What Is a Felony OVI/DUI in Ohio?

Aggravating factors that can make a drunk driving charge a felony.

In Ohio, you can be charged with "operating a vehicle under the influence" (OVI) if you're caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol, or with a specified amount of certain controlled substances in your system. Most OVI convictions are misdemeanor criminal offenses. However, certain aggravating factors can make an OVI a felony, a more serious crime.

Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony OVI charges in Ohio.

Fourth OVI Conviction Is a Felony

Generally, a first, second, or third OVI is a misdemeanor in Ohio. But if an offender has three or more prior convictions within the past ten years, the current offense will be a fourth-degree felony. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction carries 60 days to five years in jail and $1,350 to $10,500 in fines.

Having Prior Felony OVI Convictions

Once you're convicted of a felony OVI, all subsequent OVI convictions will also be felonies. Typically, this type of felony OVI is a third-degree felony. Generally, a conviction carries 60 days to five years in jail and $1,350 to $10,500 in fines.

Felony Charges for DUIs Involving Injuries and Deaths

DUIs involving serious injuries to another person are considered "aggravated vehicular assault." A conviction is generally a third-degree felony and carries 12 to 60 months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.

Causing the death of another person while driving under the influence is "aggravated vehicular homicide." A conviction is a second-degree felony and carries at least two years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

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