Ohio OVI Laws

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What are the penalties for an OVI/DUI in Ohio?

In Ohio, law enforcement primarily use the term OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) which is the same as a DUI (driving under the influence) in other states.


1st Offense

2nd offense

3rd Offense

4th Offense

Jail

3 days to 6 months

10 days to 1 year

30 days to 1 year

60 days to 1 year

Fines and Penalties

$250 to $1,000

$350 to $1,500

$350 to $1,500

$800 to $10,000

License Suspension

6 months to
3 years

1 to 5 years

1 to 10 years

3 years to permanent

IID* Required

No

No

Yes Yes

Lookback Period:  6 years  (Period of time that prior OVIs are relevant for sentencing

*Interlock Ignition Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for an OVI in Ohio?

Under 21

.02%

21 or older

.08%

Commercial

.04%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Ohio?

Ohio has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Ohio’s implied consent law.

 

1st Offense

2nd offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year suspension of license

2 year suspension of license

3 year suspension of license

Disclaimer: While we strive to keep this information up to date and accurate, it's important to understand that it's based on your states legislature. Your local courts, judges, district attorneys office and even local law enforcement will have a huge impact on how the law is actually applied in any given case. No amount of legal information can replace the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Ohio

It is illegal in the State of Ohio to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. The limit is lower for commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21. In Ohio a DUI is called a OVI, meaning "Operating a Vehicle Intoxicated". The Ohio OVI law includes alcohol or drugs or both. While the OWI specify's a .08 BAC in the case of alcohol, it is illegal to drive with any amount of a controlled substance such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or meth present in the driver's blood.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Ohio? It is difficult to calculate how many drinks it takes to reach the .08 BAC OVI limit. There are many factors that contribute to an individuals BAC level including weight, sex, body-fat percentage and the time interval between drinks. Studies have show that a persons BAC could go up as much as .05 percent for each drink taken. There are charts and calculators that can help you calculate your BAC, however these tools do not take all variables into account when calculating your BAC. The fact is it takes very little alcohol to become legally drunk and each drink taken is a another step closer to becoming an "impaired" driver.

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Ohio has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Ohio, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.The first time you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving in Ohio, you will receive an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) 90 days. This ALS suspension is independent of your court ordered suspension that will be from 6 months to 3 years in duration. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between .08%-.17% you will serve a mandatory 72 hours in jail. You will also be ordered to pay a fine between $250 and $1,000.

The second OVI you receive in Ohio will cost you a 1 year ALS if it was within 6 years of your previous DUI. This ALS suspension is independent of your court ordered suspension that will be from 1 to 5 years. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between .08%-.17% you will serve a mandatory 10 days in jail. You will also be ordered to pay a fine between $350 and $1,500. The court may also place you in an alcohol treatment or driver intervention program at your own expense.

A 3rd drunk driving conviction in the State of Ohio and you will receive a 3 year administrative license suspension (ALS) if the conviction is within 6 years of the first. This ALS suspension is independent of your court ordered suspension that will be from 2 to 10 years. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between .08%-.17% you will serve a mandatory minimum 30 days in jail, or, if the court allows, electronically monitored house arrest. You will also be ordered to pay a fine between $500 and $2,500. The court will order you to an alcohol or drug treatment program at your own expense.

All 4th and 5th drunk driving convictions in the State of Ohio will receive a 3 year administrative license suspension (ALS) if the conviction is within 6 years of the first. This ALS suspension is independent of your court ordered suspension that will be from 3 years to life. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between .08%-.17% you will serve a mandatory minimum 60 days in jail, or up to 1 year. In addition to this imprisonment, the court can charge 4th and future OVI's with having previous convictions which carries jail time up to 5 years. You will also be fined from $800-$10,000.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than OVI in Ohio?

In some circumstances, a plea bargain of "wet reckless" might be accepted by the prosecution in Ohio. A "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, is usually made as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. A plea bargain of wet reckless might occur when the amount of alcohol is borderline illegal, there was no accident, and the defendant has no prior record. But if there is a subsequent drunk driving conviction, the "wet reckless" is usually considered a prior drunk driving conviction; the resulting sentence can be what's required for a second OVI/DWI conviction. If you are interested in trying to make a plea for a wet reckless, you'll need the help of a lawyer.

Other State of Ohio Information on this Website

by: , Attorney

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