What is an "Underage Consumption" OVI Charge?

Under Ohio law, anyone under the age of 21 can (and most likely will) be charged with what is know as an "underage consumption" charge when that person also is arrested for a standard OVI charge. Under Ohio law, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from driving with a blood alcohol content level in excess of .02 (vs. .08 for a person over the age of 21). The underage consumption section of the DUI statute is found in subsection "(B)" of that statute, and the ticket issued by the arresting officer can read/charge on the ticket that the offender has violated both subsection "(A)" of the statute (the regular OVI violation for all persons) as well as subsection "(B)" of the statute (reserved for persons under the age of 21). There are some sentencing/penalty differences for a violation of the underage consumption section of the statute vs. the regular OVI subsection of the statute. An underage consumption conviction is a 4th degree misdemeanor (maximum jail time 30 days - maximum fine $250.00) vs. a regular OVI charge being a 1st degree misdemeanor (maximum 180 days in jail - maximum fine up to $2750 [depending on how many priors]). Further, an underage consumption conviction requires that the court wait 60 days in order to grant the defendant limited driving privileges vs. 15 days for a first time OVI defendant. Further, an underage consumption charge also carries only 4 points where a regular OVI conviction carries 6 points. An underage consumption conviction will require the young offender to complete a remedial driving course, obtain an expensive driving insurance bond and retake the driving test in order to get that offender's driver's license back from the Ohio BMV.

Almost always the prosecutor will offer a good defense lawyer a choice between the two charges.