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Lowering DUI to Reckless Driving

Facing DUI charges can be intimidating and overwhelming, but there are options to consider. In Ohio, DUI charges sometimes can be reduced to reckless driving charges. This could be one way to avoid jail time and fines associated with a DUI conviction.

Because the act then would be considered a traffic offense if reduced to a reckless driving charge, the penalties likely would not be as harsh and it would not have a long lasting impact as a DUI charge could. A skilled Cincinnati DUI defense attorney can help you fight to have the charges reduced.

Ohio DUI Reduction to Reckless Driving Attorney

If you are facing DUI charges in the Greater Cincinnati area, contact a DUI defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of experience and they know the best steps to take when fighting drunk driving charges. The attorneys can help you understand your best options, such as pushing to get the charges reduced to reckless driving.

Joslyn Law Firm represents clients throughout Hamilton County and the Greater Cincinnati area. Call (513) 339-6289 to schedule a free consultation and discuss the unique facts of your DUI case. We can help you get your life back on track.


Information About Reducing DUI Charges


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Drunk Driving as Defined in Ohio

In Ohio, it is against the law for any person to operate a vehicle or be in actual physical control while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person is considered legally intoxicated if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.  

This limit also can be measured as .08 of one gram (or 80 milligrams) of alcohol per 210 liters of the person’s breath or .11 of one gram (or 110 milligrams) of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the driver’s urine. If a person is over the legal limit, he or she could face OVI charges.

The prosecution does not have to prove the accused was driving the vehicle. In fact, proving the person was in actual physical control while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of the substances is enough for charges.

"Physical control" is defined as being in the driver's position of the front seat of a vehicle or having possession of the vehicle's ignition device, according to Ohio's Revised Code §4511.194. This means a person who has the vehicle's keys in his or her hands while sitting in the front seat could be considered in physical control.


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Comparing Penalties of DUI and Reckless Driving

If a person is charged with a DUI, the first and second offenses are typically misdemeanors of the first degree under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19. This could include penalties such as jail time, expensive fines and possible an ignition interlock device. However, if this is a subsequent offense, the penalties could be harsher.

If you are convicted of a DUI some of the penalties you could face include:

  • Fines ranging from $375 to $20,000
  • Court costs and fees
  • Jail or prison time from 3 days to 15 years
  • Placement of an interlock device on the offender’s vehicle
  • Drivers’ intervention program
  • Yellow OVI Plates
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Alcohol and drug treatment programs
  • Vehicle Immobilization or forfeiture
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation

Additionally, the more DUI offenses you are convicted of, the steeper the penalties. For instance, if you are convicted of a third offense DUI offense it could carry a longer jail sentence, an increased amount of fines and a longer period of having your driver's license suspended.

Reckless driving, however, does not carry as many harsh penalties and would not have a long lasting affect on a person's criminal record. Instead, if a DUI charge is reduced to reckless driving it would be considered a lesser offense.  A first reckless driving offense is a minor misdemeanor.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, the penalties a person could face for a reckless driving offense can vary depending on whether the alleged offender has any prior traffic offense charges or conviction. Some of the penalties could include:

  • Fines between $150 and $500
  • Jail sentence up to 60 days
  • Four points added to a person's driving record

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Circumstances Which May Warrant Reckless Driving Charges Instead of DUI

A person can be charged with reckless driving, or operation of a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property, if he or she intentionally or deliberately operates a vehicle on any street or highway in Ohio without regard for the safety of others or property of others, according to Ohio Revised Code §4511.20.

However, there are several instances in which the prosecution could be persuaded into reducing a DUI charge to a reckless driving offense. Some of the common circumstances include:

  • Reasonable cause issues in obtaining DUI evidence
  • Prosecution does not have sufficient evidence
  • Blood alcohol content was barely over legal limit
  • Issues with chemical testing results
  • Defendant was not impaired
  • First DUI conviction
  • No accident or damage occurred
  • Driver has no prior convictions, including DUI

There are many advantages to having a DUI charge reduced to a reckless driving offense, such as the DUI offense not remaining on your record. This offense is something that could make it difficult to find a job or even remain in your profession in some cases. Often times a reckless driving conviction will not carry the same stigma as a DUI.

Additionally, if a person is arrested for a DUI after having the charge reduced to reckless driving, he or she still could be considered a first-time DUI offender. In Ohio, the penalties for a first DUI are not as harsh as those for subsequent offenses.


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Finding the Best DUI Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati

A DUI conviction is something that can tarnish your criminal record. An experienced Ohio DUI defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm can help you fight the charges and work to have them reduced to a reckless driving offense. Your future is important. Call (513) 339-6289 to schedule a free consultation.

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