While there’s been a decline in the occurrence of drunk driving among teens and young adults in recent years, it’s still the leading cause of death for ages 18-25 both locally and nationally. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only dangerous, it’s also a serious criminal offense.

While zero tolerance drunk driving laws, anti-drunk driving community campaigns, sobriety checkpoints and school-based instruction programs have been effective in reducing and preventing drunk driving, one in three traffic deaths still involve a drunk driver.

Ohio law is tough for drunk driving

Ohio’s, drunk driving or OVI laws are tough and anyone caught driving under the influence is likely to face mandatory minimum penalties including jail time from three days to 15 years, suspension of a driver’s license for six months or more, significant fines and other criminal and administrative consequences.

Young adults may not realize the significant repercussions these charges can have on their futures. An OVI can affect college admission, current college enrollment and future employment. The long-term effect of losing a driver’s license can also impact and limit job prospects and a young adult’s social life. Future licensing in professional programs may also be affected by a DUI as it will show up on a criminal record and in a background check.

Also, there are unforeseen long-term financial consequences. Your young adult could be facing hefty fines related to criminal charges, higher insurance rates, medical and/or car repair fees if there was an accident, possible substance use education classes and potential legal fees.

How to help your young adult facing an OVI

If your teen or young adult is facing an OVI charge, there are ways you can help. As their parent, your role goes beyond helping pay for legal counsel. In addition to supporting your child financially, you can offer moral support, encouragement, wisdom and advice. You may also want to encourage counseling and/or treatment in a substance abuse program.

If your child is over age 18, even though this may be his or her first offense, the courts will treat your child as an adult and they are therefore subject to all related minimum criminal and administrative penalties.

A criminal defense attorney will always have your child’s best interests in mind and do everything that he or she can to win a dismissal or reduction in charges and achieve the best possible outcome.