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DUI Laws in Ohio - OVI

As of January 2004, Ohio no longer calls the drinking and driving offense DUI. The present law is Operating a Vehicle under the Influence (OVI)

Driving under the influence is a serious offense and Ohio deals with offenders in a swift and strict manner. Upon having been stopped for impaired driving, what happens next depends on the positive or negative co-operation of the offender. Should he/ she refuse to take a sobriety test or if the breath analysis is above the legal limit, a suspension will begin immediately and the driver's license taken away. And a big fact of which to be aware is the suspension is only the first step in a process. The eventual outcome may be jail time, fines and other penalties.

Some of the penalties that may be imposed upon a first conviction are:

  • administrative (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) loss of license for a year
  • court dictated suspension of license for up to three years
  • the choice of jail time or attending a driver intervention program
  • monetary fines

A second offense, understandably, is dealt with in a harsher fashion:

  • longer license suspension
  • jail time and possible house arrest wearing a monitor
  • fines
  • possible driver intervention program
  • vehicle plates impounded
  • administrative and court suspension of license

As the offenses increase, so does the severity of the actions meted out by both the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the courts. In fact, the punishment may be as severe as requiring the offender to attend drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs at his/her own expense. For repeated convictions, the license may be revoked permanently.

In the state of Ohio, however, a person is entitled to and must receive an administrative hearing within five days of the charge. At this time, the offender may appeal the decision based on four criteria:

  1. Were there reasonable grounds for the arrest?
  2. Was a test requested by the police officer?
  3. Was the offender aware of the consequences should he/she refuse the tests?
  4. Was the test refused or did the person fail?

After the initial administrative hearing, the offender waits for a court date to be tried on the charge of OVI. Obviously, the circumstances surrounding the OVI will be important at the trial. For example, was someone hurt or killed, were other people and vehicles involved, and is the driver a menace to society?

One point that many people do not realize is it is an offense to allow a driver whose plates or vehicle have been impounded to drive their vehicles. The person permitting the offender to drive may have his/her vehicles impounded, may be jailed or may have their own license suspended.

Once both the administrative and court penalties are handed down, then the offender has the insurance company with which to deal. Premiums may be drastically reduced or may be impossible to get new auto insurance quotes based on an OVI charge. So in addition to the penalties and criminal record, a driver may never drive again due to the fact that insurance is not available.

Check out these great online resources for extra information on the subject: