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First-time OVI penalties in Ohio

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2021 | DUI / OVI

While all states take driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs seriously, they often call it a different term. Ohio refers to drunk driving as OVI, which stands for operating a vehicle under the influence. A driver in West Chester Township, Ohio, may face various penalties for an OVI.

Overview of Ohio OVI

Ohio defines and charges OVI in one of three ways: based on alcohol content, being under the influence of a controlled substance or a combination of substances, or the amount of the substance. Most states including Ohio set the legal BAC limit at .08 for standard vehicles and lower for commercial drivers and minors. Even legal prescriptions can get the driver an OVI charge if the substances impair driving.

An OVI charge based on BAC limits commonly gets referred to as per se, meaning the court doesn’t require proof. Motorists could also get charged if they have control of the vehicle and are in possession of substances. Ohio has zero tolerance laws for drivers under 21 who get caught, and the BAC for drivers under 21 is .02.

First offense penalties

The penalties for a first OVI in Ohio depend on the intoxication level. Drivers commonly face a mandatory minimum sentence of three days in jail or a three-day Driver’s Intervention Program. Other penalties include fines between $374 and $1075, six-month minimum license suspension, and up to five years of probation.

Drivers commonly get enhanced penalties for a BAC of .17% or greater, which is an aggravated OVI. The law requires the driver to serve three days in jail and attend the Driver’s Intervention Program.

The consequences of an OVI/DUI can follow a person for a long time, and laws are complex. Since each case varies and mistakes can be made during the process, a driver needs a good legal defense team.