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Columbus, OH 614-360-2942
Huntington, WV 304-519-4354
New Albany, OH

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Amy M. Levine
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What are the penalties for a first-time OVI in Ohio?

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One too many at your favorite tavern? Drunk driving penalties in Ohio

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You see the flashing lights in your rearview, and your heart sinks; you’ve been pulled over for drunk driving.

Known by Ohio police officers as operating a vehicle under the influence, or OVI for short, drunk driving offenses can carry serious repercussions in the Buckeye State. If you were arrested for OVI, you might want to know more about the kind of penalties you could be facing – and the legal defense options that may help your case.

DUI/OVI penalties range from jail time to vehicle forfeiture

For most Ohio drivers, a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher can result in an OVI charge. However, commercial drivers and those under 21 have lower limits, at .04 and .02, respectively.

A first time OVI conviction will result in a minimum jail term of three days; three days is only a floor, however, and the sentencing court has discretion to increase the sentence up to six months. For a first time OVI, the judge may allow you to substitute three days in a state-approved Driver Intervention Program for the minimum jail term. If your BAC was .17 or above, the minimum jail term doubles, to six days.

Jail time is not the only consequence of an OVI conviction. Fines from $250 to $1,000, a drivers’ license suspension from six month to three years and, when it comes time to get your license back, a reinstatement fee of $450 also come with a first-time OVI in Ohio.

Unsurprisingly, penalties go up for second and subsequent drunk driving convictions. For sentencing purposes, prior OVIs are relevant for a period of six years. In addition to progressively harsh minimum jail terms, longer license suspensions and higher fines, vehicle immobilization and alcohol treatment programs come with a second or third OVI conviction within six years. A fourth Ohio OVI is a felony, and in addition to more severe versions of all the aforementioned penalties, you will forfeit your vehicle.

Retain an Ohio DUI attorney to take advantage of legal defense strategies

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, looking over the laundry list of possible sanctions can be imposing, even scary. But, you should remember that you have a right to contest the charges against you and to stage a legal defense.

There are many ways to challenge your OVI charge. Perhaps the arresting officer stopped you for an invalid reason, or violated your rights when gathering evidence. There may be a question of whether the equipment used to measure your BAC was properly calibrated and in full working order. In cases where the amount of alcohol found in your system was only borderline illegal, you may even be able to secure a plea bargain for “wet reckless” – in other words, a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol, which is a less serious offense than OVI.

An experienced Ohio defense attorney can advise you on your full range of legal options and will represent your interests in court. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, the most important step you can take is to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Amy M. Levine
View Profile

Our Latest Blog Posts

What are the penalties for a first-time OVI in Ohio?

You may have been out on a Friday night with a few friends and had a few beers to celebrate. Or you go to your family’s holiday party and drink one too many spiked eggnogs or cocktails. Before you know it, on your way home, police pull you over. Maybe you were...

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While divorce and bankruptcy are both considered chances for couples to move toward a fresh, exciting future, the two legal processes can overlap and ultimately harm each other. It is wise to research your options and learn more about the challenges you might face....

The difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Deciding to apply for bankruptcy is a significant decision. Bankruptcy can free a person from financial struggles and grant them the ability to clean their slate. The decision to apply for bankruptcy is a big decision, but it is not the only one someone needs to...

Signs marriage may be heading for divorce

When a marriage is in trouble, the spouses can either work to fix it or prepare for divorce. In a delicate situation like that, acting first can have a significant advantage. Recognizing the signs of a marriage in trouble can give a spouse the time they need to...

Comparing personal bankruptcy options

When you think of bankruptcy, what comes to mind? Is it financial salvation? Probably not. More than likely, thoughts of overwhelming debt and wondering how you will recover from this financial pitfall without descending into financial ruin are filling your mind....

Visit Our Blog

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