative license suspension
• Yellow OVI plates
• Ignition interlock device
The other felony OVI offenses in Ohio include damage, serious bodily injury, or death to another party. The degree of these felonies depends largely on if the defendant has any priors, especially OVI priors, and how harsh the damages are. A defendant in these felony situations will probably also have a civil case to consider. The following are definitions of other Ohio felony DUI offenses.
Hit and Run – Also known as hit and skip, an OVI offender can be charged with this offense if he or she failed to stop and give their name, address, means registration number, and/or the name and address of the means owner if he or she is not an owner. This offense is a felony if the individual caused serious bodily harm or death before leaving the scene.
Aggravated Vehicular Assault – This offense is defined in ORC 2903.08 and occurs when an OVI offender causes serious bodily injury to another person or unborn baby.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide – This offense is covered under ORC 2903.06 and happens when a DUI offender causes the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.
The most punitive of these offenses is a first-degree felony, with up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, and a for-life driver’s license suspension. A felony OVI offense is indeed something one should not trifle with; however, it is likely that your OVI charge is a misdemeanor. If you are unsure, consult an Ohio criminal defense lawyer.