Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated are both defined as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) in Ohio. Drivers will be convicted of an Ohio OVI penalties if they are found to be driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 face Ohio’s Zero Tolerance Law, which finds drivers under the age of 21 guilty of an OVI with a BAC of .02.
Under Ohio’s “implied consent” law, all drivers are required to submit to a BAC test if an officer suspects they are driving while impaired. If offenders refuse a breathalyzer test, it will result in a mandatory one- to five-year license suspension.
Ohio OVI Penalties for a First Offense
A first-time OVI conviction results in a mandatory six-month license suspension with a possible three-day jail stay. First-time offenders have the possibility of pleading down to a “wet reckless” charge in Ohio. A wet reckless charge occurs when an OVI is reduced to reckless driving involving alcohol. Several factors are considered when reducing an OVI charge. The first factor considered is whether the BAC was only borderline illegal. Other factors include whether or not an accident resulted in the case or if there are any prior OVI convictions. If the defendant receives another OVI conviction, a wet reckless charge will be considered a prior OVI offense.
Ohio OVI Penalties for Multiple Offenses
Multiple offenders will face higher OVI penalties in Ohio. A second OVI conviction results in a one year license suspension with a minimum 10-day jail stay. If the second conviction occurs within a six-year period of the first conviction, one’s vehicle may be immobilized as well. A third OVI conviction garners a three year license suspension with a minimum 30-day jail stay. Should an individual be convicted of a fourth OVI, vehicle confiscation is added to the list of penalties. If offenders receive five OVIs within a 20-year period, their names will appear on a Habitual Offender Registry. This registry contains the offender’s name, date of birth, address and a listing of his or her OVI convictions. Offenders will remain on this registry until they no longer have five OVI convictions within the past 20 years.
Ignition Interlock Devices in Ohio
Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs), a device that is wired to one’s vehicle ignition and requires a breath sample before the car can be started, are not required in Ohio. However, if the offender wishes to drive during license suspension, one can be installed according to the judge’s discretion.
Alcohol Education in Ohio
Alcohol education and assessment may be required in any OVI conviction case in Ohio. It is possible that this penalty will take the place of paying fines or serving jail time. OVI fines will vary from case to case and can range from $250 to $10,000. Offenders will also receive six points on their license and pay a $475 fine when the license suspension period ends; at this time offenders must also show proof of financial responsibility.