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What are Ohio’s drunk driving laws?

In Ohio and every other state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher. While some states refer to drunk driving charges as DUIs, Ohio law refers to them as OVIs.

According to the Ohio State Bar Association, the state began using the acronym “OMVI” for Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired in the 1980s and then reduced it to “OVI” more recently after it was determined that a vehicle does not have to be motorized for drunk driving charges to apply.

Hence, it is not only possible to face a OVI charge for driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is also possible to be charged for driving a non-motorized vehicle such as a bicycle or horse and buggy under the influence.

Additionally, while the BAC limit is .08 for drivers over the age of 21, it is just .02 for drivers who are under the age of 21. This means that even consuming a very small amount of alcohol can lead to OVI charges for underage drivers.

Drivers who have a BAC level that is far over the legal limit of .08 may face even harsher charges. Ohio law treats drivers with BAC levels of .17 or higher as “high tier” offenders, which leads to the minimum jail time requirement doubling.

Finally, it is still possible to be convicted of OVI if a driver refuses a blood or breath test based on field sobriety tests or other signs of impairment observed by the arresting officer such as slurred speech, blood-shot eyes and poor driving performance.

Anytime an Ohio driver faces an OVI charge he or she would benefit from being represented by an experienced attorney. Ohio’s drunk driving laws can lead to extremely serious consequences and should not be taken lightly.

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