Ohio residents who have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol may be facing either a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. The type of charge can determine the severity of the penalties.
Misdemeanors are generally considered to be less serious than felonies and usually have less severe consequences. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, first-time DUI offenders are likely to be charged with a misdemeanor. People may be sentenced to some jail time depending on the circumstances. Additional consequences could potentially include a hefty fine, a driver’s license suspension and a requirement to attend alcohol education classes
There are several situations in which prosecutors will decide to charge someone with felony DUI. For example, a person who has been accused of driving under the influence while having a child in the car at the time may face a felony. People whose BAC was over the legal limit when they caused a car accident that resulted in an a serious injury to another person will likely be issued a felony charge as will those who are repeat offenders. However, in the latter situation, the number of prior offenses and the time period in which they occurred vary from state to state.
When a person is accused of drunk driving and is facing serious consequences as a result, having the representation of a criminal defense attorney may be advisable, even if it is a first offense. There could be a variety of ways in which the attorney could attempt to defeat the allegations, such as by challenging the way that the traffic stop that led to the arrest was conducted.