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DUI Penalties in Ohio

Douglas A. Ball Attorney at Law March 27, 2023

DUI Law title on a book and gavelA DUI (driving under the influence) charge is not something to take lightly. In Ohio – which uses the term OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) instead of DUI – if you are convicted of drunk driving, there can be serious consequences that will impact various aspects of your life. 

In Ohio, you can be convicted of OVI due to alcohol or drug use. The most common type of OVI charge is the “per se” alcohol OVI charge, which applies to drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08%.  

If you are facing DUI (OVI) charges in Ohio, it is vital to discuss your case with an experienced OVI/DUI/DUS defense lawyer to understand what penalties you may be facing. Douglas A. Ball Attorney at Law in Batavia, Ohio, can help identify possible defense strategies to help you avoid or minimize DUI penalties. Douglas A. Ball represents individuals facing criminal charges in Brown, Hamilton, Clermont, Batavia, and Warren Counties.  

Jail Time and Fines 

OVI penalties in Ohio depend on the number of prior convictions on the offender’s record over the past 10 years: 

  • First-time OVI conviction: from three days to six months in jail and between $375 and 1,075 in fines.  

  • Second-time OVI conviction: from 10 days to six months in jail and $525-$1,625 in fines.  

  • Third-time OVI conviction: from 30 days to a year in jail and $850-$2,750 in fines.  

These penalties apply to “per se” OVI convictions in Ohio (with a BAC of at least 0.08% but no more than 0.17%). There are much harsher penalties for aggravated or “super” OVI charges (with a BAC of 0.17% or higher).   

License Suspension  

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) may also impose license suspension for OVI convictions:  

  • First-time offenders’ licenses are generally suspended for one to three years;  

  • Second-time offenders’ licenses are typically suspended for one to seven years; and  

  • Third-time offenders’ licenses are typically suspended for two to 12 years.  

After an arrest for OVI in Ohio, your license can be suspended administratively by the BMV or criminally by the criminal court judge. You can also face license suspension for unlawfully refusing testing to determine BAC or drug concentration.  

Ohio’s implied consent law requires all drivers lawfully arrested for OVI to submit to testing of their breath, blood, or urine to determine their alcohol/drug impairment. Test refusal is associated with a license suspension for one year for first-time offenders, two years for second-time offenders, and three years for third-time offenders.  

Community Control Sanction 

When appropriate, the judge may agree to reduce your jail time by ordering you to participate in what is known as the community control sanction program, which is a form of sentencing alternative. If you are ordered to participate in the community control sanction program, you will be required to complete:  

  • A minimum of three days of driver’s intervention program (for first-time OVI convictions); 

  • Five days in jail plus 18 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring (for second-time OVI convictions); or 

  • 15 days in jail plus 55 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring (for third-time OVI convictions).  

Your criminal defense attorney can review the circumstances of your OVI offense and determine whether or not this form of sentencing alternative is appropriate in your particular case.  

Additional Consequences  

The consequences associated with being charged with OVI can be severe. In addition to jail time, fines, and license suspension, you could also face the following consequences:  

  • Job loss. One of the most common and obvious consequences of a DUI conviction is job loss. Many employers are very strict about DUI convictions, and even if you were convicted while away from work, it could still result in disciplinary action or termination. Additionally, some jobs may require having a valid driver’s license, so if your license is suspended due to a DUI conviction, that could also be grounds for termination.  

  • Insurance rate increase. Another consequence of a DUI conviction is an increase in insurance rates. Not only will this increase make it more difficult for you financially, but it could also cause problems with renewing your vehicle registration or obtaining other types of insurance such as life or health insurance in the future. Additionally, depending on how bad your record is, some companies may even refuse to insure you altogether.  

  • Civil penalties. In addition to criminal penalties such as jail time and fines, there can also be civil penalties associated with drunk driving convictions. These penalties include things like court costs and lawyer fees which can add up quickly and put an unnecessary strain on your finances. Additionally, you may also have to attend mandatory classes or enroll in treatment programs which could require additional fees on top of what you have already paid out for legal fees and court costs.  

  • Family/relationship damage. Finally, one of the worst consequences associated with a DUI conviction is family/relationship damage. If you are convicted of drunk driving it can have an effect on all aspects of your personal relationships including friends and family members.  

Drunk driving charges should never be taken lightly because they come with serious consequences that can impact many areas of your life both now and in the future. This is why it is imperative to contact a skilled DUI defense lawyer to help you understand the charges you are facing and your possible defense strategies.   

Turn to an Experienced DUI Attorney  

If you have been charged with OVI (DUI) in Ohio, you need to understand what penalties you are facing and how they can affect your future. The consequences of being charged with OVI can be life-altering and can include jail time, fines, license suspensions, and more. That is why you should not hesitate to turn to an experienced DUI attorney when facing OVI charges. Reach out to Douglas A. Ball to discuss your defense options.