Many Ohioans charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs rightly fear losing their personal driver’s license and any commercial diving certifications they hold. Suspending licenses is one of the most common penalties for getting arrested and convicted for the offense police and prosecutors call operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI).
While a serious punishment that can on its own make hiring a Columbus, Ohio, drunk driving defense attorney worthwhile, defendants in OVI cases have much more to be concerned about besides losing driving privileges. The DUI/OVI penalty chart used by county and state court judges also includes
- Jail or community control (for example, wearing an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet, checking in with a parole officer each on a regular schedule, and obeying restrictions on the limit your travel to home, school, court hearings, and medical appointments)
- Criminal fines that start at $250 for a first offense
- Alcohol Diversion Program completion
- Alcohol and drug addiction treatment
- Use of specially designed OVI offender plates on all your vehicles
- Use of ignition interlock devices on all the vehicles your family owns
- Immobilization or impoundment of your personal car or truck
Several of these penalties, such as substance abuse treatment and ignition interlocks, become mandatory with a second or third alcohol-related OVI conviction within a six-year period.
Understand that anyone sentenced to these penalties will be held responsible for paying all the associated fees and costs. For instance, registering for an Alcohol Diversion Program classroom session requires making an upfront payment of around $400. Then, since in-person courses are only offered in certain locations and usually over a single weekend, travel expenses can become part of the penalty.
Similarly, an ankle bracelet and an ignition interlock device must be checked and calibrated at least monthly. The individual serving a DUI/OVI sentence pays for those services, as well any costs for initial attachment/installation and replacement when a device malfunctions or becomes damaged.
Private medical care for court-order addiction treatment must also be paid by the person under sentence. If a stay at a residential clinic or hospital is deemed necessary, the money for that needs to come out of the person’s own pocket or from his or her health insurer.
Last, getting a driver’s license and CDL reinstated requires paying fees over and above those assessed for a license renewal. Each set of OVI offender plates costs money. Payments to have a car booted or towed to an impound lot and, later, released can run into the hundreds of dollars.
All those financial hits come during months or years when the convicted drunk or drugged driver may be struggling to earn a living because he or she has lost the ability to drive to work or operate a company vehicle. Weighed against that possibility, paying to hire an experienced and dedicated Columbus OVI defense attorney can make a lot of sense.