OVI Court Program Provides Hope for Offenders


An OVI-specialized docket court, created by Judge Michael Higgins based off of a Clermont County program, provides alternative sentencing for OVI offenders. This program was started to eliminate repeat drunk driving offenses. What Judge Higgins began to notice was that despite lengthy jail sentences and license suspension for drunk drivers, many of them would continue to drink and drive, landing them right back in the system. This program is an effort to break the cycle of repeat drunk driving offenders.

The program is focused on rehabilitating offenders while simultaneously reducing the total number of drunk driving incidents in Ohio each year. The program is three-phased and can last for up to twelve months. It is intensive, and includes frequent court check-ins. The incentive for OVI offenders? If they successfully complete this court program, then their sentence and fines can be reduced.

Some of the requirements of this program include:

  • Alcohol prevention program enrollment
  • Weekly meetings with a probation officer
  • Gain employment (if they have not already) or take up healthy hobbies
  • Ankle monitoring may be required for some time
  • Blood alcohol readings from the ankle bracelet are monitored by probation staff
  • Weekly drug testing

Although the program can take up to a year, many finish in less time than this. One OVI program participant stated, "It was actually life-changing for me… it showed me how I can live without alcohol and without the use of drugs."

Currently, there are a total of five OVI court programs in the state of Ohio. The results thus far have been astounding. The program in Licking County reported that, out of the 18 individuals who have gone through their program, none of them have had any subsequent drunk driving arrests. Koffel Brininger Nesbitt strongly supports rehabilitation programs as an alternative form of sentencing. If you have been arrested for OVI, contact our Columbus law firm to discuss your options.