Can I Get Jail Time for a First Offense DUI / OVI in Columbus (Franklin County) Ohio?

jail first offense ovi columbus

Answer: A first offense OVI conviction in Ohio does carry a mandatory minimum three-day jail sentence. (ORC 4511.19 and Columbus 2133.01). For a first offense “high test” OVI conviction (over a .17 BAC), there is a six-day mandatory minimum jail sentence.

However, Ohio OVI law allows for first time offenders to avoid spending time in the county jail by attending an approved 3-day driver intervention program (DIP) in lieu of jail.  For a “high test” conviction, the DIP program would cover three days of the six-day mandatory sentence.

If you file for and the judge grants a request for unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device, any court-ordered jail time is suspended.  However, if you violate the terms of the unlimited privileges, the entire suspended jail term must be served.

Alternative to 3-Day Jail Sentence

If you are convicted of an OVI, many courts will allow you to enter into a treatment program in place of the mandatory jail sentence. These programs are called “Driver Intervention Programs.”  They act as an alternative to jail and function to provide counseling and treatment opportunities to those who are found guilty of alcohol related offenses.

What is a Driver’s Intervention Program?

A 72-hour driver intervention program is usually held at a local hotel.  You are required to stay at the hotel for the entire 72 hours and attend various lectures and educational programming on the dangers of drinking and driving.  Programming can include speakers, films, group sessions and individual counseling. 

What is the Cost of a Driver Intervention Program?

The cost of attending a DIP program in lieu of jail is usually between $300 and $500 depending on which program you choose and what type of room you choose (private or shared).  All meals are provided by the DIP program for the weekend. 

If you are facing a first offense OVI / DUI in the Columbus area, our Columbus DUI attorneys can advise you on fighting your case and keeping you out of jail.