Ohio Revised Code 4511.181 sets forth the law of prior convictions in Ohio. It states that “equivalent offenses” can include:
- A state OVI under 4511.19(A);
- A state OVUAC offense under 4511.19(B); [often referred to as a "baby" DUI or an "juvenile" DUI]
- A violation of a municipal OVI ordinance;
- Involuntary manslaughter due to impairment, R.C. 2903.04(D);
- Aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter due to impairment, R.C. 2903.06(A)(1);
- Aggravated assault due to impaired driving, R.C. 2903.08(A)(1);
- Other state aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter offenses under R.C. 2903.06, R.C. 2903.08 or former R.C. 2903.07 based on a finding of impairment;
- A violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially equivalent to R.C. 2903.06, R.C. 2903.08, or former R.C. 2903.07 and related to impairment;
- A state boating under the influence offense under R.C. 1547.11(A);
- A state underage boating under the influence offense under R.C. 1547.11(B);
- A violation of a municipal boating under the influence offense;
- A violation of any existing or former municipal ordinance, law of another state, or law of the United States that is “substantially equivalent” to R.C. 4511.19(A) or (B).
The boating provisions of the law were added in 2007 (see 2007 Am.Sub.S.B. 17, eff. September 30, 2008). It is important to note that despite recent legislative changes to this definition, a violation of R.C. 4511.194 Physical Control, is still not included in equivalent offenses for purposes of the law.
Ohio has enacted two “look-back” statutes which enhance the penalties for a DUI; a six year look-backand a twenty year look-back. This post will focus on when a DUI becomes a felony. For a complete list of penalties for DUI offenses check out my previous article OHIO OVI PENALTIES.
Six Year Look-Back
If you receive a second DUI six years from the conviction date of your first DUI, the penalties are enhanced. Both a first and second DUI within a six year period are first degree misdemeanors which carry a maximum fine of $1,075.00 and a maximum incarceration of six (6) months. A second DUI within six years is enhanced, meaning that the minimum number of incarceration days and the fine are heavier. R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(a) and (b). A third offense within six years has even heavier fines and incarceration and carries a possibility of one year of incarceration, owing to the fact that a third offense is an unclassified misdemeanor. R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(c). A DUI becomes a fourth degree felony if it is a fourth offense within six (6) years. R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d).
Twenty Year Look-Back
A sixth or greater offense within a twenty year look-back period is a fourth degree felony. R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(d). Another harsh provision under Ohio law is the “once a felony, always a felony” rule contained in R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(e), meaning that any future DUI regardless of how many years have passed is charged as a third-degree felony. This means that if you have many years of sobriety in between DUI convictions, you still face a felony rather than having your case treated as a first-in-six misdemeanor offense.DUI defense attorneys have challenged the constitutionality of these look-back provisions on the grounds that they violated due process and that they are a retroactive application of laws. In State v. Miccap, 2006-Ohio-2854 (Ohio Ct. App. 9th Dist, Summit County), the 9th District Court of Appeals rejected these arguments and upheld the enhanced punishments. It stated that the penalties imposed were not enhancements punishing prior conduct, but punishing any violations that occur after enactment of the enhancement provision. In State v. Brooke, 113 Ohio St.3d 199, 863 N.E.2d 1024 (2007), the court upheld the right of a defendant to challenge whether or not a prior conviction was conducted in accordance with the rule of law. For a complete discussion of Attack on prior convictions, see Ohio Driving Under the Influence Law, Weiler & Weiler J., 2009-2010 ed., pp 333-335.
DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia,Miamisburg, Springboro, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND(888-769-5263). For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671. For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube. You can also email Charles Rowland at:CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI”