Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo. What do all these cities have in common? They're all located in Ohio and none of them tolerate driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Ohio, there are two main statutes that prohibit intoxicated driving: operating under the influence (OVI) and Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption (OVAUC). Drinking and driving is never worth it, but if you are facing an OVI charge, follow along as FindLaw walks you through Ohio OVI laws and penalties.
First-Time OVI Penalties
If you are facing a first-time OVI charge, the state has put into place mandatory minimum penalties. This includes a minimum of three days in jail or an alternative program, a six-month license suspension, and a large fine. Moreover, these penalties do not just apply to drinking alcohol and driving. You can be arrested and prosecuted for taking illegal or prescription drugs and driving if your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired. This includes driving under the influence of marijuana or marijuana derivatives. If you aren't sure if you should be driving, the bottom line is that you shouldn't. Consider finding a designated driver or calling a cab or ride share service.
Ohio Zero Tolerance Laws
If you are under 21 and charged with an OVAUC offense in Ohio, you'll be facing some serious penalties. The blood alcohol (BAC) limit for those under 21 years old is 0.02 percent. If convicted of an Ohio OVAUC crime, you must wait a mandatory 60 days to get limited driving privileges and you must re-take the driver’s license test and periodically provide proof of insurance.
This chart lays out the basics of Ohio's OVI laws:
Ohio OVI (DUI) Laws: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Implied Consent
|"Per Se" BAC Limit||0.08 Percent|
|Zero Tolerance (Underage) BAC Limit||0.02 Percent|
|Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit||0.17 Percent|
|Implied Consent to Submit to BAC Test?||Yes|
Ohio OVI Laws: Select Penalties
|Minimum License Suspension or Revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense)||6 months, 1 year, 2 years|
|Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment||Assessment & Treatment|
|Vehicle Confiscation Possible?||Yes (3rd offense)|
|Ignition Interlock Device Possible?||Yes|
Questions About Ohio OVI (DUI) Laws? Ask an Attorney
Conviction under Ohio OVI laws can have various negative impacts on your life, including possible jail time. If you've been arrested for an OVI in Ohio, you may want to contact a local criminal defense attorney who can evaluate all the evidence, including the procedure and results of any field sobriety and chemical tests, to ensure that your legal rights are protected.