A 63-year-old Ohio man recently was arrested for his fifth operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) offense after crashing his car into a utility pole in the northern part of the state. According to authorities, alcohol as well as distracted driving played factors in the accident.

As a repeat offender, the man faces serious charges. In Ohio, if a person has more than three OVI offenses within six years, he or she will be charged with a felony and face prison time as well as fines of up to $10,500.

Habitual offenders, disruption of lives

In addition, if a person tallies five OVI convictions within 20 years, he or she will be listed on what is known as the state’s “Habitual OVI Registry.” The registry is a “scarlet letter” of sorts and lets the public see your name, date of birth, address and a list of your OVI convictions.

Nothing good can happen when driving while drunk. Anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is considered impaired. An accident may bring tragedy with fatalities and serious injuries.

An arrest can bring charges that may disrupt your life, including jail time, heavy fines, loss of your license, and possibly affect your job. Enhanced penalties that include longer prison sentences await people who have been charged with OVI and have a BAC level of 0.17 percent.

Underage consumption

Underage people who imbibe in alcohol and drive vehicles face a different kind of penalty known as Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption (OVAUC). Anyone under the age of 21 who gets caught with a BAC of 0.02 percent will face this charge. The law basically tells the public that Ohio has a “zero tolerance” for underage drinking and driving.

If you’ve had too much to drink, please don’t get behind the wheel of any vehicle. And if you’re with a friend whose had too much to drink and insists on driving, take away his or her keys. Don’t let them drive. Be safe. In doing so, you just may avoid a tragedy.