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A conviction of OVI can have a significant impact on your life. You can be required to serve time in jail, lose your driving privileges, and pay expensive fines. This type of conviction can also negatively affect your reputation and professional career. At Patituce & Associates, LLC, we know that not everyone who is charged with drunk driving is guilty and that not everyone who is pulled over deserves to be stripped of their driving privileges. Our trial-tested firm has won countless cases like this. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. 

In the meantime, review some of the most frequent questions we receive about OVI in Ohio.

What Is OVI in Ohio?

Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) is illegal in Ohio. A person commits this offense when they operate a vehicle with any of the following:

  • A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more 
  • A concentration of .096% or more of alcohol in their serum or plasma
  • A concentration of 0.08 of one gram of alcohol per 210 liters of their breath
  • A concentration of 0.11 of one gram of alcohol per 100 hundred milliliters of their urine
  • A concentration of a certain amount of drugs in their system
  • A combination of drugs and alcohol in their system impairs them 

What Happens If I Am Arrested for OVI in Ohio?

It is essential to understand that there are two distinct processes that begin after an OVI arrest in Ohio. The first is the administrative process that determines whether your driver’s license should be suspended. A law enforcement officer can request you take a chemical test to determine the concentration of alcohol or drugs in your blood, breath, or urine. If you refuse to provide a sample, the officer can immediately seize your driver’s license and your driving privileges will be suspended. 

If you have an administrative hearing, the court will determine whether or not there are grounds to suspend your license. If your driving privileges are suspended, you can reinstate them by serving the applicable suspension period, paying a reinstatement fee, and providing proof of insurance. 

The second is the criminal process which determines whether you are guilty of a criminal offense. 

What Is the Criminal Process for OVI in Ohio?

There are several steps in the criminal process for OVI in Ohio, including:

  • Arraignment – During the arraignment, a judge explains the charges against you and asks for you to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” 
  • Pretrial hearing – At a pretrial hearing, your Columbus DUI defense lawyer meets with the prosecutor and provides information about the facts and evidence they have to challenge the case. Depending on the weight of this evidence, the prosecutor may offer a plea deal and recommend a lesser sentence.
  • Trial – If you don’t accept a plea bargain and the charges against you haven’t been dismissed, your case proceeds to trial. Your defense lawyer can cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses and challenge the evidence against you. The judge or jury will determine whether you are guilty or not guilty.
  • Sentencing – If you are convicted of OVI, there will be a separate hearing for sentencing in which the judge determines what type of punishment to impose.

Our team can help with all stages of the criminal process. 

What Penalties Apply to OVI?

OVI is categorized as a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. The sentence includes a mandatory jail time of a minimum of three days and a possible jail term of up to six months. Penalties increase with additional convictions. 

Here are the possible penalties you can face for various OVI offenses in OVI:

Jail TimeFineAlcohol or Treatment ProgramOther Penalties
First OVISix days to 180 days in jail $250 to $1,075A three-day alcohol abuse program instead of jail time
Second OVITen days to six months in jail $350 to $1,625Drug or alcohol program may be required, and the defendant must pay for itHouse arrest with monitoring and/or continuous alcohol monitoring
Third OVI30 days to 365 days in jail$550 to $2,500Drug or alcohol program may be required, and the defendant must pay for itRestricted license plates and ignition interlock device
Fourth OVI60 days to 30 months in jail$800 to $10,000Drug or alcohol program may be required, and the defendant must pay for itRestricted license plates and ignition interlock device
Fifth OVISix months to five years imprisonment$800 to $10,000Drug or alcohol program may be required, and the defendant must pay for itRestricted license plates and ignition interlock device

Additionally, you can lose your driving privileges and have your vehicle immobilized. 

How Long Does an OVI Conviction Stay on Your Record?

Any criminal OVI conviction can stay on your criminal record forever. For the purposes of imposing penalties, Ohio uses a ten-year lookback period. If you have convictions for OVI within the last ten years, they are considered previous offenses for sentencing. illegal in Ohio. If you were convicted of five or more OVI crimes, a 20-year lookback period is used.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is an instrument that can be installed in your vehicle after an OVI conviction. To start the car, you must breathe into the IID with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.02%. If the device detects alcohol, the IID monitoring company sends a notification, and your license can be suspended. 

How Can a Columbus DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?

A Columbus DUI defense lawyer can assist you with your case by:

  • Reviewing the evidence in your case, including the police report and dash camera footage for inconsistencies
  • Challenging the evidence against you 
  • Gathering evidence to support your case
  • Preparing motions to dismiss charges or suppress evidence
  • Answering your questions
  • Examining the breath test machine for possible problems
  • Representing you in court and at pretrial negotiations

Contact Our Columbus DUI Defense Lawyers for a Free Consultation 

At Patituce & Associates, LLC, we focus on DUI defense. These cases take up about half of our overall caseload, so we are very familiar with effective strategies that win cases. We offer a free consultation to anyone arrested for OVI. Call us at (440) 427-3860 to get started.