Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo are cities in Ohio. It doesn’t matter what city you’re in; driving under the influence is always illegal. Two main statutes prohibit intoxicated driving, including operating under the influence (OVI) and operating a vehicle after underage consumption (OVAUC).

If you are driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher, you can be charged with drunk driving in Ohio. If your BAC is .17 percent, you could receive a harsher sentence for high-test results.

For a first-offense DUI, you could receive up to six months in jail, fines of up to $1,075, and a license suspension of up to five years. Ohio is also a zero-tolerance state for drivers younger than 21.

Is a DUI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

A DUI is a criminal offense in Ohio. A first-offense DUI is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties include possible jail time, fines, and license revocation. Probation is also a possibility instead of jail time.

If caught drinking and driving a second time, you will be charged with a second misdemeanor and harsher consequences—possible jail time, steeper fines, and a longer license suspension.

A DUI becomes a felony when a person has three or more DUI offenses or caused property damage and serious bodily harm to another person or people in a car accident due to impaired driving.

Read More: The role of breathalyzers in DUI offenses

Does a DUI Affect Insurance Forever?

In the first year after a DUI conviction, insurance premiums increase an average of 94 percent. Gradually this number decreases over time and stops affecting insurance, though it can take up to seven years to normalize.

A driving under the influence conviction typically impacts your insurance rates for at least three years. This depends on the insurance company. Some carriers may choose not to offer you coverage as you are a liability, especially for underage drinking and driving offenders.

When calculating premiums, the rule of thumb for most insurance companies is to review your motor vehicle records for the last three to five years. However, significant violations like a DUI charge are a red flag, so some carriers might choose to dig deeper into your history.

Read More: Exploring OVI checkpoints in Ohio

Can You Remove a DUI Charge?

Removing a charge from your record is called expungement. Not all crimes are eligible for removal; in this case, a DUI is one of those charges.

As some states allow you to remove a DUI after a certain period, if you’re convicted of a DUI or charge or any traffic offense, it will stay on your record forever in Ohio. A DUI conviction is six points, and the points drop off after two years. Never the conviction, however, under any circumstances.

If you are facing a DUI charge or would like more information on clearing your record of a DUI charge, our DUI legal team can help you understand your charges and how the law applies. Contact our team today at 513-548-5544 for immediate legal assistance.