DUI/ OVI Laws in Ohio

“Driving under the influence (DUI)” or “operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI)” is considered as a crime in Ohio. A person facing these charges may incur serious penalties. Additionally, the driver may face license suspension. While majority of the states refer to drunk driving as DUI/ DWI, in Ohio the same is referred to as OVI.

Operating A Vehicle Impaired (OVI) Charges in Ohio

In Ohio, a driver may be charged with an OVI for the following:

  • Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more (lower limits may be applicable to certain drivers).
  • Operating a vehicle with a urine alcohol concentration of 0.11% or greater.
  • Driving under the influence of any controlled substance, alcohol, or combination of the two, such that it has an adverse effect on the driver’s driving ability;
  • Operating a vehicle with a certain concentration of specified controlled substances in one’s body.
  • For drivers below the age of 21, the BAC limit is set at 0.02% and for commercial drivers, the same is set at 0.04%.

In Ohio, once a person is arrested for OVI, the “implied consent law” applies. This means that the person’s consent to take a blood/ breath/ urine test is implied and refusal to take the same may lead to the suspension of his or her driving license by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). The suspension may range from one year to five years depending upon the circumstances and past ten years’ driving records.

Further, when the charge relates to the amount of alcohol/ drugs in one’s body (known as “per se OVI”), the prosecutor only has to prove that the quantity taken was greater than the legal limits set under law. The question of whether the driving ability of such person was impaired or not is not considered.

Criminal Penalties For OVI In Ohio

In Ohio, a driver may face the following penalties for a low-level (0.08-0.17) OVI:

  • First-time Offense: Minimum 3 days and Maximum 180 days of jail term, license suspension for 1 to 3 years, and/or fines up to $1,075.
  • Second-time Offense: Minimum 10 days and Maximum 180 days of jail term, license suspension for 1 to 7 years, and/or fines up to $1,625.
  • Third-time Offense: Minimum 30 days and Maximum 1 year of jail term, license suspension for 2 to 12 years, and/or fines up to $2,750.
  • The judge may also ask the driver to participate in the Community Control Sanction. This alternative may reduce the jail time.

These penalties increase significantly if a person is charged with a high-level (greater than 0.17% BAC) OVI. This is known as an “aggravated OVI.”

Ohio DUI/ OVI Attorney

At Ziccarelli & Martello, our team of experienced criminal lawyers have helped many drivers charged with serious DUI/ OVI charges successfully defend/ reduce their jail time, penalties, and license suspension. A DUI/ OVI can have serious consequences on one’s future and it is important to consult an attorney when charged with the same to understand what legal rights can be exercised. Contact us today for an initial free consultation.