How Long Do You Stay In Jail

Whether, and for how long, you stay in jail after a DUI arrest in Ohio depends on several factors, such as whether you have any prior convictions, how promptly you can get a ride, and how intoxicated you are. However, most people who face a first drunk driving charge only spend a few hours with officer or in jail after their arrest. During this time, police “book” them and then either release them on bail, let them go on their own word, or require they go before a judge who will decide whether to grant their release.

Known as an OVI — operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs — in Ohio, a drunk driving conviction could bring additional time in jail in addition to the hours spent following your arrest. There are mandatory minimums in place for repeat offenders, although an attorney can often help first-time offenders avoid additional time in jail.

Understanding What Happens During the Booking Process

When you arrive at the police station following your arrest, you will go into booking where staff will perform various intake tasks such as:

  • Getting the required personal information, such as your name and birthdate
  • Noting any distinguishing characteristics, and documenting any scars and tattoos
  • Checking your criminal history to determine if you are a repeat offender
  • Taking your fingerprints
  • Taking your mugshot and other photographs
  • Taking any property and valuables, holding them until your release
  • Performing a full search to check for drugs or weapons
  • Other tasks related to recording information about you and your alleged crime

What Happens After Booking Following an Ohio Drunk Driving Arrest?

One of three things will happen after booking:

  • You go into a holding cell, jail cell, or “drunk tank.”
  • The state could offer to allow you to post bail.
  • The state could allow you to leave on your own recognizance.

In general, the factors that go into which of these happen to you vary, but may include:

  • The policy of the local police force and court system
  • Your current condition
  • Your criminal record
  • If you harmed others in an accident that led to your arrest
  • Your employment, local family, and other ties to the community

You may also spend time — a few minutes to a few hours — in a cell before they offer bail or a recognizance release. As a part of posting bond or leaving on your own recognizance, they will require you to sign paperwork confirming you will appear at all court dates.

If they do not give you the opportunity to post bail or leave on your own recognizance, you will likely face a judge for your initial court appearance within a few hours of booking. This judge will probably set your bail or otherwise allow your release, based on the circumstances of your arrest and your criminal history.

Expect Additional Jail Time After a Conviction

If you face a conviction in your Ohio drunk driving case, you may face additional jail time. There are mandatory minimums for some OVI offenses, but others allow you to attend alcohol treatment classes or a driver intervention program instead. This makes Ohio OVI sentencing laws challenging to predict and hard to negotiate without an attorney who works with them regularly.

For example, the minimum first-time OVI sentence is typically three days in jail. However, we can often get our clients enrolled in a 72-hour driver intervention program instead. This means you may not have to go back to jail or prison even if convicted of a drunk driving offense in Ohio.

While every case is different, other options may include:

  • Work-release programs
  • House arrest
  • Community control (probation)

We fight aggressively to help you avoid spending any more time in jail than necessary based on the facts of your case. We understand this is important for our clients, and we will make it a top priority of our defense strategy, as well.

Are you or someone you know facing DUI / OVI charges? 

If you are facing DUI charges, you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms.  Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation. 

Steven R. Adams
Steven R. Adams was a criminal defense lawyer dedicated to DUI, OVI, and criminal defense in Cincinnati, Ohio.