Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dire criminal and traffic offense in Ohio. Motorists who engage in this behavior face any number of penalties if they are found guilty of it.
To avoid getting a DUI in Ohio, it is imperative that drivers from both in and out of the state know what constitutes driving over the legal BAC limit. They also should be familiar with what kinds of legal consequences that they can receive if they are charged with and convicted of DUI in Ohio.
DUI in Ohio
Driving under the influence in Ohio is called Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence or OVI. It is defined as driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content or BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. The state of Ohio also considers a urine concentration of 0.110 or higher as being over the legal limit.
This definition applies to drivers who are 21 years of age or older. It also extends to drivers who operate privately owned vehicles including passenger cars, motorcycles and trucks.
OVI in Ohio is also defined as operating a vehicle with a certain concentration of substances in the blood like:
It also involves driving with a combination of any of these drugs and/or alcohol in one’s body.
OVI Penalties in Ohio
Ohio addresses OVIs with a variety of legal and monetary consequences that are designed to lower the incidences of inebriated driving. The penalties incurred reflect the number of prior OVIs in the offender’s driving and criminal records.
A first OVI conviction in Ohio results in a jail sentence of three days to six months. The person can pay a fine of $250 to $1000 and have his or her license suspended for six months to three years. He or she will not be required to use an interlock ignition device or IID on his or her vehicle, however.
A second OVI conviction leads to a jail term of 10 days to one year. The fine increases to $350 to $1000, and the license suspension period can range from one to five years. Like a first-time offender, a second OVI offender does not have to use an IID on his or her vehicle.
A third conviction for OVI in Ohio results in a jail sentence of 30 days to one year and a fine ranging from $350 to $1500. The person’s license can be suspended for one to three years. He or she will also be required to use an IID on all of his or her vehicles.
A fourth or subsequent OVI results in steeper penalties. The jail term increases to 60 days to one year while the fine ranges from $800 to $10,000. The license suspension period can be as long as 10 years, and the offender must use an IID on all of his or her vehicles during that period.
Ohio has a look back period for OVIs that extends to six years. Any OVIs committed longer than six years ago cannot be used to factor in penalties for current OVI charges.
Underage OVI Penalties in Ohio
Underage drivers in Ohio also can be charged with OVI if they are arrested with BACs of 0.02 percent or higher. The penalties for an underage OVI on a first conviction can include:
- 10 days to one year in jail
- A fine of $500 to $1000
- Six months to three years license suspension
A second underage OVI conviction can result in:
- One year in jail
- $350 to $1000 in fines
- One to five years license suspension
Like adult drivers, underage motorists in Ohio are required to comply with a breathalyzer or chemical testing under the state’s implied consent laws. A first-time refusal for a driver of any age in Ohio can lead to a one-year license suspension. A second refusal results in a two-year loss of one’s license while a third refusal ends with the license being suspended for three years.
Ohio strictly forbids drivers from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs. Having a high enough BAC can lead to a driver being arrested for OVI. The penalties for this offense range from time behind bars to license suspensions and civil fines.