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April 5, 2023

Drink and drive and get sidelined: FAQs about Ohio’s DUI laws

With football season upon us and the holidays just around the corner, you’re going to have plenty of opportunities to raise a glass (or two) of your favorite adult beverage. But if you love cracking open a cold one while you watch the Bengals play their way to the Super Bowl (fingers crossed!), think before you get behind the wheel.

If you drink and drive, you could face your own penalties including jail time and steep fines. You could even lose your license.
With pumpkin ales on the horizon, this is the perfect time of the year to get familiar with Ohio’s current DUI laws. To help keep you safe, we’ve got answers to the most frequently asked questions about driving under the influence in Ohio and what it could cost you.

What’s the legal limit for alcohol in Ohio?
The legal limit for a person over the age of 21 is 08%. Anything higher is considered over the limit and illegal.

In beer terms, how much can I drink and stay under the limit?
In general, a 180-pound man could drink about three 12-ounce beers in an hour and still be under the limit. And a woman who weighs about 140 pounds could drink two 12-ounce beers and still, legally, be able to get behind the wheel.

However, before you think you can knock back two or three beers and hit the road, there are other important factors to consider. For example, are you drinking on an empty stomach? And are you hydrated? Take note of the alcohol per volume (APV) of the drink you’re consuming, too.

If you’re drinking IPA beers for example, you’ll reach your limit faster than if you’re drinking a light beer that’s 5% ABV. Wine has a higher ABV than beer as well, so don’t allow yourself any more than one or two 4-ounce servings if you’re going to drive.

What are the penalties for DUI?  
The penalties of driving under the influence can be significant and can impact your life in a variety of ways. Not only are DUI fines expensive, but you could go to jail, even if you’re pulled over for drinking and driving for the first time.

Below is a breakdown
First offense: Your first DUI offense comes with $375 to $1,075 in fines, a mandatory three days in jail (and up to 180 days following) and a possible license suspension of one to three years.

Second offense: You’ll face at least ten days in jail, with a maximum of 6 months of jail time, $525 to $1,625 in fines and a license suspension of one to seven years the second time you get a DUI.

Third offense: By your third offense, you’ll go to jail for a minimum of three months, face fines from $850 to $2,750 and have your license suspended for two to 12 years.

Can I decline a breathalyzer and field sobriety test?
No. In Ohio, it is against the law to refuse a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. In fact, doing so could leave you with more fines and stricter penalties that if you follow the law when pulled over.  

For example, if you get pulled over for your first DUI offense and decline to take the breathalyzer test, you could have your license suspended for one year. If you, instead, failed the test, your license would likely be suspended for 90 days. These penalties get stricter the more times you get caught driving under the influence and don’t comply with the law.

The team at Roehr Insurance Services Agency wants you to stay safe this season. We can help you choose the best car insurance plan, but we can’t help if you get pulled over for drinking and driving. Instead, call an Uber or Lyft, choose a designated driver, or simply celebrate at home.

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