Patrick Mahomes, Sr. and Felony DUI / OVI

Felony-245x300Patrick Mahomes, Sr. was indicted for drunk driving in Texas.  According to Spectrum News, Mahomes has two prior DWI convictions.  In Texas, a third DWI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) is a felony offense which carries a prison term of two years to ten years.  But what if a person is charged with a felony OVI in Ohio?

Misdemeanor OVI Penalties in Ohio
Most OVI charges in Ohio are misdemeanors.  That does not mean they are taken lightly.  A first-offense OVI is punishable by a jail term of three days to six months and a driver’s license suspension of one year to three years.  A second OVI conviction within ten years carries ten days to six months in jail and a license suspension of up to seven years, as well as vehicle immobilization for 90 days.  For a third OVI conviction within ten years, the sentence includes a jail term of 30 days to one year, a license suspension for up to 12 years, and vehicle forfeiture.  If a second-offense or third-offense OVI involves a ‘high BAC’ (blood alcohol concentration of .170 or higher) or a refusal of an alcohol/drug test, the minimum mandatory jail term is doubled.

Felony OVI Charges in Ohio
There are three ways a person’s OVI may be charged as a felony in Ohio.  First, if a person has three prior OVI convictions within ten years, the fourth OVI is charged as a felony.  Second, if a person has five prior OVI convictions within 20 years, the sixth OVI offense is a felony.  Third, if a person has one prior felony OVI conviction, any subsequent OVI charge in the person’s lifetime is charged as a felony offense.  The Texas law governing the case of Patrick Mahomes, Sr. is different than Ohio law.  In Texas, a third DWI in a person’s lifetime is categorized as a felony.

Felony OVI Penalties in Ohio
Ohio has a range of penalties for felony OVI.  A judge must impose at least the minimum mandatory penalties, and a judge’s sentence cannot exceed the maximum penalties.  The mandatory parts of a felony OVI sentence include incarceration, a fine, a driver’s license suspension, counseling, and vehicle forfeiture.

For a first felony OVI conviction, the term of incarceration is a minimum of 60 days, which may be served in a local jail or a state prison.  If the person’s blood/breath/urine alcohol concentration is a ‘high BAC’, or if the person refused a drug/alcohol test, the minimum term of incarceration is doubled.  The maximum prison term is 30 months.

In addition to the term of incarceration, a first felony OVI sentence includes a fine of $1,350 to $10,500, mandatory drug/alcohol counseling, and mandatory vehicle forfeiture.  The person also receives a driver’s license suspension of three years to life and cannot receive any driving privileges for at least three years.  Driving privileges are limited and conditioned on the use of an ignition interlock device and restricted (yellow) license plates.

For a second felony OVI conviction, the term of incarceration is a minimum of 120 days which must be served in a state prison (doubled for a ‘high BAC’).  The maximum prison term is 36 months.  In addition, if the indictment alleges the person has five prior OVI convictions within 20 years, the sentence may include an additional prison term of one year to five years.  The other penalties for a second felony OVI are the same as those for a first felony OVI.

Representation for Felony OVI in Ohio
While someRe people choose to represent themselves for a first-offense OVI, self-representation is not a wise option for someone charged with felony OVI in Ohio.  When facing such severe consequences, a person should obtain the assistance of a lawyer with expertise in OVI defense and experience representing clients for felony OVI.

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