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Ohio DUI Laws & Penalties

Ohio DUI

Ohio DUI law makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle while having any amount of alcohol and/or drugs that impairs physical or mental abilities to an appreciable degree. Ohio DUI law overview: Ohio DUI laws have recently been amended, making Ohio’s DUI code the most frequently updated criminal code by far in the last 2 decades. The new Ohio amendments and general DUI law are summarized below:

In Ohio DUI or drunk driving offenses are commonly referred to with several different abbreviations including, OVI (Operating a Vehicle under the Influence), DUI (Driving Under the Influence) , or Ohio OMVI which stands for Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence. Again each state varies slightly in what they call the offense of drunk driving but generally they refer to the type of crime that is more broadly referred to as DUI or DWI.

Ohio DUI law is similar to other states in that when arrested for DUI (or OVI) you are charged with the drunk driving offense along with the per se law which makes it illegal to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol level) of .08% or greater.

Don’t confuse the 2. They are 2 seperate charges, the Ohio drunk driving charge of OVI falls under Ohio Revised Code 4511.19 and the ALS (Administrative License Suspension) charge is found in R.C. 4511.191. 

The first Ohio DUI/OVI charge for drunk driving is limited to your ability to operate the vehicle safely. This means that the officer determined that you were impaired enough that you were unable to safely operate your motor vehicle.

The second charge, the ALS charge is more commonly referred to as the per se law which only means that you had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or greater at the time you were operating the motor vehicle. It says nothing about your ability to operate the vehicle safely.

Here’s what you can expect:

First Offense DUI or OVI Ohio Penalties

  • Administrative License Suspension (ALS) for a prohibited BAC;
  • ALS for test refusal = one year license suspension;
  • Jail - minimum of 3 consecutive days or 3 day driver intervention program at own expense
  • Fine - minimum $250 and not more than $1,000
  • Court License Suspension - 6 months to 3 years
  • Possible jail time or community service
  • Drivers license suspension for 91 days
  • Mandated treatment and alcohol education

Second Offense DUI or OVI Ohio Penalties

  • ALS for 1 year for a prohibited BAC;
  • ALS for test refusal = two year license suspension;
  • Jail - minimum of 10 consecutive days or 5 days jail + minimum 18 consecutive days of electronically monitored house arrest combined, not to exceed 6 months;
  • Fine - minimum $350 and not more than $1,500;
  • Discretionary driver's intervention program;
  • Vehicle immobilization and plates impounded for 90 days;
  • Court license suspension - 1 year to 5 years

Third Offense DUI or OVI Ohio Penalties

  • Administrative License Suspension (ALS) for 2 years for a prohibited BAC;
  • ALS for test refusal = 3 year license suspension;
  • Jail - minimum of 30 consecutive days  to 1 year
  • Alternative sentence - 15 days or jail + minimum 55 consecutive days of electronically monitored house arrest combined, maximum of 1 year;
  • Fine - minimum $550 and not more than $2,500;
  • Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program paid for by the offender;
  • Vehicle immobilization and plates impounded for 180 days;
  • Court license suspension - 1 year to 10 years

Fourth Offense DUI or OVI Ohio Penalties within 6 Years

  • Administrative License Suspension (ALS) for 3 years for a prohibited BAC;
  • ALS for test refusal = 5 year license suspension;
  • Jail - minimum of 60 consecutive days  to 1 year
  • Fine - minimum $800 and not more than $10,000;
  • Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program paid for by the offender;
  • Vehicle forfeiture - Mandatory criminal forfeiture of vehicle operated by offender, imposed by court;
  • Court license suspension - 3 years to permanent revocation

Ohio Implied Consent Laws

  • Chemical testing is allowed for blood, breath or urine as selected by the officer.
  • Blood draws for police testing must be administered by a licensed physician, registered nurse or other qualified person.
  • The defendant has the right to have an independent chemical test done by a qualified person of their choice. The cost of an independent test is the responsibility of the defendant.
  • Test results must be made available to the defendant and their Ohio DUI attorney upon request.

Ohio Administrative License Suspension (ALS)

If you are stopped for DUI and you decide to refuse to take the chemical test(s), or if your chemical test results exceed the allowable limit Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), the officer will take your driver's license at arrest, and your drivers license suspension will begin immediately.

Depending on whether or not you have any previous offenses or refusals, you could have your drivers license automatically suspended for a period of 90 days to five years. Remember, the administrative suspension is independent of (not associated with) any jail term, fine or the other criminal penalties handed down in court for your DUI offense. You are entitled to fight the ALS (administrative license suspension) by appealing the courts decision to suspend.

Appeal Process For a Ohio ALS (Administrative License Suspension)

The court must hold the administrative license suspension hearing within (5) days of the arrest. The appeal is heard at this initial appearance if requested. The scope of the appeal is confined to 4 issues:

1. Was the arrest based on reasonable grounds?

2. Did the officer request the person to take a test?

3. Was the violator made aware of the consequences if he/she refused or failed the test?

4. Did the person refuse or fail the test?

Note: A court may still issue a suspension even if issues 1-4 are proven by the defendant (or defendant’s counsel) if the court finds the person to be a threat to the general public’s safety.

Ohio DUI Attorneys

DUI Arrest Help.com has compiled a list of skilled DUI defense attorneys in Ohio who have agreed to offer you a free initial consultation to discuss your case.  There is no obligation to use them, and you can get some great information about what you should do.  

Click here to speak with one of our Ohio DUI lawyers.

SR22 Insurance Considerations after a Ohio DUI

SR22 insurance is required in the state of Ohio after a DUI conviction.  This type of insurance is classified as 'high risk' meaning you are a higher risk to the insurance companies so consequently they will charge more for taking on more risk.  This can get very expensive if you sign up for one of these policies with the wrong company.

DUI Arrest Help.com has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Ohio and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't find a cheaper SR22 insurance policy in Ohio for any less.  Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other Ohio DUI Resources

  • Ohio DUI First Offense -  Detailed first offense information including punishments after a first offense DUI in Ohio.

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