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Know The Law

Underage consumption, purchasing or possession of alcohol

The legal drinking age in Ohio for consumption of an alcoholic beverage is 21. Purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol prior to your 21st birthday is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties associated with this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. A 20-year-old student, therefore, risks being imprisoned and fined when he/she decides to drink alcohol at a party or elsewhere.

Providing alcohol to an underage person

A person who furnishes alcohol to an underage person is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty associated with this offense is six months imprisonment or $1,000 fine or both. A social host, therefore, risks being fined and imprisoned when he/she furnishes alcohol to a person who is not 21 years of age. Keep in mind that the bigger your party is, the more people there that you don't know, the greater the chance of getting caught and/or charged.

Fake ID

Possession or display of a fictitious operator's license is a first-degree misdemeanor. The offense includes mere possession of a fictitious license or display of someone else's valid operator's license. The maximum penalties for this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. Moreover, if the fictitious operator's license is utilized to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment that serves alcohol, the minimum fine must be at least $250 and the person displaying the fictitious operator's license may have his/her valid operator's license suspended for three years.

Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI)

In Ohio, a person may not operate a motor vehicle if he/she is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The maximum penalty for operating a vehicle while under the influence is six months imprisonment (mandatory at least three days in jail) or a $1,000 fine (a mandatory minimum fine of $250) or both. Additionally, the operator must forfeit his/her driving privileges for six months. 

Open Container

It is illegal to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct while intoxicated is a minor misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. Disorderly conduct can be elevated to a fourth degree misdemeanor (for example, if the person persists after a request to desist). Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct. Disorderly conduct also occurs when one makes unreasonable noise in such a manner as to violate the peace and quiet of the neighborhood or to be detrimental to the life and health of any individual.

 

For more information visit the Ohio Revised Code website @ http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4301