Ohio First Offense DUI Laws

Ohio DUi

The OVI or operating a vehicle impaired law of Ohio states that it is against the law for any person to operate or attempt to operate a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other substance which causes their blood alcohol concentration level to exceed .08%. Similar to the Ohio DUI law, in order to be suspected of committing this offence, the person in question does not necessarily need to display any signs of impairment which would raise suspicion of the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol, but simply the fact that their blood alcohol level, or BAC is above the legal limit is enough to get them arrested for an Ohio OVI charge.

In the event that the individuals BAC is lower than the legal limit, they could still be charged for a first offense OVI if they show signs of impairment which raise suspicion of alcohol or drug consumption. The officer will observe how well you are controlling your vehicle and your overall use of the road and respect for the road laws.



Once suspicion has been raised by law enforcement, you will be asked obvious questions by the officer regarding whether you have been drinking or not. Whether you have or have not, he may request that you complete a series of field sobriety tests. By the Ohio law you do not have to oblige to these tests and can kindly refuse to submit to them if you wish.

However, by law, you will be required to complete a chemical test. Choosing to refuse this test in the state of Ohio will result in a longer license suspension period so the officer will ask you a second time if you wish to submit the chemical test once notifying you of the potential penalties you will receive for refusing. Any driver who holds an Ohio driver’s license is holding an agreement of sorts which states that they will abide by the state’s consent law when they accept their license.

Important: A person who has been arrested on a first offense OVI charge in Ohio only has a short period of time in which to schedule a hearing with the BMV if they wish to avoid having their driving privileges automatically suspended for the next 6 months plus. If you hope to have a successful outcome at your hearing it is very important that you contact one of our Ohio DUI lawyers today to have our lawyers schedule your hearing and represent you at the hearing.

In the event that this is your first Ohio OVI offense, you will be faced with a jail sentence of at least three days. Alternatively, you may be ordered to attend a three day driver intervention course. The minimum fee one can expect to be charged for a first time offence for OVI in Ohio is $250, with the maximum going up to $1,000. Taking into consideration the fees for court, this can be extremely costly in the long run.

If you had previously refused to submit to a chemical test when questioned by the officer, your license will be automatically suspended for a period of 12 months but you may be eligible to apply for an occupational license if this is your first Ohio OVI offense after the first 30 days of your suspension have lapsed. If this is your first OVI offence and you chose to provide a chemical test, you may be able to apply for an occupational license after a period of 15 days from the date of your suspension. However, if you have cooperated throughout the ordeal, depending on the severity of your charge your license could be suspended for between 6 months to 3 years.

Before the Ohio BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) decides to reinstate your license following your suspension period or in order to provide you with an occupational license, you will need to show proof of financial responsibility. This is shown through the use of an Ohio SR22 insurance policy. This policy meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.

While you are in possession of your new license, you will be required to carry your SR22 insurance with you for a period of 3 years, but if you relapse at anytime during this 3 year period, your insurance provider, by law, will be expected to inform the Ohio BMV of your relapse. If a lapse in your coverage occurs, your license will be immediately retracted and you will need to re-file an SR22 form with the BMV before you are issued another license.



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Additional Ohio DUI Resources

  • Ohio DUI Laws - A complete overview of Ohio DUI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.

  • Ohio SR22 Insurance - Learn everything you need to know about Ohio SR22 filing requirements with the BMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your Ohio SR22 insurance.

  • Ohio DUI Lawyers - Contact one of our Ohio DUI lawyers today.

  • Ohio Alcohol & Drug Education Programs - We offer a complete listing of Ohio's approved alcohol education programs.