Underage OVI Attorney in Steubenville
Ohio law includes a specific offense called OVUAC, or “operating a vehicle after underage alcohol consumption.” This offense applies to individuals under the age of 21 who choose to drink and drive. While commonly referred to as “underage consumption,” it is officially described in Section 4511.19(B) of the Ohio Revised Code. If you need detailed information about this law, consult with your Steubenville OH OVI lawyer.
It’s important to note that minors have a lower legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC), which differs from the 0.08 percent limit for adults. Although the penalties for OVUAC are generally less severe, certain aspects such as driving privileges and license suspension remain consistent for both age groups.
The exact definition of OVUAC varies depending on the type of test used to measure BAC (whole blood, blood serum or plasma, breath, or urine). In most cases, if your test results show a minimum BAC of 0.02 percent, you will be considered driving while intoxicated.
It’s worth remembering that in Ohio, police officers can arrest you for OVUAC if they detect alcohol on your breath, even without apparent signs of impairment. The state has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving.
Driving after an OVUAC charge
Consequences for teenage drivers (under 21) with a BAC between 0.02 percent and 0.08 percent, as determined by a breathalyzer test, include penalties for underage consumption. However, there are some differences in penalties compared to adult OVI offenses. If the underage driver’s BAC is under 0.08 percent (or any other level mentioned in Section 4511.19(A) of the revised code), they will not receive an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Refusing to undergo chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine) will result in an ALS. In these cases, the same rules applicable to adult OVI offenses will be followed, including the completion of BMV Form 2255 by the arresting officer.
Additionally, if an underage driver’s test results show a BAC above 0.08 percent (or any other specified level in Section 4511.19(A) of the revised code), they will face an ALS and the procedures outlined in BMV Form 2255.
If you require legal assistance or representation, contact a Steubenville OH OVI lawyer familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding OVUAC.
Probable Cause in Underage Consumption
When it comes to underage drinking and driving, it’s crucial to remember that even if a minor driver doesn’t appear visibly affected by alcohol, they can still face arrest for OVUAC. The focus here isn’t solely on impairment but rather on the act of underage drinking and driving.
If an officer detects the smell of alcohol or suspects that the driver has consumed it, they have the authority to request a breath test, even without probable cause of intoxication. It’s important to note that refusing the test or registering a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading between .02 and .08 percent can result in the administrative suspension of the driver’s license for underage consumption, rather than an arrest for OVI.
Regardless, the ALS form will still be completed; however, it will only be processed if the driver refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test.
When You’re an Impaired Underage Driver
In the event that a minor is pulled over by an officer for a traffic violation and the officer suspects impairment due to alcohol or drugs, they will be arrested and issued an ALS. This arrest will be handled similarly to any OVI arrest, with charges worded accordingly.
The offender’s initial court appearance will be scheduled no later than five days after the arrest. If convicted, the juvenile will face similar penalties as an adult, including the opportunity to attend alcohol education classes.
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