Ohio OVI Laws: FAQ

What constitutes operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OVI) in Ohio?

You may be convicted of OVI in Ohio if you are driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 % or more.

Do the standards for OVI differ for minors under Ohio law?

Yes. If you are under the age of 21 and driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.02% or more, you can be convicted of OVI under Ohio law.

What can happen if I refuse to take a chemical or field sobriety test when suspected of OVI?

As is the case in many states, if you refuse to take one or more of these tests, and are arrested as a result, you can face harsher penalties than if you had agreed to the testing. For instance, if it is your first OVI offense and you refuse testing, you automatically will face an administrative license suspension (ALS) of one year. Furthermore, if you refuse testing and you have had at least two previous OVI convictions, law enforcement will require you to undergo testing using whatever reasonable means are necessary.

What are the penalties for a first OVI conviction in Ohio?

If you are convicted of OVI in Ohio for the first time, you are subject to suspension of your driver’s license, a jail term of three days (doubles if BAC over 0.17) and/or a three-day driver intervention program, and fines ranging from $375 - $1,000.

What are the penalties for a second OVI conviction in Ohio?

The penalties for a second OVI conviction, within 6 years of the first, include a mandatory 10 day jail sentence (doubles if BAC over 0.17), mandatory alcohol/drug treatment program attendance, driver’s license suspension, 90 day vehicle and license plate impoundment, electronic home monitoring, and fines between $525-$1,625.

What are the penalties for a third OVI conviction in Ohio?

A third OVI conviction in Ohio within 6 years will result in suspension of your driver’s license, 30 days to one year in jail (or 15 days of jail plus 55 days to one year of home detention), fines ranging from $850 - $2,750, mandatory participation in an alcohol treatment program at your own cost, and impoundment of your vehicle and license plates for 180 days.

What are the penalties for a fourth OVI conviction in Ohio?

If you are convicted of OVI in Ohio four or more times you will be guilty of a felony offense, you face a lengthy license suspension, with the possibility of permanent license loss, At least 60 days in jail and a year in prison, fines ranging from $1,300 to $10,500, mandatory participation in an alcohol treatment program at your own cost, and forfeiture of your vehicle by the court.

How quickly will I lose my driver's license if I am arrested for OVI in Ohio?

If you are stopped for OVI and either refuse to consent to chemical testing, or testing reveals that you have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or greater, law enforcement officials can immediately suspended your license through an administrative process (ALS). The duration of your ALS depends upon your previous record of offenses and/or test refusals, and can last from 90 days to five years.

Will I have to attend counseling or rehabilitation if I am convicted of OVI in Ohio?

If you are convicted of OVI in Ohio two times or more, you will be referred for assessment and/or treatment for alcohol or other substance abuse.

How long will I lose my driver's license for a first OVI conviction in Ohio?

If it is your first conviction for OVI in Ohio, you can lose your license for a period of six months to three years.

Can I contest the administrative suspension of my driver's license by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) in Ohio?

Yes. You can appeal the administrative suspension of your driver’s license by the BMV at an administrative hearing, which must be held within five days of your administrative license suspension (ALS).

How can I have my driver's license reinstated following suspension for an OVI conviction?

You must go to a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) reinstatement center, pay a reinstatement fee, and show proof of insurance in order to have your driver’s license reinstated. If your OVI conviction occurred on or after September 30, 2008, the reinstatement fee is $475.00.

Can law enforcement take my vehicle if I am arrested for or convicted of OVI in Ohio?

Yes. Vehicle confiscation becomes a remedy in OVI cases under Ohio law once you have had at least four OVI convictions.

What are the penalties for driving while my license is suspended for OVI in Ohio?

If you are caught driving while your license is suspended for OVI in Ohio, your vehicle can be immobilized and your license plates can be impounded for a period of 30 days, for a first offense. A second offense can result in 60 days of impoundment, and a third offense can result in the permanent forfeiture of your vehicle.

How can my family still use my vehicle if it has been immobilized for my OVI-related convictions?

A court can order immobilization of a vehicle waived if the family petitions the court and demonstrates that continued immobilization would cause undue hardship to the family.

Where can I find an Ohio Drunk Driving Attorney?

Finding a qualified OVI/criminal defense attorney could mean the difference between found guilty and not guilty at trial. An experienced OVI attorney will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advise you on a course of action moving forward. A good first step in finding the right attorney is to get a free consultation from an Ohio OVI lawyer.

Speak to an Experienced Drunk Driving Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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