The legal drinking age is 21, but unfortunately, it’s all too easy for underage individuals to access alcohol. When underage drinking is combined with operation of a motor vehicle, serious accidents can result. When an individual under age 21 is charged, then operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI) is referred to as the operation of a vehicle after underage consumption (OVUAC). This type of OVI charge may be brought when an underage person has allegedly been found with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02%. If you’re facing an OVUAC charge, talk to a DUI attorney in Columbus, Ohio, without delay.
Even before an underage OVI case goes to trial, the defendant can face pre-trial sanctions . Pending an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing, the defendant’s driver’s license or permit can be suspended. The suspension may last between six months and three years. However, a DUI attorney can represent the defendant at the administrative hearing and argue in favor of the restoration of the driver’s license.
A first offense is prosecuted as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. It is at the discretion of the court to decide whether to impose a jail term of up to 30 days or a fine of up to $250.
If an underage offender faces OVUAC charges for the second time within a year, then the prosecutor can pursue third-degree misdemeanor charges. The court can impose a class four judicial suspension, which is a definite suspension of the driver’s license or permit for one to five years. The court is given discretion to impose other penalties, which h might include a jail term of up to 60 days. The defendant may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500.
It is possible for defendants who are facing OVUAC charges to be charged with other criminal offenses at the same time. Some common charges filed against underage drinkers include minor in possession of alcohol, solicitation of alcohol, and distribution of alcohol to other minors. The underage drinker may be charged with the possession of false identification and possibly child endangerment violations. These charges can bring additional legal penalties upon conviction.