Skip to Content
Call Us Today! 614-707-4239

What Should I Do If My Child is Charged with an Underage OVI?


It can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience when your child is charged with an underage OVI. Many parents are unsure of what their legal options are and what the penalties may be. This article will provide parents of children who have been charged with an underage OVI/DUI in Ohio with a better understanding of the law, potential penalties, and resources for support.

Ohio's Underage OVI/DUI Laws

In Ohio, underage drivers aged 16-20 years old can be charged with an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence) if they are found driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and/or registered a blood alcohol content (BAC) level higher than 0.02%.

If the driver is 21 years of age or older, then their BAC must be over 0.08% to be considered intoxicated by law. The penalties for these offenses vary depending on how many times a person has been convicted before and other factors such as their age and BAC level at the time of the arrest.

Penalties for First-Time Offenders

First-time offenders under 21 years old who have registered a BAC between 0.02% and 0.08% can face various penalties. Some of which include:

  • Up to 3 days in jail
  • License suspension of up to 6 months
  • Fines up to $250
  • Court costs
  • Community service hours

Drivers over 21 years old who register a BAC between 0.08% and 0.17% can face various penalties as well. Some of which may include:

  • Up to 6 days in jail
  • License suspension of up to 6 months
  • Fines up to $500 plus court costs
  • Possible community service hours

Anyone found operating a vehicle with a BAC over 0.17%, regardless of age, will face more severe charges, including longer jail sentences and higher fines, depending on the situation.

Penalties for Non-First Time Offenders

The penalties become increasingly more severe each time someone is convicted of an underage OVI offense within six years after their first conviction date; this includes both adults aged 21+ as well as minors aged 16-20 years old in Ohio.

For example, if someone is convicted twice within a six-year period, they can expect:

  • Steeper fines ($750-$1125)
  • Longer jail sentences (up to 30 days)
  • Longer license suspensions (up to 2 years)
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they operate for one-year post reinstatement of their license privileges
  • Completion of an alcohol assessment program
  • Community service hours assigned by a judge or probation officer

It's important to note that every case differs depending on individual circumstances, so it's best to consult with professional legal counsel regarding your situation.

Let Us Help

No parent ever wants to face the situation after their child is arrested for an OVI, yet it happens. As difficult as this can be, parents must have the appropriate legal representation to ensure the best outcome. If you or someone you know needs legal help after a child's arrest for DUI, take action now and call our attorney's here at The Meranda Law Firm LTD. With years of experience representing other parents like you, we understand what you and your child may be going through. Our team of skilled attorneys is dedicated to improving your situation and want to provide the legal representation needed to assist with navigating this challenging time.

Contact us today at (614) 707-4239 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.