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Ohio Revised Code 2917.11 Drunk and Disorderly Charge versus DUI/OVI Charge

Drunk and Disorderly

What is a Drunk and Disorderly Charge?

It is against the law in Ohio to be drunk and disorderly. This is a sub-section of the larger prohibition against disorderly conduct found in Ohio Revised Code 2917.11 which itself is part of a broader set of laws against offenses against the public space. It is important to note that this charge is not attached to driving or even to vehicles in any manner.

What Qualifies for a Drunk and Disorderly Charge?

The law against being drunk and disorderly specifically targets those people who are voluntarily intoxicated and engaged in conduct likely to cause offense, inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to people or ordinary sensibilities. As you can imagine that leaves a lot to interpretation for the judge and the prosecutor. The Code also makes illegal the act of being intoxicated and engaging in acts that create a risk of physical harm to you (as the offender) or another person or another person’s property.

The charge can be elevated to an aggravated disorderly conduct charge if you ignored requests or warnings to stop or were carrying your actions near a school or in the way of emergency service on its way to an emergency. The aggravated charge is classified as a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

What is an Example of a Drunk and Disorderly Charge?

As should be clear from the section above, it is possible to be charged with drunk and disorderly conduct if, for example, you were driving around honking your horn and were drunk at the time or you were drinking in your home and then proceeded to get in your car. In the former example, you created an annoyance while drunk and in a public space and in the latter, you got into your car while drunk which created a risk to your own self and anyone else that may be on the road and their vehicles (their property). Both of these can be part of the reason you were stopped by the police in the first place. Perhaps your family or friends called the police when they saw you get into the car.

What is the Punishment for a Drunk and Disorderly Charge Versus a DUI/OVI Charge?

The penalty for DUI/OVI in Ohio is severe. Even first-time offenders face mandatory jail time of up to 6 months, mandatory license suspensions for 1 year or more and hundreds of dollars in fines. If this is not your first DUI/OVI offense the consequences are even more severe. A drunk and disorderly conduct charge gets entirely different types of penalties. A person may be taken into protective custody (a “drunk tank”) on the spot but if you’re using this as a plea the likely penalties are going to be a misdemeanor charge and an inpatient treatment program for up to five days at the discretion of the judge. Encouragingly the charge can be dismissed entirely on successful completion of the program. (Ohio Rev. Code 2935.33). The maximum fine would $150 which rises to $250 and a 30-day jail sentence.

What if I am Charged with a DUI and a Drunk and Disorderly Charge?

It is best to get a skilled DUI/OVI lawyer who can look into the exact circumstances of your charges. If you go alone, the prosecutor may not be willing to bargain at all—they will assume they can convict you in court. Having a lawyer is the first and most important step to defending your OVI/DUI and drunk and disorderly charges.