Learn More About DWIs

Ohio OVI & DUI Laws

Feb 23, 2016

Ohio has several laws in place to protect drivers from drunk driving. A person can be arrested for an “Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence,” or OVI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher. An OVI is a drunk driving conviction where the BAC is above the legal alcohol limit, rendering the driver legally impaired.
The legal drinking limit in Ohio is as follows:

  • Standard, non-commercial drivers: 0.08% BAC
  • Commercial drivers: 0.04% BAC
  • Drivers under 21: 0.02% BAC

Penalties, Fines, & Suspension

Ohio OVI Penalties, Fines, & Suspension
Penalty 1st offense 2nd offense 3rd offense 4th offense
Sentence 3 days – 6 months 10 days – 1 year 30 days – 1 year 60 days – 1 year
Fine $250-$1,000 $350-$1,500 $350-$1,500 $800-$10,000
Driver’s License Suspension 6 months – 3 years 1 year – 5 years 1 year – 10 years 3 years – life

Chemical Test Refusal

Ohio is an “implied consent” state, which means that anyone with an Ohio driver’s license has agreed to take a chemical test, such as a breath analyzer, if arrested or stopped for a DWI. If you do not comply with the chemical test, the state can suspend a person’s driving privileges. If a person refuses a chemical test multiple times, the punishment can be increased. All driver’s license are subject to driver’s license suspension for chemical test refusal is in addition to any punishment for the OVI conviction.

1st offense: 1 year license suspension
2nd offense: 2 year license suspension
3rd offense: 3 year license suspension
4th offense: 5 year license suspension

Ignition Interlock

Ignition Interlock devices are discretionary in OVI cases in Ohio. If an ignition interlock is required, a dashboard breath tester will be installed in their vehicle for a determined amount of time. The installation and maintenance fees are the responsibility of the driver.

Criminal Record

In Ohio, a OVI can stay on your record for up to 6 years. That means that the courts can (and, likely, will) use a previous OVI conviction to increase penalties in the event of another OVI . After the 4th offense, and any subsequent offense, a OVI is automatically considered a felony charge.

More on OH OVI Laws:

Ohio OVI Interdiction Handbook:
Ohio Laws and Rules – OVI:

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Updated: May 24, 2016 at 10:53 am