Have you been arrested for underage drinking, OVI or DUI?

Get the representation you need to preserve your rights.

You may or may not be aware, but the Ohio Revised Code recognizes a separate offense for those charged with operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) when they are under twenty one years of age.

If you’ve been arrested for for underage drinking or underage OVI charges, call us today. Time is of the essence in securing legal representation and ensuring your case does not result in being charged with adult OVI.

Be aware: just because you are under the age of 21 does not mean you are not safe from being charged with an adult OVI. If the prosecuting attorney wishes to charge you under that section, they have the discretion to do so. If you have provided a chemical test with a result greater that .02 percent but less than .08 percent, then it is likely they will charge you with an underage OVI, but there is no guarantee. If they believe they can prove an adult OVI charge, they may well use it.


Ohio Revised Code chapter 4511.19 covers all OVI offenses in the state of Ohio, while O.R.C. 4511.19(B) sets forth the essential elements for an underage OVI and the penalties below:

(B) No person under twenty-one years of age shall operate any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley within this state, if, at the time of the operation, any of the following apply:
(1) The person has a concentration of at least two-hundredths of one per cent but less than eight-hundredths of one per cent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s whole blood.
(2) The person has a concentration of at least three-hundredths of one per cent but less than ninety-six-thousandths of one per cent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s blood serum or plasma.
(3) The person has a concentration of at least two-hundredths of one gram but less than eight-hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person’s breath.
(4) The person has a concentration of at least twenty-eight one-thousandths of one gram but less than eleven-hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of the person’s urine.
So, what are the major distinctions between an underage and adult OVI? Below you will see a side by side comparison of someone charged with a first ever adult OVI versus a first ever underage OVI.


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Degree of Offense (first ever OVI*)

Adult: Misdemeanor 1, Minimum incarceration: 3 days, Maximum incarceration: 180 days
Underage: Misdemeanor 4, Minimum incarceration: 0 days, Maximum incarceration: 30 days

Mandatory Incarceration (first ever OVI*)

Adult: 3-6 days depending upon the level of the chemical test if taken
Underage: 0 days regardless of the level of the test

Fines (first ever OVI*)

Adult: $375 – $1075

License Suspension (first ever OVI*)

Adult: 1-3 years
Underage: 90 days to 2 years

Driving Privileges (*1st ever OVI)

Adult: A first offender who provided a chemical test may ask for privileges after 15 days
Underage: A first offender must wait 60 days

The most important thing for parents and those under the age of 21 to note is that the “legal limit’ is much less when it comes to an underage motorist. Whereas the limit is .08 percent for an adult, the limit drops to .02 percent for those under age 21. Any drinking at all would run the risk of being over the .02 percent threshold.

As always, the only good advice in a situation like this is to have a plan in place to avoid driving if you are going to be drinking. I can promise you that legal representation will cost much more than that call to Uber. Be smart and get home safe.

*The notation of “first ever OVI” above is an important one. If you have one or more prior OVIs, please talk to an attorney, as the penalty can greatly increase depending on factors that will need close evaluation.