Ohio DUI / DWI Lawyers

OVI/DUI in Ohio: Laws, Penalties

Getting a DUI in Ohio is a serious crime. Although a first offense is a misdemeanor, it can have lasting effects. In addition, repeat offenders and those who cause serious property damage or injury may face felony charges and harsher penalties.

If you get arrested for a DUI (or driving while intoxicated) in Ohio, you will want to educate yourself on the basics of Ohio DUI law. You will also want to exercise your constitutional right to an Ohio DUI attorney. An attorney can inform you of your available legal defenses and represent you in court.


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

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
ID Required No No Yes Yes

First Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio

A first DUI in Ohio (known as OVI in Ohio), results in both criminal and administrative penalties for adult offenders. Minors and commercial drivers charged with first offense DUI/OVI will face different penalties than those noted.

  • The first time you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving in Ohio, you will receive an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) of 90 days. This ALS suspension is independent of your court ordered suspension that will be from 6 months to 3 years in duration.
  • Ignition interlock devices not required, but in an effort to obtain hardship/occupations driving privilege during suspension period, first offense drivers will be required to utilize an ignition interlock device
  • Treatment or assessments are not a requirement of reinstatement for first offenders
  • Reinstatement fee = $450
  • If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between .08%-.17% you will serve a mandatory 72 hours in jail (and can be sentenced up to six months).
  • If BAC above .17, offender faces minimum incarceration period of six (6) days.
  • You will also be ordered to pay a fine between $250 and $1,000 and do not include costs incurred in completing terms of sentence (such as costs of attendance in driver intervention program), nor do they cover costs associated with license reinstatement.
  • Convictions carry over and influence future DUI charges and sentencing for a period of six (6) years in the state of Ohio

Second Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio

Ohio statutes allow the department to revoke the offender’s license and immobilize his vehicle for 90 days. The period of suspension is at a court's discretion. The suspension will continue even during an appeal of the ruling. To reinstate the license, a fee must be paid and the driver must show proof of insurance.

In Ohio, an offender can plead guilty and accept the court’s punishment, not guilty and proceed to trial, or enter into a plea bargain with the state’s prosecutor. In a trial, a jury imposes penalties on the offender after finding him guilty. A plea bargain is a document of negotiated terms which the prosecutor and offender accept. Usually, these agreements have the same administrative but lesser criminal penalties.

Third Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio

In Ohio, the term "OVI" ("Operating a Vehicle Intoxicated") is used to describe DUI offenses, which include both drugs and alcohol. (DUI and OVI are used interchangeably.) While .08 BAC is the legal limit pertaining to alcohol, it is illegal to drive with any amount of a controlled substances (drugs) present in the driver's blood.

If your two previous DUI/OVI conviction occurred within six years immediately preceding the most recent charge, you will be charged with a felony.  Barring other extenuating circumstances defined in the Ohio Code, you will be charged with a misdemeanor.

When charged with a third DUI/OVI, you have three options. You can plead guilty, and let the judge decide your sentence. You can fight the charge. Or, you can attempt to plea bargain with the prosecutor. This means that you would offer to plead guilty in exchange for a known lesser sentence, instead of simply letting the judge decide your sentence.

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