Sep 15, 2017
What can happen if you get an OVI or DUI?

As an OVI practitioner, I am often asked “what can happen if I get an OVI?”  This list will simplify the penalties you could face if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.  OVI’s are complicated by the fact that (1) the level of your chemical test can change your penalties, and (2) if you have had an OVI before this can also change your potential penalties.  The list below will be for first time offenders.  Should you have priors, please call the office and I will happily schedule you for a consultation at no cost to go over your particular penalty scenario.  So, for the first time offenders, I will break this down in two categories; (1) low tier offenders and (2) high tier offenders.  There are low and high tiers for breath alcohol tests, urine alcohol tests, and blood alcohol tests.

Low Tier Offenders

  1. You must serve 3 days in jail OR 3 days in a residential alcohol program.  Yes, residential means you will be there for three days without the ability to leave.  Your attorney may petition the court for Unlimited Driving Privileges with the Ignition Interlock Device, and should this be granted the 3 days may be suspended by the Court.  The ignition interlock device attaches to your car and the driver must blow into the device providing a breath sample free of alcohol to be able to operate the vehicle.
  2. You will face a minimum fine of $375.00, and a maximum fine of $1,075.00.  This fine does not include court costs, probation fees, fees for the 3 day program, license reinstatement fees, etc.
  3. Alcohol treatment is optional, but not mandatory.
  4. A license suspension ranging from 1 year to 3 years.  It is possible to cut the driving suspension in half with the petition for Unlimited Driving Privileges referenced in #1 above.
  5. You may request driving privileges after 15 days have elapsed.
  6. Yellow plates are optional, meaning the Court may or may not require them.
  7. The ignition interlock device is only mandatory if you file the motion for unlimited driving privileges and it is granted.  Otherwise, the interlock device is optional.
  8. You vehicle may NOT be immobilized or forfeited on a first offense.  This changes on subsequent offenses in a 10 year period.

 If you are a high tier offender, or you are charged with a refusal AND have a prior OVI within 20 years, the following applies:

  1. You must serve 6 days in jail OR 3 days in a residential alcohol program plus 3 days in jail.  Again, your attorney may petition the court for Unlimited Driving Privileges with the Ignition Interlock Device, and should this be granted the jail days may be suspended by the Court.  The ignition interlock device attaches to your car and the driver must blow into the device providing a breath sample free of alcohol to be able to operate the vehicle.
  2. The fine does not change for a high tier offense.
  3. Alcohol treatment is still optional, but not mandatory.
  4. The license suspension is the same as the low tier.
  5. You may request driving privileges after 15 days have elapsed.
  6. Yellow plates are REQUIRED, meaning the Court MUST order them.
  7. The ignition interlock device is only mandatory if you file the motion for unlimited driving privileges and it is granted.  Otherwise, the interlock device is optional.
  8. You vehicle may NOT be immobilized or forfeited on a first offense, even on a high tier offense.  This changes on subsequent offenses in a 10 year period.
  • NOTE:   Should a person refuse to give a breath, blood or urine sample, the 15 day time period after which you can request driving privileges increases to 30 days.

As you can see, the penalties one may be subjected to for an OVI are many, varied, and complex.  It is best to sit down with an attorney, prior to your first court date, and get a picture of your particular circumstance.

Written content provided by Attorney David Gast