The penalties of an OVI conviction in Ohio

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

As in other U.S. states, Ohio has laws that prohibit drunk driving. But unlike most other states, Ohio calls the offense “operating a vehicle while impaired” (OVI) instead of “driving under the influence” (DUI). OVI is a criminal offense with serious consequences for those convicted.

Whether it’s your first offense or a subsequent one, an OVI conviction can be devastating. What are the penalties for conviction, and can you face harsher punishments?

First offense penalties

For a first-time OVI offense in Ohio, a court can sentence you to serve a mandatory three-day jail term, with the possibility of extending it up to six months. The court can also order you to pay as much as $1,075 in fines and suspend your driver’s license for up to three years.

Repeat offense penalties

Your penalties can increase on subsequent OVI offenses. A second OVI within ten years is punishable by up to $1,625 in fines and a year in jail. The court can also suspend your license for up to seven years.

Meanwhile, a third OVI conviction leads to up to $2,750 in fines, a year in jail and 12 years of license suspension.

Penalty enhancements

Typically, an officer would charge you with OVI if your blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) level is at least .08% or higher. However, if your BAC hits .17% or more, the penalties for conviction increase.

For instance, if it’s your first OVI offense, the minimum mandatory jail term you must serve doubles from three to six days.

The penalties for an OVI conviction in Ohio are severe and can have lasting effects on your life. If you face charges, the court hearing over your case can be intimidating. Fortunately, a legal professional experienced in criminal defense may be able to guide you through the process and represent you in court.