Ohio offers first OVI offenders options to avoid jail time

OVI offendersOVI offenders (operating vehicle under the influence) in Ohio are being given options for avoiding jail time after receiving a first OVI conviction. Two chemical dependency counselors running the company Professional Integrity Consulting and Training are providing a 72-hour driver intervention program. It’s only for first time OVI offenders and it takes place in a hotel rather than behind bars.

Current OVI laws state that first time offenders are required to spend a minimum of 3 days up to a maximum of 6 months in jail or choose the Driver Intervention Program option. The alternative program is seen as a way to make the biggest impact on first time drinking drivers, and they may benefit more from intense education on the negative effects of impaired driving than the scare tactics of being thrown in jail.  Second and subsequent OVI offenses are not offered the driver intervention option.

The school itself is a lock in program staffed with trained chemical dependency counselors and law enforcement officers. The program educates participants on the psychical, psychological, and social effects of alcohol and drug abuse. Although there is a fee of approximately $280 that must be paid prior to taking the course, more and more first time OVI offenders in Ohio are opting in.

The overall consensus for both counselors and offenders is that the program is worthwhile. The offenders who have gone through it state that they have a better understanding of the dangers of drinking and driving, which counselors feel will lessen the chance of obtaining a second OVI.

In 2012, Ohio law enforcement arrested over 23,000 motorists for OVI and recorded 494 OVI-related fatalities. Having alternate programs such as the 72-hour Driver Intervention may work to reduce the amount of OVI incidents and deadly crashes.