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Don’t let merry-making bring you a DUI for the holidays

If people are at a holiday party and realize too late that somebody spiked the eggnog, they should enjoy riding home in the back of a cab instead of driving home behind the wheel. That is what one Cleveland judge hopes they will do.

WKBN 27 tells of a municipal court judge who requires first-time DUI offenders to download and install apps from Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services on their smartphones. After seeing too many repeat offenders, the judge decided to tap into technology in hopes of getting drunk drivers to call for a ride instead of drinking and driving.

FindLaw outlines the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (including marijuana) or liquor, mandated by Ohio law. First-time offenders can plan on a three-day stay in jail or in an alternative program, plus a big fine and suspension of their driver’s license for six months.

Drivers younger than 21 face stiff penalties for a much lower blood alcohol limit of just 0.02 percent. A DUI conviction lands these young offenders a mandatory, 60-day license suspension, followed by a requirement to re-take the driver’s license exam. They also are required to show proof of car insurance at intermittent intervals.

In contrast to penalites for young offenders, older drivers must have a BAC of 0.08 percent to be convicted for DUI. An enhanced penalty for “aggravated” conditions attached to DUI driving is also possible. Enhanced penalties range from fines and jail time to a revoked license, ignition interlock device and alcohol education or treatment.

Having minors on board is one example of when aggravated penalties may be applied to a DUI conviction. Excessive speed, a high BAC, driving with a revoked or suspended license and having several DUI convictions are additional circumstances that can draw harsher penalties and sentences.