Felony OVI

To receive a felony OVI / DUI in Ohio, you must have either:

  • A previous felony on your record
  • Three or more previous OVI / DUI convictions in the last six years, or
  • Five or more OVI / DUI convictions in the last 20 years


However, if your offense was committed in the city of Columbus and you are charged under the Columbus City Code, there is no look back period–every prior conviction factors into a judge’s sentencing decision. Generally speaking, the more prior OVI / DUI convictions you have, the harsher the potential penalties.

You may be charged with an OVI / DUI either because you blew a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 or higher on a breath test or because an officer noticed signs of impairment after observing you driving and your failure on the roadside standardized field sobriety tests.

Felony OVI / DUIs have much more severe consequences than misdemeanor ones, such as a mandatory prison sentence–possibly in prison, as opposed to jail–without the possibility of house arrest. As such, they shouldn’t be treated lightly.


Are you in trouble? Contact us.

If you’ve been charged with a OVI / DUI, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced OVI attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.



Click for our OVI Penalty ChartClick Here to see penalties in chart form (PDF).

This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 60 days in jail or prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in jail or 30 months in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 120 days in jail or six months in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in jail or 30 months in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 60 days in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 120 days in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of one year in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is five years in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program

* If the offense was committed in Columbus, then there is no six- or 20-year look back period. Any prior OVI / DUI offense is considered, no matter how long ago it was committed.


Have a question we didn’t answer below? Feel free to email us or call us and we’ll help you out.

“Low” or “high” test refers to testing at a blood alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.17 or greater than 0.17, respectively.

A simple OVI is when in the officer’s subjective opinion the way the person is driving, the way they pull over, how they look, how they smell, what they say to the officer and how they perform on the roadside standardized field sobriety tests indicate that they are too impaired to operate a vehicle.

“Drugs” refers to driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Finally, “refusal with prior in 20 years” refers to when a person refuses the breath test and has had a prior OVI / DUI conviction in the last 20 years (or, if they’re in Columbus and sentenced under the Columbus City Code, a prior OVI / DUI conviction, period).

This is something that would have to be negotiated with a prosecutor and accepted by a judge. It also depends on the facts and circumstances. The ultimate question is whether the prosecutor has enough evidence to get a conviction. If the prosecutor ultimately feels the evidence is insufficient to get one, a misdemeanor plea reduction may be negotiated.

It is of utmost importance that you seek an attorney immediately, so he or she can meet with the prosecutor to negotiate your charge. Otherwise, the prosecutor may take the police report at face value.

A felony will cancel your voting registration, and you cannot vote while still incarcerated. You can, however, re-register and vote upon release.

Barring appeal at the court of common pleas, you will also not be able to possess firearms or explosives.

Other rights not granted to felons include holding public office; serving in a jury; witnessing documents; enlisting in the military; participating in many contracts; working in certain federal jobs, such as the police; and traveling to other countries (though this is temporary).

If a prosecutor includes this specification in your indictment, it means you could face an additional prison term of two to five years before the rest of your normal term plays out. As you can probably guess from the title, it’s reserved for people who have had at least five prior OVI / DUI convictions in the last 20 years. In Columbus, though, it’s simply five prior OVI / DUI convictions–there is no time limit.

Get In Touch

Contact Us

Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus OH 43215-5335

TEL: 614-500-3836

FAX: 614-413-2886

advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com
Find Us on Facebook!Follow Us on Twitter!Watch us on youTube!